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Brother lives on his family ranch in Oregon with his four brothers, father and grandparents.  Even though Brother works hard on the ranch, he fears that he doesn’t have the heart of a rancher.  But when his father’s National Guard unit is called up to duty in Iraq, and his brothers are off at school, the responsibility for running the ranch falls to Brother.

This was a wonderful book, perfect for 4th-6th graders.  It’s an excellent example of how Christian values can be portrayed in literature without being preachy, overbearing or fake.  I would love to see the Christian community embrace Parry’s contribution to quality, significant juvenile fiction.

True Colors by Kristin Hannah

21st September 2009

I read it.  It was fine.  It got better as it went along, but never really drew me in.  I probably won’t remember much about it in a few weeks.

Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen

08th February 2009

Annemarie returns to her family’s ranch with her teen daughter in tow after her husband announces that he’s leaving.  Her life is a mess, and the ranch is the once place where she can hope to find healing.  Nothing spectacular, but a decent story nonetheless.

Cody and Ally fall in love, in spite of their resolve to stay focused on their work. The problem is that Ally has cystic fibrosis, and the prognosis isn’t good.

A Thousand TomorrowsThis was a very typical romance book — nothing too special, and probably not worth my time. There was one point of interest for me though. I’ve read all of Kingsbury’s previous books, and they’ve all been very “Christian” — to the point of being nauseating. The main characters all have this vibrant relationship with God, and he always speaks to them in plain, audible English. This book didn’t use that particular literary device, which was fine with me. But the main characters also weren’t overtly Christian. There were the themes of trust, forgiveness, sacrifice, etc., and God was mentioned a few times very casually, but that’s all. No salvation plan. No conversions. No church services. No long talks about faith. I’m not saying that in order for a book to be Christian, those elements need to be there. But it’s such a noticeable switch from Kingsbury’s other books, it makes me wonder what’s going on.