WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This social science/dystopian novel by Lois Lowry is the third in the " The Quartet" series published by Walter Lorraine Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Messenger is written for kids ages 12 to 16. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

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

Matty arrived in Village six years ago. No age is given, but he came as a young thief and liar, the product of an abusive home. Under the guidance of his teacher, Mentor, and his caretaker, an old blind man called Seer, Matty changes his ways and embraces Village's traditions of kindness and openness to all. He now looks forward to learning his true name the way other adults have, a name that will confirm his unique mystical gift. He expects that name will be Messenger, since he has already been charged with the task of taking correspondence through the forest to other villages. Most people are unable to leave Village through the forest, as Forest often entangles and kills them. But Forest seems to know Matty has a job to do and allows him safe passage.

Matty secretly begins to suspect he has the power to fix broken things. He discovers this when he accidentally steps on a frog in the forest, nearly tearing off its leg. When he picks it up, power surges through his hand, and the frog is restored. He also heals his friend Jean's two sick dogs, a mother and puppy, in the same way. Jean gives him the puppy, which he names Frolic.

When Matty's friend Ramo and his family make a trade to get a Gaming Machine, Matty becomes more curious about trading and the Trade Mart that takes place in town occasionally. Seer is a bit skeptical about trading and tells Matty he's too young, but the boy decides to attend a Trade Mart to see what the fuss is about.

He's surprised to see that no one has brought anything to trade. Townspeople loudly announce what they are trading for, but they whisper to the Trademaster whatever it is they're trading away. When Matty shares his experience with Seer, the old man seems concerned. Matty and Seer eventually realize that the people who trade are changing, physically and emotionally. They are actually trading away their deepest selves to fulfill their desires for attractiveness or material goods. Mentor, for example, is trading himself for an improved physical appearance so he can win the attention of a town widow. Though he looks increasingly more attractive, he no longer exhibits kindness or the love for poetry he once shared with his students. As people trade themselves away, they lose the friendliness and warmth that defined Village. Rallied by Mentor, the majority of citizens vote to have Village closed to outsiders so they won't have to demonstrate hospitality or share their resources.

Leader, who had arrived in Village by sled years earlier, reluctantly sends Matty to let the other villages know of the impending border closing. Leader says he knows about Matty's secret gift and urges the boy not to squander it. Seer is particularly concerned when citizens vote to close the borders permanently in just a few weeks. His daughter, Kira, lives in a neighboring village. He asks Matty to go through Forest and bring her to him before she's no longer allowed to enter.

As Matty makes this journey, posting notifications of Village closure along the way, Leader's unique vision reveals Forest is growing hostile and dangerous, even for Matty. Matty convinces Kira to return to Village with him, but their journey back is painful and treacherous as Forest fights against them at every turn. Leader heads into Forest to rescue them and becomes trapped and injured himself. He communicates telepathically with Kira, telling Matty now is the time to use his gift. Unsure how to fulfill his destiny, the weakened Matty reaches out and digs his fingers into the earth. At his touch, Forest begins to return to its former state. Matty's sick friend back home also starts to get well. Mentor returns to normal, both physically and emotionally. All of the energy required of Matty to fix the brokenness ends up killing him. He sees his death coming and gives himself as a willing sacrifice. As they prepare to take Matty's body back to Village, Leader tells Kira that Matty's true name is Healer.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

Adults have mystical gifts. Leader's unique vision reveals Forest is growing hostile and dangerous, and he is able to communicate telepathically with Kira. Matty digs his fingers into the earth. At his touch, Forest begins to return to its former state. Matty's sick friend back home also starts to get well. Mentor returns to normal, both physically and emotionally. All of the energy required of Matty to fix the brokenness ends up killing him.

Authority Roles

Seer lovingly adopts and raises Matty. Leader can feel the emotions of others and tries to use his gift to make wise decisions for the people of Village. Mentor and other formerly good-hearted adults lose perspective when they become consumed with trading.

Profanity/Violence

Matty and Jean say "out d--n spot" and "O he--kite!" when quoting Shakespeare.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Jean kisses Matty, wishing him well on his journey.

Discussion Topics

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

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

For additional parenting resources, download a free issue of Thriving Family, a marriage and parenting magazine published by Focus on the Family, at ThrivingFamily.com/magazine.

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.

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!