Book Review

Surprise Endings by Robin Jones Gunn has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the fourth book in the "Christy Miller" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christy Miller wants to become a cheerleader at Kelley High
School — not only for the social status, but also because Rick Doyle encourages her to try out. However, one of the varsity cheerleaders, Renee, constantly harasses Christy because Christy is younger than the rest of the girls. Despite Renee, Christy continues to practice. Another girl, Teri, stands up to Renee and helps Christy with her routines.

Christy would like to go to prom with her friend Todd Spencer. Rick thinks Christy wants to go to prom with him. After Todd tells Christy that he is taking another girl, Christy starts to believe that he never cared about her and buries his gift of the Forever bracelet in the back of her closet. Christy makes plans to go to prom with Rick, her friend Katie and Katie's date, Lance, before she asks her parents if she can go. When she finally asks, her parents say no. Christy is horrified. When she tells Rick the bad news, he stops talking to her. Later, Katie tells Christy that she didn't miss much at prom and describes her disastrous night with Lance.

After the prom, Christy refocuses on cheerleading. On the day of tryouts, eight girls compete for seven positions. Christy performs the best routine she has ever done and is optimistic about her chances of making the squad. However, her friend Teri injures her ankle during her routine and cannot complete the tryout, making the other seven girls the chosen seven. After making the cheerleading squad, Christy notices many of her peers watching her at school, and students who have never spoken to her begin talking to her. Rick also begins talking to her again and tells her that she is becoming more like "his kind" of girl. Christy realizes that Rick is trying to change her into the kind of girl he wants to date, so she tells him that she's not sure if he is "her kind" of guy.

Christy feels unsettled because she made the cheerleading squad and Teri did not. Later, she gives up her spot on the squad so Teri can have it because she knows that is what God wants. Todd comes to the assembly where the announcement of the new cheerleaders is being made. He shows Christy his prom picture. Christy realizes she should not have been jealous. Todd and the girl he took to prom are just friends, and Christy is the one who is really special to him.

Christian Beliefs

Christy's friend Alissa calls to tell her what a godly influence Christy had on her during the summer. Alissa also tells Christy that she [Alissa] is working on surrendering her life to God. As a result, Christy feels guilty for not giving her whole life to God that week. Later, Christy reconnects with God and begins to openly talk with Him again.

Christy finds out that another girl at cheerleading practice, Teri, is also a Christian. When Renee asks Teri why she is helping Christy get ready for tryouts, Teri says that because she loves God, she must love her neighbor as herself. Christy realizes later that her desire to be a cheerleader was not for God's glory — it was for her own. As a result, she follows God's leading and gives up her spot on the cheerleading squad to someone who deserves it more.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Katie's mother tells her she needs to be home by midnight on prom night. Christy's parents don't allow her to go to the prom because of the suggestive dancing and music. Her dad says that, as her parents, they make rules to protect her, and she needs to trust them. Later, Christy overhears her mom telling her aunt how proud they are of Christy. After she asks if her parents would still be proud of her if she weren't a cheerleader, her mom says that they want her to become the person God wants her to be. As Christy continues to confide in her mom, she begins to see her not only as mother, but also a friend.




Todd hugs Christy and kisses her on the cheek when he leaves her house after a visit. Christy wishes that she had never let Rick kiss her the previous Christmas, but she does not feel the same way about Todd. Katie tells Christy that some couples are renting hotel rooms after the prom.

Discussion Topics

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Additional Comments/Notes

Discrimination: Teri tells Renee that if she is going to harass Christy for being a sophomore, then she might as well harass Teri for being Mexican, because it is the same thing.

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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.



Readability Age Range

12 and up


Robin Jones Gunn






Record Label



Bethany House Publishers, a division of the Baker Publishing Group


On Video

Year Published





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