A Novel

Book - 2015
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Rachel Walker is devoted to God and her large family, but as her curiosity about the world her parents turned from grows and she finds that neither Calvary Christian Church nor her homeschool education has the answer she craves, she considers leaving her sheltered life, as an older sister did.
Publisher: New York :, Roaring Brook Press,, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781596439115
Characteristics: 328 pages ; 22 cm


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samcmar Jun 12, 2017

I fell deeply in love with Jennifer Mathieu's first novel The Truth About Alice last year and remembered being completely enamored by her writing. There's a raw and rich quality to her work, and she leaves the reader with so much to think about both as the story progresses and when it ends. Colour me excited when Devoted showed up in the mail, because I admit, books on religion are something that always make me a touch nervous.

Devoted is written with honesty, kindness, and raw force. Rachel is the kind of heroine who a reader can connect with because she is someone who is being ripped a part at the seams. We can sympathize with her because she wants to be a devoted Christian woman, but she also has a strong desire to see the world beyond the walls of Calvary Christian, the commune she lives in.

And here's the thing, the book does a wonderful and respectful job of looking at both of Rachel's wants. She understands what is right and wrong about the cult she grew up in, she's sympathetic to the people she once lived with, and yet the other half of her knows that (and through discovering Lauren's blog) that there's more to the world outside of it. She wants an education, she wants to have a job, she wants more for her life than simply baring children and being a good helpmeet.

I really adored the characters in this story. Rachel's family is exceptionally frustrating, but I found myself sympathizing with them at times, particularly Rachel's sister, Ruth, who seemed the most frazzled by Rachel's abrupt departure. I also loved Lauren and how she comforts Rachel, and I love her genuine attitude towards helping her get settled into a normal life. I loved the Treats family, especially Diane, who was just so nutty and fun. Mark was a cutie too, and I liked that Mathieu didn't try to force a romance between he and Rachel, but rather went very subtle about it. This book was more about Rachel's growth, and Mark has such a sweetness about him that he wants to encourage her transition than spoil it.

So I am two for two with Jennifer Mathieu, and I know that I'll be reading more of her books as they are published. She knows how to provide such thoughtful reads, and with such a touchy topic like religion, does it with such grace. I encourage everyone to check out Devoted, simply because it's one of those books that offers a perspective often not considered, and it leaves a such a last impression. This is a tough read, but it's the kind that is also so rewarding, that you'll still be thinking about it well after it's over.

Mar 15, 2017

Ms. Mathieu portrayed this conservative Christian subculture very well. I enjoyed this book and it definitely made me think.

Sep 06, 2016

This was an interesting book about a girl (Rachel) raised in a very religious family.
She respects that...
That is until she finds a website of a girl who had left the church and rebeled the religion.
Rachel gets more and more interested.
Then Rachel gets in trouble.
Because she wasn't suppost to do that and the church says to go on a "Walk of faith." Rachel runs away.

This was a good book!

JCLBeckyC Jul 01, 2016

What I like most about this book is how complexly the author handles Rachel's faith in God. Turning away from her church doesn't mean that she's turning away from God. In fact, Rachel develops a deeper relationship with God once she runs away from her strict home and learns to build a life of her own. Author Jennifer Mathieu also wrote the amazing, realistic fiction book The Truth About Alice. She reminds me of great writers like Anne Tyler. Someone who respects her readers' ability to revel in nuance and ambiguity. Highly recommended for teens and adults.

kirstd31 Mar 19, 2016

This book was okay. I enjoyed the first half of the book and thought the second half was a little slow.

Cynthia_N Jan 30, 2016

I love books that talk about religious extremes. I don't know why but I do. Rachel decides that her family's extreme religious beliefs do not match her own beliefs and takes a huge step in trying to make her own way in the world.

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