I am really impressed with a new Christian fiction series for middle-grade girls called Scenarios by Nicole O'Dell . I recently read the first book in this series SCENARIOS 1: TRUTH OR DARE, and I can't rave enough about how terrific I think this book is. So many of the things that I try to relate to my daughter every day -- like making good choices, doing the right thing even when it's hard, sticking up for yourself, forgiving others, and being a good friend and a good Christian -- are covered within the pages of this novel.
I really like the concept of these Scenarios books, and I'm sure that lots of young girls will too. The book first introduces the characters and tells a story about them. I thought the book had very realistic characters and a very realistic story. At some point, the main character faces an ethical dilemma and has to make a choice. In the case of TRUTH OR DARE, Lindsay has to decide whether she will accept her friends' dare to try to purchase a can of beer. The reader gets to pick which outcome they would choose if they were in the character's shoes. I believe that by making the reader think about the dilemma and participate in choosing the ending really allows her to grasp some very difficult concepts.
I actually read both endings, and I thought they both had excellent lessons in them. In one ending, Lindsay decides to take a chance of alienating her friends and calls her mom to come and pick her up. She has to face the wrath of her "friends" after they get in trouble with the police and their school. In the other ending, Lindsay takes the dare and finds herself in trouble with the police. Both stories showed how Lindsay had to struggle with either decision and how difficult it can be to do the "right" thing. I thought the author did a wonderful job with showing how important it is to forgive others as Christ forgives us. Forgiveness is a difficult concept to grasp for some adults (myself included) so a book for young girls that has forgiveness as a major message is just terrific. There were also some wonderful examples of what makes a good friend. Believe me, I say the same things to my daughter all the time when her "friends" treat her poorly; but for some reason, when she actually read about these so-called friends, it all clicked!
One thing I really liked was how Lindsay's parents were represented in this book. My daughter even commented to me that even though she didn't always agree with Lindsay's parents, she could tell that they loved her and had reasons for their rules. In both stories, her parents were very involved in their daughter's life and in tune with her mood changes. In addition, they were entirely supportive of Lindsay even when she made mistakes -- it was always clear that they loved her. I think their Christ-like example of forgiveness was a huge step towards Lindsay being able to forgive herself and others.
There is a fantastic website devoted to the Scenarios books that is launching today! It looks like it's going to be a lot of fun for young girls. There are lots of giveaways, devotions, girl talk, etc. And there's even going to be an advice column. Booking Daughter can't wait to test it out.
And speaking of Booking Daughter, I had a feeling that she was going to like TRUTH OR DARE, but I don't think I realized how much impact this book would have on her. She couldn't stop talking about the story or the characters with me. Here are her thoughts:
I really loved reading TRUTH OR DARE. It was so good that I read it in one day, even though I didn't want it to end. Not only did I like the story, but I thought the characters helped make the book even better. I also enjoyed that the book let me decide how the story would end.
First, I picked the dare ending because I thought Lindsay would have made that decision. I thought of Lindsay as more of a follower. I ended up reading the truth story too, but I liked the dare ending better.
There were a lot of good lessons in this book. I learned about forgiveness in both story endings. Everyone apologized and forgave each other. The book also showed that God will always forgive you if you just ask and are truly sorry. I also learned about friendship and what it takes to be a good friend. This book showed me how a friend should treat you.
I recommend TRUTH OR DARE to anyone who likes to read about friendship or to anyone who would like to pick their own ending. I think there are valuable lessons in this book that will last a lifetime.
I really don't think I can say it any better myself! As a mother, it's so refreshing to know that there are really good books out there that also teach your children important lessons about life. Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book.