Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Format: eARC, 208 pages
How I got it: NetGalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.
I’m always a little nervous about books with a heavy religious theme because, in the past, they’ve felt too preachy to me. I think maybe it’s time to let go of that fear though because this is the second book I’ve read in the last month or so that made me realize my fears were totally unfounded. This was such a great, thought-provoking read. I’m so glad I decided to dive into it, even if I was a little apprehensive at the beginning.
Devoted could’ve easily been a heavy, tough read. It was anything but. Yes, there were things about Rachel’s family that disturbed me deeply and my heart broke for her as the story unfolded at times. I could tell how torn she was between what she always knew and what she yearned to know. I found it easy to get inside Rachel’s head and actually felt like I was living this book, her story, right along with her. It wasn’t your traditional coming of age novel – or at least it wasn’t the kind I traditionally read – but instead it was quiet, unassuming and thought-provoking.
I have to be honest and say I’m really struggling to write a review about this book that doesn’t give away too much information. Not that there are big plot twists or anything like that, but it’s just hard to dissect Rachel’s journey during this book. All I can really say is, even if you don’t tend to gravitate towards books like this, you should give it a chance. Yes, you will likely be angered at the treatment of women and you’ll probably be thoroughly disgusted by the beliefs of the church, but I think you’ll find hope and beauty here, too.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.