Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reading: Here's Lily by Nancy Rue & The Mystery At Johnson Farm by Hilda Stahl

The Lily series and The Elizabeth Gail series are both young adult books series for young girls who want to grow spiritually with God.  I did not read the complete series of either of them as a teen but I read quite a few of the books and since I decided to read them again for my 50 book challenge, I figured I would do a compare and contrast book review since they both fit into the same genre! 
Let's start with the similarities these two books have.  Each book centers around the life of a 12 year old girl entering her teen years and dealing with school and peer drama while they are also struggling to form a relationship with God.  Each girl is surrounded by family and people who love them.  That is as far as the similarities go with these two books.  As for the differences, both girls have different struggles which is obviously a typical difference between books in the same genre however both struggles are purely unique while the message is the same.  Both of our main characters have different attitudes and interests as well as a different family history and a different relationship with God. 
In Here's Lily by Nancy Rue, Lily is a red haired and insecure girl who struggles to find God in her new obsession, modeling.  Lily also struggles with bullying and decides to form a club with her friends so they can empower each other.  During the story, Lily does not pray often and seems to overlook prayer but toward the end she begins to pray a lot and learns that through God she can do the right thing and find strength.  Lily's family is, for lack of a better word, whole and her parents never gave her up nor did they get separated.  She is the middle child between an old brother and a younger brother.  Never in the book do we see Lily or her family attend church but rather the reader sees a focus on God in the family activities.  Lily has a good attitude most of the time except toward her brother's and a boy named Shad who is a bully in her class.  Lily is also very kind and wants to help people who are going through similar struggles as she is and who do not want to be bullied any longer.  Her hobbies change with every book but in this book Lily is into fashion and modeling because she is participating in a modeling class and show. 
In The Mystery At Johnson Farm by Hilda Stahl, Libby is a plain foster child who struggles with the idea that she is not loved and will never be loved because she is "just a welfare kid" while also struggling with being blamed for things she did not do.  Libby was never aware that God wanted her and her relationship with Him is very raw, new and unfamiliar in the story.  Libby's dad and mom are out of the picture.  The reader does not hear much about her dad but know Libby's mom could not take care of her.  Libby is now living with a new family, the Johnson's, who accept her as part of the family right away and love her as if she were their own flesh and blood.  Libby has a bitter attitude because she does not want to get attached to anything or anyone because she knows the reality of going to a new home as a foster child and the family becoming bored of her and getting rid of her and sending her back to the foster home.  She puts on a mask of being tough and unyielding because of this.  Libby's favorite hobby is riding horses with her new foster siblings. 
Overall, each book does a good job in depicting realistic characters and events that young girls can relate to.  Each book is about creating a relationship with God and each book has unique characters and situations that will help girls relate in different ways.  The writing techniques are fairly solid.  Here's Lily features a lot of advanced writing techniques in terms of who the book is directed toward.  The Mystery at Johnson Farm is very basic in terms of writing and I saw a lot of repetition.
I am going to give these books both 3 out of 5.  For young girls they are excellent and the message of the book is fresh and unique but artistically, they definitely have more potential. 

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