Saturday, July 22, 2017

Fantastic YA-Adult Story by Staci Stallings - Whisper If You Have To: A Contemporary Christian Romance

“You ready for this?” Kyle asked when Chad slid into the front seat of the little four-door car. It wasn’t great, but it ran. And it was better than walking. 
“I was born ready.”  Chad shifted his attention to the back. 
“Hey, Brooke.” 
“Hey,” she said, but never really lifted her head. Kyle’s younger sister, Brooke, was never without a book in hand. So close in age, they were more like twins, the two of them were never far out of sight of one another even though they ran in completely different circles. Kyle, the school’s jock premier, was only eleven months and three weeks older than his little sister, and although Brooke’s taste ran more toward choir and books than basketball and baseball games, she never missed a one. 
Chad angled his gaze over his shoulder again as they pulled away from his house. “Are you studying already? School hasn’t even started yet.” 
“Finishing up her summer college credit thing,” Kyle supplied. “She may beat us to graduation.” Lifting his chin, Chad nodded in understanding. 
Kyle glanced across the seat to his friend. “So, senior year…” “Yeah.” Chad took a breath to steady the thought. “Who would’ve thought?”
...It was about five minutes after her mother dropped her off that Alison first had the thought, but it would be a million times after that one that the thought would attack her. Jefferson High was nothing like St. Ann’s. Nothing. 
Jostled in the hallways until she thought her brains would rattle free, Alison diligently worked through her schedule.  Trig, History, Computer something, French. She was in the courtyard at lunchtime, sitting up next to a pillar eating her chicken salad sandwich before she really realized there was no religion on her schedule. Perusing it again, she confirmed the fact with a munch into her sandwich. That would be strange. She’d had religion every single day for four years, and now suddenly it wasn’t anywhere on the list. Her gaze took in her final three classes—Physics, English, and Choir. Besides the Physics part, she was kind of looking forward to the rest of the day. Okay, so she would spend it alone as part of the wall like she had the first part, but at least she liked those classes. 
She let her head fall back onto the hard, scratchy pillar behind her and let the warm sun soak into her. Happy noises that she would never be a part of drifted around her, and she let those soak into her as well. Nobody had to tell her the loneliness this year would hold. She knew it when her dad announced the move back in July, and for all intents and purposes, she had already lived with the loneliness for the better part of five years. 
At that thought she yanked her head up. Dwelling on things that would never change no matter how much she wanted them to did no good. That much she had learned. Move on. Move on, and don’t look back. Pushing to her feet, she crumpled the bag and tossed it into a nearby trashcan. One swipe on her light blue straight skirt, and she yanked her backpack up from its resting place. Onward and upward. At least that’s what she hoped. 
“You headed to English?” Kyle asked, clapping Chad on the back as he leaned over to get a drink in the fountain. He stood to straight, wiping the water that had jumped onto his face. “Yeah. You?” 
“You know it.” Together they started down the hall.  “So, you going to the gym after school?” Chad asked. 
“Na, I figured we’d go to my place. The gym’s going to be a mob scene with all the wanna be’s.” 
“Cool.” Chad followed Kyle into the English classroom and right to the back where he slid into the desk right in front of his friend. “You got much homework?” 
“As little as possible.” The bell rang just as Mrs. Whitman entered. Chad sat up a little straighter. He’d waited three long years to get this teacher. She was the coolest of the cool, not because she goofed off but because she didn’t. However, that didn’t mean Mrs. Whitman’s class was boring. No, instead she was quite famous for her unorthodox teaching style...
“Let’s start over here in the corner. Oh.” She stopped with a jerk when she looked at Alison. Tilting her head, the confusion was evident. 
“And you are?” Alison cleared her throat but it didn’t do much good. “Al… Alison Prescott.” 
The teacher turned her roll around, located the name, and smiled. “Well, Miss Prescott, it’s great to have you aboard. Come on up, and get us started.” 
...Alison ducked her head to keep from staring at the two guys presently standing at the teacher’s desk. The white guy had longish blond-streaked hair that brushed the tops of his dark eyebrows in the front and the top half of his collar in the back. His smile was nice, but what she noticed most was the faded jeans ripped just so and the light blue knit jersey that set off his eyes. Something about them screamed, look how cool I am.
Just in front of him, talking to the teacher, was the black guy, leaning in to sign the roll—obviously a regular in the gym. His arm muscles rippled in perfect proportion down to his long fingers. He seemed as if nothing in the world ever had been or would ever be a problem. In a dark gray “Rock On” T-shirt, he looked the embodiment of cool confidence. The conversation came to an end, and the two made their way back to the back corner...

With all the turmoil happening in America right now, I found I needed to withdraw and pull away from the chaos coming out about our government at this time...

I scrolled through my options and pulled up a book by Staci Stallings, a Christian writer who I've accepted as a favorite for sharing God's love through her wonderful stories. This time, though, I got much more than solace, a time to watch as God could work in each of our lives...

Whisper If You Have To is

Powerfully Spirit Filled!
Timely For Today's World!

This book, for me, felt as if God had outlined the major issues we need to be reminded of today: racism, depression, pressure to succeed above everything, suicide, money, prayer-communication with God, and teen peer pressure...All that in one unforgettable story that is suitable for young adults and above. The two main characters are teenagers, but the adults and their roles play important parts as well. It is a book I immediately wanted to share with my's a beautiful love story of two teenagers from different cultures but who, readers begin to realize, are soulmates in the truest sense of the word... I loved this book and add it as a personal favorite for all time...

Alison and Chad met the first day in their English class, where they were immediately swept into a partnership on their first assignment. 

Alison had come from a religious girls-only school; her clothes were so different that, though she tried to be invisible, it didn't work? Who still wore straight skirts and blouses, with the same white sweater over her blouse every day. From the very first moment, Alison had noticed the two friends, one white, one black. After all, just looking at them and seeing the reactions of the others around them, Alison knew they were elite guys, probably even athletes, sure to never look her way... Still, they were soooo cool!

It was clear to Chad that Alice was new to school and was painfully shy in meeting others. Even after being matched for their assignment, Alison kept her head down, with her hair covering her face, until she was forced to deal with him...On the other hand, Alison wasn't about to allow him to know she was practically swooning and couldn't dare look into his eyes without totally embarrassing herself...

And so it began... While this is placed in the romantic genre, I would say that it fits more in family drama because it certainly is not just a "love story." First, neither Alison nor Chad shared anything about their personal lives, afraid to reveal just how different they probably were. It was Chad's friends, Kyle and Brooke, brother and sister, who little by little pulled them into their family life. 

Due to the complexity and interrelationship of the various plots, I've decided not to share much of the actual storyline. I do, want to highlight, however, the very awesome and amazing spiritual warfare scenes this book provides! I was gratified to see them included in a teen book especially to help our young people learn to pray and act on behalf of both their own needs as well as their peers. Kudos to the author for a truly inspiring novel that speaks, well, to the contemporary world in which we live... 

This is a personal favorite selection for me and, in my opinion, I have to call it a Must-Read novel! Buy it for your teenager children and read it yourself...then talk about it! There is soooo much in this book that responds to questions we all have. It's great to have such an excellent model against which a needed discussion could very well begin...


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