Note: I received a digital copy of Counted Worthy from the author for review consideration.
Okay, full disclosure: I know Leah, the author of this book. She’s a blogging buddy of mine, and I guest post on her blog, Teens Interceding for Orphans, every other week. So when Counted Worthy was about to be released, I jumped at the chance to read Leah’s work. Despite my bias, I was a little worried that Counted Worthy would fall into the trap that a lot of Christian fiction does–sappy, overly simplified, and preachy. I was so pleased to find that this book was none of those things. In fact, this YA story is one of the best Christian fiction books I’ve ever read.
In Counted Worthy, Heather Stone is a teenager living in a dystopian America. After the rebellion, Christians were forced to go underground and hide their faith for fear of the government finding out and forcing them to recant or die. When Heather ends up with an illegal Bible in her possession and her father is arrested, she takes refuge with the underground church, which she almost abandoned after a traumatic event in her past. Along with her friend, Bryce, Heather does everything she can to free her father from prison and help the general public wake up to the persecution of the government toward Christians.
What I loved about Counted Worthy is how well-written and realistic the characters are. A major flaw I find in many books aimed toward Christians is flat characters with unnatural reactions toward life’s events. These characters struggled with their faith; they faced trials with a mixture of courage and fear; they didn’t always know what God wanted them to do. They’re realistic people with interesting personalities and flaws, and I enjoyed getting to know them. The dystopian setting is also well-constructed. It’s reminiscent of books like The Hunger Games, but it has a flavor totally its own. As someone who grew up in the Christian faith, I’ve heard countless stories about persecution of Christians around the world, but it was fascinating to see a depiction of how persecution might take place in America.
Now, if you read this book, don’t make the same mistake that I did. I read the last couple of chapters during a break at work, and I ended up sniffling back tears and hoping no one walked through my door at that moment. The conclusion of this book is touching and heart-wrenching without being sappy, and it definitely caused a few tears. I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t get over how well-written this book is.
If you’re looking for a Christian YA book with an exciting, dystopian story, this is for you. If you’re not a Christian but enjoy dystopian fiction, you’ll still probably like Counted Worthy. This book displays the author’s faith in a clear but non-preachy way that I’m still marveling at. If you want to read my rant about the problems with Christian art, you can check it out on my other blog, but if you want a quality piece of Christian literature that doesn’t have to be qualified with the label, “Good… for a Christian book,” check out Counted Worthy. It’s exciting and well-written, and I can’t wait for Leah’s next book.
Rating: Re-read Worthy