intensely trivial

Book review: Boomtown

A month or two ago, my friend Jess told me about this super-cool program, Book Review Bloggers, with Thomas Nelson, the Christian publisher. Basically, you agree to read one of their books and post a review, and they send you the book to read. When you’ve finished the book and posted your review, you can choose another book! It’s all free.
So, being a natural reader, reviewer, and lover of all free things, I signed up. I have to say, the initial selection of books up for review was rather small (I think 5 items), and this book was the most attractive one to me. I chose Boomtown, Book One: Chang’s Fireworks Factory, by Nowen N. Particular.

As a former ninth-grade English teacher, I was curious about this work of juvenile fiction. Non-Christian YA literature can be dark and raw, as it handles the problems of adolescence. I wondered how this Christian YA literature would compare. Dark it is not. It shines with fun and energy. There are conflicts, of course, but nothing that forgiveness and trust won’t solve. Perhaps the author chose this cheerful tone because the tale is set in the proverbially happy post-World War II period. Perhaps I am too cynical, but eventually the lack of plausible problems soured me on the story.

Boomtown, Book One is stuffed full of ideas that are supposed to be cool and motivating. I get the impression this book is trying to be the next Harry Potter, albeit a benign, Christian one: adolescents running around without adults, gleeful special effects, and of course plenty of explosions. It should work, right? The author’s imagination and humor don’t give out, but I kind of wished he would settle down and tell a story I cared about – and I have a feeling the teens I’ve known would wish for the same thing.

The tale’s greatest asset is the many graphics illustrating the story. They are genuinely enjoyable and obviously a labor of love. Overall, however, I was disappointed. Meanwhile, I keep waiting for some truly creative, dynamic, well-crafted Christian fiction.


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  1. * Gail says:

    Let me know if you find something wonderful. I’m always up for a good read!

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago
  2. * Jill says:

    I joined this afternoon. I just couldn’t turn down an opportunity for a free book and an “assignment” to read. 😉

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago

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