The One Who Sees Me by Melanie Tillman is a powerful Christian contemporary novel. It is the second book in The Front Row series but can be read as a stand-alone.
The novel has alternating chapters between 1998 moving forwards and 2000 moving forwards as we follow some teens through their formative years. The leading characters come from two families – one with two boys, the other with two girls. We witness the pressures of being a pastor’s kid as their actions reflect onto their parents as some in church judge the family.
Within both families there is the ‘good’ sibling and the wilder one. Both experience pressure and bullying from their peers.
There are always the temptations of alcohol and dating for the young people. At times the consequences are disastrous.
God is our rescuer. He rescues us from harmful situations if we let Him. Within the novel we witness a rescuer stepping in twice to prevent harm. This creates shared secrets which also weigh a character down. Some things are heavy burdens that we were never meant to carry alone.
We all make choices in our lives and have to live with the consequences. Sometimes our choices weigh us down with guilt. We need to release these burdens. God wants us to live abundantly free. He asks that we speak out, repent, receive forgiveness and live in freedom. Sometimes the person we find hardest to forgive stares back at us in the mirror.
There is the theme of the love of parents for their children and the love of God for His children. Even when we mess up, God welcomes us with open arms. He loves us unconditionally. His love is a gift to us. We do not earn it. We don’t deserve it. And there is nothing we can ever do to lose it. Words of condemnation are from the enemy. God says we are loved and we are His.
The characters were all well drawn, likable and with realistic flaws, making them easy to empathise with. We can all remember the turbulent teenage years with the awful peer pressure.
The One Who Sees Me was a powerful read with godly lessons for us all. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I received a free copy from an agent. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.
A word of caution: there is the odd bit of language and some situations that some readers may not be comfortable with. This is a book that is dealing with teenagers.