Review of Toward a Secret Sky: Paranormal Fiction for Young Adults

I will freely confess that I enjoy young adult fiction. I’ll go a little farther and admit that I am a Twilight fan. For real. I read all four books multiple times.

After reading Twilight, I wondered if I was truly a fan of paranormal fiction. But I’ve never liked any other books that are thrown into that genre. The fact is that I enjoyed the Twilight books because of the love story.
Recently I received a new book to review- Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean. It’s considered young adult fiction, and you can find it on Zondervan here. When I read the synopsis of the book, I expected a book that was primarily about spiritual warfare. When I read, however, I found a book that was very similar to Twilight…except the characters weren’t vampires.
Review of Toward a Secret Sky

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About the Book

Maren’s father died when she was born, and she grew up with just her mom. When Maren is seventeen, her mother dies unexpectedly. The problem is that Maren dreamed about her death before it actually happened.
Because Maren is now an orphan, she’s sent to live with her grandparents in Scotland. Maren has never met them. From what she’s heard, they never approved of their son marrying Maren’s mom.
Once in Scotland, Maren struggles to adjust to a new country and new surroundings. She meets a friend- Jo,- and things seem to get a little easier. But she also meets an unusual boy-Gavin. He seems to be about her age, but Maren can’t find out much about him. He doesn’t go to the high school that her grandmother enrolls her in. And Jo doesn’t seem to know anything about him.
As strange things begin to happen in her new town, Maren learns that Gavin is actually an angel. And there’s a battle between good and evil in the small town that is now home to Maren. She also begins to learn that there was more to her parents than she ever knew. And there’s a reason that she is finding herself in the middle of the battle.

My Thoughts

The Good…

~ The story is set in Scotland. It’s one of my favorite settings and a place I long to visit one day. I loved the setting and the hint of Scottish in the segments of dialogue in the story.
~ The book is fast-paced and draws the reader in from the beginning. I found myself very interested in Maren’t story and eager to find our what was really going on in this small Scottish town.
~ Maren was a likable character. She was fairly well-developed and a character that young adults- especially girls- will likely relate to.

…And the Not So Good

~ Although Maren is fairly well-developed the other characters in the story really aren’t. The reader gets to know them a little as they relate to Maren, but we really aren’t given much- even about Gavin who is an important secondary character.
~ There were some events that seemed to come out of nowhere. They just didn’t flow with the story. I found myself thinking, “Hey, wait a minute. How in the world did that just happen?” I don’t like it when I’m thrown events like this in a story. It makes things choppy and disconnected for me.
~ My biggest concern about the book is the portrayal of angels and demons. When I began reading, I expected the book to be about spiritual warfare. There is some of that. There’s definitely the battle between good and evil. But the love story eclipses that and takes over. I was left feeling as if the angel and demon were fighting, not for the battle of good and evil, but over a girl. Quite a few things about the angels and demons weren’t very biblical. This is concerning to me. I’d rather see a story about vampires, werewolves, and zombies- which aren’t real- than one that inaccurately portrays angels and demons- which are real.
All in all, this isn’t a read I’d recommend. Young adults who enjoy the paranormal romance genre will probably enjoy it. But I would have a running conversation about what’s biblical and what isn’t with my teens if they were reading it.
I give this one two stars and a PG rating for content. You can find the book on Amazon here and on Zondervan here.

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