“This Changes Everything: How the Gospel transforms the teen years.” Is a book with a self explanatory title. It goes into the Christian Living category. It was written by Jaquelle Crowe.
I got to read this book early because of a writer’s group I’m in, the Young Writers Workshop. (No sign ups currently available but here will be eventually if you’re interested.)
I went into this a bit skeptical, despite what many of my own nonfiction writing is about, which is living and believing things that are true, I am not a hug fan of books written for teenagers specifically. I got over that phase around 16 or 17. Which feels longer than it actually is.
My main problem with many Christian Teen, or just Christian Life books is that they are half baked. The writer firmly believe the have answers, but the content comes off as helpful only to a certain point, after which they don’t really understand their subject. I think Christians are especially susceptible to this because much of God is extremely difficult to explain, and very difficult to understand. As it should be. It’s be more likely to be made up if it made sense to man. But it does throw a kink in writing about it since an author want to explain things to their readers more clearly than they otherwise would be able to.
So, I’ve just had some negative experiences with these books. And this book was written by someone in her late teens.
All this to explain I was not biased in her favor, and I can happily say Jaquelle Crowe managed to earn my respect. Once I got into the second and third chapters of the book, I was figuratively nodding my head. (Usually I say “Amen”, yeah, I’m one of those people.) This book is really good.
Of course I may differ a bit in how I perceive my faith, but that is to be expected. Essentially, I agreed with everything she said. And what’s more, I think teens do need to hear it.
While I don’t favor talking down to young people, I do recognize that Millennials and Generation Y-ers have grown up in a very different culture than we’ve seen for centuries. More has been forgotten and neglected about us than perhaps any other generation for many decades. We do not have to be victims however, and that’s why this book’s message is so important. Jaquelle is giving the responsibility back to us.
Now, that may not be her intention. I think her intention was to remind young people of what the Gospel really means, or to explain it to them if they had never heard it before. But nevertheless, what she says is something that will challenge anyone who really listens to examine their life and, hopefully, to improve it.
The best thing in this books favor is that it is not watered down, or constantly addressed to teens, per sec. It is addressed to Christians. Because it is written for them, and though it is aimed at teenagers, any adult could easily apply it to their own life, and so could a preteen.
Truth is true. Whatever else you’ve been told. And something in us know that. If there is one thing I agree with the dystopian, teen fiction works on, it is that there are always a few young people who know in their hearts that what they see around them is not what they are meant for. And if a young teen feeling that reads this book, it may tell them just what they need to hear.
All in all, I will not say this is the best book ever. (That would be the Bible.) I do not even know if it is the best book on the subject I have read. But it is one of them. It is worth checking out. And it could potentially change some lives. But only if people are willing to accept the message, and that is why I cannot say it is a book that sucks you in, and doesn’t let you go. It is entirely your choice to heed it.
Which I think the author realizes and embraces.
I will not object to rereading this book and adding it to my personal library; and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subject matter.