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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Lindsey is an attractive teenager whose busy life includes school, youth group, dance team and hanging out with her best girlfriends. Most of her experiences with guys have left her feeling violated — until she gets to know Noah Hornung. When the cute hockey player from youth group begins to show an interest in Lindsey, she's convinced he's not like the other boys she's known.

Shortly after Noah and Lindsey start dating, the youth pastor gives a talk on premarital sex. His thought-provoking illustration of sex being similar to a fire, warm and comforting in the 'hearth' of marriage but dangerous when not controlled, speaks to Lindsey. At the same time, she's falling for Noah and experiencing new emotions and feelings. She's surprised when her Christian friend Emma tells her she's sleeping with Noah's friend Peter. Lindsey's promiscuous sister, Kristine, urges her to have sex with Noah and offers to get her condoms. In a moment of loneliness, when family troubles have made her feel invisible, Lindsey turns to Noah for comfort, and they sleep together. Although Lindsey knows her behavior violates her Christian beliefs, she feels even closer to Noah. Whenever she starts feeling guilty, Noah tells her he loves her. He says what they're doing is OK because they're going to get married someday.

Emma has a pregnancy scare, causing Lindsey to realize she could be in the same situation. Still, she tries to justify her behavior before God. She and Noah continue to look for ways to be alone. Once, Lindsey's mom nearly catches them undressed. Emma continues to sleep with Peter, even though it's clear to her friends he's only using her for sex.

At youth group, the pastor's reminder of an upcoming purity rally brings Lindsey to tears. She starts praying about how to discuss her misgivings about premarital sex with Noah. She's afraid she'll lose him if she ends the physical part of their relationship. Once she summons up the courage to start the conversation, he distracts her with his professed desire to marry her. She finally tells him she loves him, but she loves God more and wants to follow His will for sex. The book's ending is purposely vague: Readers never learn whether Noah stays with her or ends the relationship. But Lindsey has chosen God first and knows He will guide her future whether or not Noah is a part of it.

Christian Beliefs

Lindsey attends her own church and participates in Emma's youth group. She feels like she's learning some good things about God and getting a broad view of Christianity. She believes her growing relationship with Jesus is better than the sex-and-party-filled life her sister, Kristine, leads. Lindsey sometimes feels electric and alive at youth group, as if she's filled with God's presence. She thanks Jesus for bringing Noah into her life and feels he's the answer to her prayers. Lindsey prays many other times, whether asking for God's blessing on her dance routine or His help to do the right thing in her relationship with Noah. She later tries to justify premarital sex by telling God she doesn't think He understands what it's like to be in her situation. When Noah sees Lindsey's mom and Kristine fighting, he tells Lindsey he'll pray for her family. As Lindsey becomes convicted about telling Noah they can't sleep together, she prays and senses God responding to her questions and cries for help.

Other Belief Systems

Lindsey and her friend Melissa trade gloves before their dance performance for good luck.

Authority Roles

Lindsey's dad frequently travels on business. He allows her and Kristine to use his credit card whenever they like to make up for his absences. Lindsey says she misses her father and clearly wonders what life might be like if he were around more. Lindsey's mom can be loving and helpful, but both Mom and Dad spend the majority of their parenting energies dealing with Kristine. They feel helpless and pick their battles (such as letting Kristine smoke on the porch but not in the house). Their all-consuming concern for their older daughter makes Lindsey feel invisible. Emma's parents often scream at each other. Emma feels as if they take their anger at one another out on her.

Profanity/Violence

When Lindsey's friend teases her about Noah, Lindsey rolls her eyes and says, 'Please, God, don't let him near Emma.' The text says she makes this comment with 'mock intent.'

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Lindsey's previous dates have ended in boys groping her, putting their hands between her legs and sticking their tongues down her throat without consent. Lindsey is 'both mesmerized and terrified' by her sister, a cool cheerleader who smokes, drinks and sleeps with her boyfriend. Kristine says that safe sex is better than no sex.

Lindsey and her friends wander in Victoria's Secret and discuss the merchandise. When they run into Noah in the mall, he sees Lindsey's store bag and convinces her to show him the underwear she's just purchased. After they start dating, Noah and Lindsey often kiss intensely. Kristine flirts with Noah by learning over and giving him an intentionally lengthy view of her cleavage. He does stare, but he later tells Lindsey he hopes she'll never flirt with anyone that way. Kristine makes fun of Lindsey's desire for sexual purity. She suggests a hot hockey player like Noah would probably be great in bed. She tells Lindsey she'll help her get protection if she decides to have sex. Noah admits to Lindsey that he's not a virgin. At a sleepover, Lindsey and her girlfriends watch a sexy music video that they say makes them feel naughty.

Lindsey and Noah sleep together in a short, non-graphic scene. Lindsey says it only hurts for a minute, but even the pain isn't so bad because it makes her remember she's alive. In the following days, they scheme to find ways to be alone together again. After they've begun making out and are nearly undressed at Lindsey's, they realize her mom is home. As Noah leaves, he tells Lindsey he needs to be with her. She understands, but is also slightly unnerved by the desperation in his voice.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Alcohol and other substances: Noah has a beer with friends before a ballgame. He tells Lindsey he avoided her until the buzz wore off because he felt stupid for doing it and didn't want to upset her. Kristine is generally smoking, drunk or high at home. Lindsey's parents become upset when they discover marijuana in Kristine's room.

Lying: Lindsey lies to her parents to cover up Emma's pregnancy scare.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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