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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Fiction Review: Broken Windows

Broken Windows, by Deb Brammer is the first in her Keyhole Mystery series. It’s a delightful book for teens, even young teens. It’s basically about four young adult friends who end up living in close proximity one to the other.  The two young men become roommates. The protagonist is Jordan, who goes to Boise, Idaho in order to study bronze sculpture with his artist hero. His boss, Texas-dressing Monte Mayer, is temperamental and hard to work with, and he falsely accuses Jordan of theft. Jordan is determined to find out who is really taking things, and his search leads him into life-changing adventures.

Who is the Zaxx (like Banksy street artist) copycat? Why does his work show up in places related to Jordan? Why do the boss’s possessions keep going missing? And, who's framing Jordan? Who took a shot at Zophie, and who drove the dark van? What is going on?

When police question Jordan’s friends about breaking and entering, things get interesting.

All the while, the four friends are involved in a children’s Bible club outreach. They become concerned for a needy little boy while they face trials of their own.

Jordan thinks his missionary parents have wasted their lives on the mission field, and he questions God. He writes his thoughts anonymously on an online forum.

Follow Jordan and Zophie as they grow and change and Matt and Alison as they accompany their friends. Matt, born with spina bifida and in a wheelchair, demonstrates how a real Christian needs to act and react. Logan, who works with Jordan, is confined to a wheelchair too, but he’s the exact opposite. He’s sarcastic, cruel, and resentful.

I had a difficult time getting into this book at the beginning. There were so many characters and backstories, and I had trouble keeping the two similar names, Jordan and Logan, straight in my somewhat dyslexic head.

Also, there are two young men in wheelchairs, and Jordan gets injured and temporarily uses a wheelchair. So then, there are three wheelchair-bound people in a story with six main characters. I felt that was a little exaggerated, but at the same time, I appreciated Mrs. Brammer showing that a person can accomplish a lot of things even when he can’t walk. (Sorry to be vague here, but I don’t want to be a spoiler.)

I also felt that the author took on too much for one book. It covers many varied themes. They are good ones, though, and her didacticism is effective. Teens will glean a lot from this book, even while following the rabbit trails.

This book is marketed for adults, but I think it’s more applicable to teens. The young adults of the story drive (a ’69 Mustang and a van), and they get into adventures similar to the old Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew stories. There is a hint of romance and absolutely no bad language or sensuality. Broken Windows is clean and Christian. It also emphasizes the need for both home and foreign missionary outreach.

Once I got into the story, it was fun, and I was fast flipping pages on my Kindle. Broken Windows is a good book, exciting, and one that will be especially profitable for teens who are struggling with Christian commitment.

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