Book Review: "Sincerely, Mayla" by Virginia Smith
Announcing the best book of 2008
Mayla Strong is back. Only now she's a Christian and that's what's become the focus of her life. But she's still having to deal with her everyday life and the unpredictable outcomes that come of it. When her job becomes eliminated due to nepotism, she finds herself traveling to Florida to stay with her grandmother and aunt. But before she leaves she's in the midst of trying to find a new job, taking care of a stray bunny without her roommate noticing, AND she has to confront her pastor about their relationship. Then while in Florida she has to deal with a pregnant teenager, her grandmother being overly possessive, her gay friend's aversion towards Christianity and the email aftermath of her confrontation with Pastor Paul! Throughout all this, Mayla manages to keep her calm and have her faith grow at the same time.
Is it possible to declare the best book of 2008 this early in the year? Because I think I've just finished reading it. I was eagerly awaiting the sequel to Just As I Am the moment I finished reading it last year. I had never read a Christian fiction book that spoke more to me, impacted me AND entertained me all at the same. This book has it all. From the moment I started reading I couldn't put it down. Mayla has got to be the best female lead character ever in Christian fiction. Finally there is someone who is a Christian, loves God to the fullest, yet acts 100% like a 20-something year old. Almost everything she's gone through, I could relate to, even down to having a piercing.
What I love most about Mayla is how realistic her character is. Just because she's become a Christian doesn't mean she's changed her personality. Yes she does strive to do things better and does her best to follow Christ's example. Yes, she does want others to know about her faith and that she wants people to know about God's love and Christ's sacrifice for mankind. BUT she doesn't change completely over night. I howled when Mayla got that email from Paul about being on the rebound. That has got to be one of the funniest lines I have ever read in a book. When you read it, you will understand.
I loved her love/hate relationship with the rabbit. I'm so glad she got mad at him for peeing on the floor. If it's one thing I hate in books, it's how Christians will be happy over everything even when things go extremely wrong. Topics like aborting and homosexuality are tackled in the book and the way they are handled are done very well. This is a book that I would pass out to everyone to read, Christians and non-Christians alike. While the faith message is strong and very present throughout the story, it's also and enjoyable read with a heroine that everyone will love. I really want there to be another book in this series. I can't let these characters go! VERY HIGHLY recommended!!!!
Sincerely Mayla by Virginia Smith is published by Kregel (2008)