Monday, July 25, 2016

Wonderful Young Adult Fantasy by Lorilyn Roberts - Seventh Dimension - The Door

The door creaked as I turned the handle. I held my breath and peered through the tiny slit. Moving shadows darkened the room. Judd, Rachel, and Chumana stared into a small brown shoebox. 
Chumana burst out crying. “I hate Shale.” I cringed. She already hated me anyway, ever since my mother and me moved in with them a few months earlier. 
Rachel stood and recited a Jewish prayer. “Barukh shem k'vod malkhuto l'olam va'ed. Blessed is the name of his glorious kingdom forever and ever.” With her unkempt hair, puffy red eyes, and flushed face, I barely recognized my best friend.
“Why are you praying?” Judd snapped. “We aren’t here to pray.” “Accidents happen,” Rachel said. 
“She should be cursed,” Judd exploded.
 “Don’t say that,” Rachel said. 
“How do you know it was an accident?” Chumana asked. I looked away. I couldn’t listen. My whole body shook— what kind of curse? Judd’s voice cracked. “I demand she tell us what happened.”
The three twelve-year-olds sat silently for a moment before Rachel responded. “She fell down the stairs with Fifi, and she’s afraid.” I swallowed hard.
Judd pulled his uncle’s Atlanta Braves cap over his eyes and clinched his hand into a fist. “I hope Shale never has any friends— for the rest of her life.” He covered his face and sobbed. 
I bit my fingernail holding back tears. I’d never heard a boy cry. Could his curse come true? 
Chumana’s red hair matched her fiery temper. “That’s not enough of a curse. She already doesn’t have any friends.” 
“I’m her friend,” Rachel said. “Accidents happen.” Rachel lived two buildings down from us in the Hope Garden Apartments. Would she still be my friend if I told her the truth?
I didn’t just fall—it was what I was doing when I fell. I was too afraid. I rubbed my swollen ankle, a reminder of my foolishness. The doctor hoped it would heal, but Fifi lay in the box. 
Probably God hated me, too. If I told the truth, everyone would hate me. I couldn’t even tell my mother. My father— he left me long ago.

In an author's note, the author shares the intended audience for this book... the Debut of the Seventh Dimension series...

For every child who struggles with doubt, for every kid who has been bullied, for every teen who comes from a broken home, and for every young adult who longs to be understood— this book is for you.

Personally, I think that about covers all of us, don't you? At least at one time or another, especially as teens, we have been one of those children she wants to reach... For many, who will know who they are, I'll recommend this to you as a "must read!"

The Door:
Seventh Dimension

By Lorilyn Roberts

Shale Snyder was an unhappy girl--unhappy at home, at school, and now she'd had a curse placed on her after she had fallen, holding a friend's dog, and it had been killed. Two years later, Judd still hated her and was harassing her, the latest by sneaking up to her in the halls of school, touching her, and then moving away quickly so nobody noticed other than Shale who, at first, wasn't sure who was doing this--though she had a good guess...

“Who Am I?
 when no one sees
 when no one loves
 when no one understands
 when no one hears
 when no one cares
 about Me.”

Now she felt like her only friend was her Diary, always opening with Dear DOG... (And although she spelled His name backwards in case anybody ever read it, God listened to her thoughts as she wrote to Him...)

Does love always make one happy?
 As You Like It has its roots in Greek
literature,  although written by
Shakespeare between 1598 and 1600…”
Her voice trailed off as she read a
 few more lines to herself. Then, with
 one fell swoop, she threw my paper
 in the trash.  “This is too well written
 to be original. I’m sure Shale copied it
 off the web. I’m not going to read it.”
 Thirty sets of eyes shifted to me,
 and my face and neck felt hot.
Mrs. Wilkes’s beady eyes pulsated.
No one moved.
If I dropped the straight pin hidden in
 my sweater pocket, the room would
have heard it ping on the floor.
After an unbearable silence, she
added,  “We’ll deal with this later.”
It was on the day that she'd found an old book she always loved, The Donkey and the King,  that she found a straight pin that her mother must have lost, and started carrying it with her... that led to her becoming frustrated and angrily using that pin on the back of Judd, her enemy, who had once again been playing games!

As often happens, though, she was the one who got in trouble!

But it had started when one of her teachers had accused her in class of plagiarizing her paper on as you like it!

By that time she was so upset that when Judd started again, she turned, followed him and stuck that pin deep into his back!

It got much worse, she had been suspended, her parents didn't support her, and her best friend's parents told her she couldn't be her friend anymore!

That was the day that Much Afraid came... She had barked outside her door long enough until Shale followed him, on and on, but then her foot caught in a hole and she fell. When she woke up, she heard a lady talking...

“Shale, are you okay?” a female voice asked. 
Who called my name? I looked up, but the light from above was too bright, although the gentle warmth comforted me. I only saw flowers. I called out to the dog. “Much-Afraid?” I didn’t expect her to appear, but I had the feeling I wasn’t alone. The bright light captivated me, but the cone was fading, and soon the beam would vanish. Blue lights along the walkway grew brighter leading towards an open door. “Much-Afraid?” 
The silhouette of a dog covered the opening briefly. She sat waiting. “Much-Afraid.”
“Follow me,” a female voice said. Was that Much-Afraid speaking to me? The effervescent light from the doorway bubbled in multi-colors. I stood and tested my ankle. As I tiptoed along the walkway, too afraid to believe I could run, light bubbles floated by as the diamond archway grew brighter. The dog became visible once more. 
“Shale,” the voice called again. 
“Wait! I want to go with you.” Without hesitating, I stepped through the open door. I reached for her as she slipped through my fingers. Then she was gone.

THE GARDEN The portal opened. A kaleidoscope of soft lights floated around me, humming like musical snowflakes. Each was unique and lifted my spirits, making me long for something I couldn’t quite touch. An image came to me of a quiet, secluded park where one might go with a best friend. The experience lasted until the musical snowflakes turned to bubbles and then dissipated. The soft mist lifted, revealing a display of endless flowers that covered everything. The view in the woods was a glimpse of the garden that now spread in all directions. Greens, blues, reds, purples, oranges, and colors I didn’t have a name for covered the ground... 
Where was I? The doorway had disappeared, but I noted it was near an alcove of diamonds. Colorful flowers covered the embankment. The rock I tripped over while chasing the dog mysteriously glowed. The sizzling letters carved into the surface spelled e-b-e-n-e-z-e-r. 
“Much-Afraid!” I called her several times. I heard a female voice, but was it the dog speaking to me? The grassy knoll was like a carpet in front of the hidden doorway. Surrounding the knoll were ribbons of more multi-colored, sun-loving plants— lavender catmint, zinnias and roses. Black-eyed Susan’s basked in the sun on the adjacent rolling hillside. Along the pathway, crystal rocks, accented by clusters of smaller blooms, created a labyrinth of color and texture with alternating flowers and crystals. The large formations reflected the delicate blossoms where butterflies danced. The crystals seemed alive. I squatted down to examine one. A distorted image emerged on the face of the crystal. I waited to see if it would materialize completely. Winged creatures flying around in a dark cave came into focus. Then I saw the white dog. Heavy ropes bound me as I sat on a rock slate. “No!” I cried— and the image dissolved. 
I staggered back from the rock and shook my head to erase the disturbing vision. What had seemed so perfect until now apparently wasn’t. I would stay away from the crystals. I followed the trail lined with flowers. The double and triple blooming roses were striking— without the rust the flowers had in our yard. Other plants were more exotic looking. I couldn’t identify them. As I strolled along, rose heads followed me like gyroscopes. When I stopped moving, they stopped. I reached over to pick one of the red blooms. As I bent the stem, a snake slithered though my fingers. I screeched and yanked back my hand. When I examined my fingers, they looked normal— no bite wounds, redness, or indication that something had touched me, but I could still feel the soft skin of a snake. 
“Who’s there?” My voice seemed small and insignificant in the garden. The trail opened to a large grove of apple trees. Unexpectedly, I spotted a large, gray donkey and a small white rabbit lounging under a tree. The donkey was warming himself on a brown blanket, staring up at the sky with his legs crossed. The rabbit, wearing a blue bonnet with white flowers poking out the top, sat perched on a rock. They looked like friends on a leisurely picnic... 
“Cool,” I said, under my breath, giggling quietly— a fat donkey and a silly, talking rabbit.

Shale had crossed a portal and wound up in a beautiful garden where she found animals--that could talk! She realized that they seemed to be the animals that were in her favorite book when she was a child, and wondered if she was dreaming.
 “I’m Nevaeh, and you are a daughter of the king,”
 the winged animal whispered, and then he flew away. 
Why did it tell me that?

But she was here now, so she started talking to the donkey and discovered that, indeed, his name was Baruch! They told her she was in the King's garden and they roamed around for awhile, talking more, until...The Crows Came!

And they were afraid and left the Garden...until they came to another garden that Baruch recognized when he had been led to meet the King...
“I know this garden,” Baruch said. “This is where I was taken by the sheep when the king called me.” A high rock wall enclosed the garden, and a clump of thick olive trees provided a false sense of security. The place was dark except for two fire pits cradling a fire by a stone entrance...
“Where are we?” I asked. “Besides an olive garden that looks familiar to you?” 
“Shhhh. If the guard discovers us, we’re dead.”
 “What guard? Come on, don’t scare me.” My hands were cold, and I stuck them under the blanket to keep them warm...

They went on...always searching...meeting dangers...until they found themselves in Jerusalem...and discovered that Shale's father had his home there, although he was not there at the time...

But Shale longed to find the King and, one day, they saw him in the distance... And listened while Christ, after his time in the wilderness, was tempted...
“I’m telling you, that’s the king,” Baruch said. “The other creature is an underling. Maybe THE underling. The underlings looted the garden and stole from the king. The king protected us...

You know, this is an amazing story, especially for me...It is the book review that I lost earlier. Today as I was trying to finish it, I've had similar problems...once the review came up without the title...I made an extra copy at that point...and then another copy without a title was discovered. If I had not carefully waded my way through what was happening, I would have lost it again. But this sure has been a spooky time with this book...

Roberts has intertwined the events of Christ's life so skillfully that you find that you are walking in Shale's footsteps, seeing everything new as she was... It's magical, fantastical, and so very, very, memorable... and this is only the first book in the series! I'm excited about the book, a young adult story that is bound to attract young readers through the age of 99... We are all looking to find the King and in this journey into a fantasy set in Jerusalem, you may indeed find Him...

Even with the problems in getting out this review, I must add this to my personal favorites for 2016...and it just might be at the top! Get this book as a gift for your teens...and read it also! It's beautifully written, and beautifully inspired. I think you'll agree with me if you decide to meet Baruch and have him help you through the journey. Highly, highly recommended.


Lorilyn Roberts is an award-winning Christian author who writes for the young and the young at heart. 

When not writing books, Lorilyn provides closed captioning for television. 

Lorilyn is a single mother by choice. She adopted her two daughters from Nepal and Vietnam. Read her Amazon best-selling memoir, Children of Dreams, endorsed by New York Times best-selling author Jerry Jenkins, and be inspired.

Lorilyn has been a speaker at various events and functions, including women’s groups, adoption support groups, and writer workshops. She is the former president of the Gainesville Chapter of Word Weavers International.

Lorilyn has appeared on many radio and television shows, including WATC 57 Friends and Neighbors out of Atlanta, Georgia, and Discovery Channel’s Monsters Inside Me related to increasing awareness of parasitic infections in international adoption.

Lorilyn is also the founder of the John 3:16 Marketing Network, a network of Christian authors. 

Lorilyn has also been involved with the charitable organization Child Hope International bringing Christian books to the orphans of Nepal. She has coordinated the donation of over two hundred books from John 3:16 authors to prisoners at the Wakulla Correctional Institute in Tallahassee, Florida, and she has donated many copies of her award-winning devotional book, "Am I Okay, God" to Created Gainesville, a charitable organization that ministers to women involved in the sex trafficking trade.

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