Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Choosing the best book of the Year!!!

Most likely in other reviews you will find Rachel Dekker being compared to her father Ted Dekker, but not here. Rachel Dekker is in a class all her own!

I guessed from the summery given for the book that The Choosing would be somewhat like the popular book series Divergent or Hunger games, and my assumption wasn’t completely wrong, but this book rises far above the others

The choosing is a time for celebration, for joy, at least for those who are chosen. The girls left without a husband are to become part of the lowest ranks of their society, the Lints. It’s hard for Clarington to believe she has failed to be chosen, and how she will face a lifetime in the constant reminder that she was never enough.

As I began reading I wondered what brought on Rachel’s idea to have the position of Lints for women only. Why women? Why not men? What if a man never chose a bride? Is that even allowed? As I read on more questions were answered, the big picture began to fall into place like a well-laid game of Tetris.

Recently I’ve begun to take notice that most female leads in fiction, even Christian fiction, are perfectly beautiful. As an overweight girl myself I know I’m not pretty like most of those women, making it hard to relate, and little frustrating when they go on how they are not pretty. We all have our fears about not being pretty, but with these characters all it takes is a touch of makeup, a pretty dress, and all their insecurities are gone. Never to be seen again. So when I read The Choosing I expected this same sort of Cinderella moment, my expectations were gladly dashed. Rachel let you know how the characters and their surroundings looked in good detail, but it wasn’t her main focus as I have found in many other books. Instead made focus on the war raging on inside Carrington, not demolishing her insecurities with a single blow.

I would like to personally thank Rachel Dekker for writing this book, giving life to it that few authors can. It gave me the boost I needed to keep writing my novel Hark, about an overweight girl in the 1800’s trying to find love. I wasn’t sure that type of book would ever be accepted in the publishing world, and even though Carrington is by normal standards very pretty, Rachel did not make it all about physical attraction. For that I thank her from the bottom of my heart.

Now, back to the review.

The day I received this book in the mail I read over two hundred pages, that’s well over half the book in less then twenty-four hours. I was so engrossed I could never seem to put the book down for a second, even when my eyes begged for sleep. By the middle of the second day I was finished. I wished to read it over and over again. And I was so thankful that it was not left at a complete cliffhanger. Instead we are left with a wonderful view the top of the cliff had to offer and the hope for what is to come. I don’t know how my carpet will last with all my pacing around, waiting for 2016 to come around so I can read the sequel. It’s going to be a long year.

 I meant it when I said Rachel Dekker was in a class all her own. She brought into fiction what so many young men and women struggle with on a daily basis. I would love to tell all of y’all more, but this is a book I cannot spoil. It is too good for that. I urge all of you to pick up a copy as soon as possible. With a message I believe everyone needs to hear Rachel Dekker debuted with a book more then worthy of being called book of the year.

I look forward comes next from this up and rising author.

And here is a little something special from Tyndale publishing group, a Q&A with the author Rachel Dekker!

How did you come up with the story for The Choosing? 
This is a hard question because it has many answers. I wanted to write a theme-based novel about identity. I wanted to write a dystopian novel. I wanted to write in a world that was familiar, but in a setting where I could change the way the world worked. It actually is several ideas I’d been toying with pulled into one story. Once I landed on Carrington’s core revelation and story arc, I simply fell in love with her as a character and drew the rest of the story around her. That’s usually how it works for me. I come up with a character, good or bad, and create the story from there. 

You based your main character, Carrington, off of your younger sister. In what ways is Carrington like her? 

It’s more the beliefs that Carrington struggles with that remind me of my sister. The idea of worth, of not feeling like you’re enough, or questioning whether anyone would choose you. Carrington came about as I spent time with my sister and her college-age friends and saw that a large majority of them were searching for significance, searching for worth—none more than my sister at the time. 

Throughout the book, Carrington struggles with understanding her identity and worth and what is true. Why did you decide to write about the theme of identity? 
Someone once asked me, If you could leave one message for your younger sisters, what would it be? The answer was always the same: I would pray they knew what they were worth. Identity is everything. There isn’t a theme that doesn’t start with identity, or circle back to identity. Knowing who you truly are is the greatest journey we face. Am I enough; am I worth it? I believe everyone faces these questions, and I sought out to explore them through this story. 

One of the story’s most significant lines is, “Life is a journey of remembering and forgetting.” What do you mean by this? 
It means exactly what you probably think. We have these flashes of clarity where we see so clearly who we are—and our connection to the Father—but then, in a single moment, something pulls our attention away and we forget who we are. This is the journey of life, remembering and forgetting. But I believe the more we remember, the more we set our gaze on the Father, the less often we forget. 

What do you hope readers will take away from the story?
 I hope readers are filled with joy and power as they either realize for the first time who their Father is and what they are really worth, or as they simply remember this truth. 

What would you say to the person who is struggling, trying to find their identity in temporary, unsatisfying places? 
I would say we have all been there, and that those places will only serve as a prison in the end. They may seem like happiness now, but eventually they will become suffering. But that’s just part of the journey of identity. Some people need to learn the hard way—I did for sure! I searched for significance in darkness and somehow the Father still led me to the light. So when I see people going through what I did, I empathize, but also know that in a single moment they can discover their true identity. 

 What is it like being Ted Dekker’s daughter? Did your father help you with the writing process? 
Being Ted’s daughter is wonderful! He’s the best, but then I hope many daughters feel that way about their fathers. He is a bit of a mystery, though. Sometimes, even sitting at the dinner table, I can tell he’s lost in thought, and I wonder what it might be like to have his mind. It’s been a blessing to watch him write and struggle with writing, so that now when I struggle I have an understanding ear to talk off. He is always willing to talk me through the emotional and mental side of writing (which is where the biggest battles lie in wait) but as far as story, for the most part he lets me fend for myself. It’s always been important to me to write through my challenges on my own. To figure out scenes alone. In fact, he didn’t even read The Choosing until I was already in conversations with Tyndale about publication. I think that’s because he wanted me to believe I could do it on my own. But when I doubt my ability as a writer, and when I forget who I am, he is the one I call. And he reminds me that life is a journey of remembering and forgetting, and helps me in remembering once again

Until next time, may you have a blessed day!

I received this book from the publisher for free an exchange for an honest review, which I have given