About the Book:
Cori signs up for a mission trip to Indonesia during the summer after her senior year of high school. Inspired by happy visions of building churches and seeing beautiful beaches, she gladly escapes her complicated love life back home.
Six weeks into the trip, a conflict that has been simmering for years flames to deadly life on the nearby island of Ambon. Before they can leave, Cori and her teammates find themselves caught up in the destructive wave of violence washing over the Christian and Muslim villages in the area. Within days the church they helped build is a smoldering pile of ashes, its pastor and many of the villagers are dead, and the six teenagers are forced to flee into the hazardous refuge of the jungle with only the pastor's son to guide them.
Wow. That was my first thought upon finishing this story. As much as I enjoyed Ms. McKay's memoir, this book.....well. It stayed in my brain for hours afterward, even amongst the craziness of airplanes, airports, baggage, seeing my family, etc., and didn't turn off until I fell asleep that night. Even almost two weeks later, this story haunts me. I think I'm going to have a hard time putting it into words, it was that amazing! I'm really going to try to not spoil much of this story, as it truly needs to be experienced from start to finish with no idea of what will come. What these teenagers go through, what they see and experience, it changes them. In ways they would never have imagined and cannot explain to anyone else who wasn't there. Even you as the reader find it hard to to come to grips with the fact that while this is a fictional story, it is also so steeped in reality; in what human beings are experiencing and doing to each other even right now half a world away from you. Cori realized that Christians and Muslims don't get along, but she had no idea exactly how fearful these groups are of each other and what that fear will cause them to do. She's a teenager whose life has been simple and comforting and stable. When that stability is ripped away, she finds out exactly how strong or weak she really is. As do the rest of the group. Left with a 17 year old guide and his baby sister, off they go to try to get home to their families. What they see, how they react, how they survive, their story will make you laugh and make you cry. That's a credit to Ms. McKay's wonderful writing. You get sucked into this story and experience it as if you are right there part of this ragtag group of teenagers.
Ms. McKay doesn't shy away from describing death and disease and pain, but it never gets too gory. She also throws in little bits of humor here and there which nicely breaks the tension, for you and for the characters. And it doesn't end with everything all fixed and everyone happy. It is a happy ending, but also a real one. You may stop reading about these characters, but you can picture them stumbling on and making messes and living life. Also while this may be a christian book, it really can be enjoyed by anyone. Because what goes on in third world countries should upset anyone, no matter what they believe. I discovered this book on another blog and she posted a character spotlight which gives you a little bit of an idea what they may look like. I enjoyed having it, but don't check it out if you like to imagine what the characters look like by yourself. :) Read this book! You won't be disappointed!
A Passage For You :
"I was surprised to learn that there was yet another type of tired. On Seram we'd had physical tired. The type of tired when a thousand muscles are screaming at you to quit walking, sweat's running off you, and only the energy you manage to generate from gritting your teeth helps you take the next step. That type of tired can keep the emotional tired safely at bay-the tired when sadness is a physical weight, a thick smothering, aching thing. That was the dangerous type of tired we couldn't afford on Seram. That's the type of tired that makes you want to sit still and listen to despair."
Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy reading!