Today a book review will be replacing the typical Thursday post, as Tuesdays are temporarily allocated to the 1 Peter Bible study posts.
Technically today’s review is of the Sierra Jensen Collection: Volume One, the first three books in Robin Jones Gunn’s Sierra Jensen series combined in one binding (or in one e-book). But, I ended up only receiving book one in the series, Only You, Sierra. So, I can actually only review the content of book one. Even having only read one book, however, I think I can give you a pretty good idea of what is available with this collection.
I have heard of Robin Jones Gunn’s books for teen girls and have wanted to preview them for some time now, considering I have two growing girls who are avid readers. Sierra Jensen’s stories actually comprise a companion series to Gunn’s Christy Miller books, picking up on a character Christy and her friends meet on a mission trip.
Sierra Jensen is a sixteen-year-old struggling with the balance between wanting to be grown and still needing to mature in so many areas. Having just had a life-changing mission trip experience with older college students, returning to the life of a high-schooler is tough. To make it worse, Sierra’s family moved while she was on her trip, and Sierra just can’t seem to get settled into her new home, school, and community.
The storyline is definitely one I want to reserve for my girls’ teen years. There is nothing overly mature or compromising for a preteen girl. If the rest of the series is like this book, Gunn does a great job of keeping the story pure and encouraging godly relationships between guys and girls. But, the idea that girls should have boyfriends is being introduced earlier and earlier these days. The longer I can keep that longing in the background for my girls, the easier it will be for them to wait and live out God’s plan in God’s timing. As we do begin to discuss God’s plan for their future relationships, however, Gunn’s perspective on dating and relationships is one that I think will reinforce a Christ-centered perspective on dating and waiting for “Mr. Right.” In addition to promoting the aforementioned purity, Gunn also is not shy about presenting the idea that obedience to Christ comes first, no matter how attractive the guy, how promising the relationship, or even how solid of a Christian the significant other may be.
But, Gunn’s writing style presents a problem for me. As I mentioned, both of my girls are advanced readers, and even at eight and ten they could speed through one book in the Sierra Jensen series in an hour or two at the most. I can only imagine how quickly they would fly through these books as teenagers!
While I would love to see similar storylines developed at a more challenging reading level, I think the reorganization of these books into three-volume collections will help. I know I would need to buy at least three books at a time to keep my girls from going crazy while waiting to read what comes next!
Bottom line: No matter what type of reader you are, there’s always room for a fun, quick, relaxing read. So, these books will definitely go on our wish list for a few years from now. And, knowing that these are quick, easy reads enables me to encourage teen girls who aren’t such avid readers to pick up these novels. The world’s perspective on dating is pressing hard on teen girls, and Robin Jones Gunn provides a solid push in a more godly direction with her novels.
This book was sent to me by WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.