Mayla has just become a new Christian. Everyone in her church is surprised because her dyed hair and piercings don't make her look like a normal Christian. However Mayla is eager to know more about God's word and to grow in her newfound faith. She has to battle grumpy church members who prejudge her because of her appearance and old friends who prejudge her because of her new faith. She is also becomes friends with a guy with AIDS and helps him to live out his last days with hopes of reconciling with his estranged family. Then there's finding her niche in church and her growing relationship with Pastor Paul. If you ever wanted to know what it's like to be a new Christian in today's world, read this book!
I really enjoyed reading this book. Mayla was such a refreshing, realistic character. I could really relate to her. She's my age, going through the same problems that I am. I loved the fact that she had piercings and dyed hair. Just by that alone I could relate to her because I used to have piercings in not typical places. This book showed how you really shouldn't judge people just by their appearances. Mayla had to face a lot of prejudice by the older Christians just because of how she looked. To me, if I had become a new Christian and keep facing this type of attitude, I would become very discouraged and eventually lose my faith. Mayla on the other hand, turns the other cheek and does not allow this to hinder her new thirst for more knowledge of Christ's love.
The same can also be said of the non Christian who assumes about what Mayla will become now that she's become a Christian. Mayla's roommate judges her totally unfairly because of a bad experience. The treatment she receives from both sides is enough to make anyone go crazy but she handles it with such maturity and grace. The storyline involving Alex and his battle with AIDS was extremely well done. Virginia Smith is an excellent writer and this book really showcases her work. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book to find out what happens between Maya and Pastor Paul!Just As I Am by Virginia Smith is published by Kregel (2006)