Mary Ann McRaney
Xulon Press (2009)
Reviewed by McKenzie Tritt (age 16) for Reader Views (01/10)
Poor ten-year-old Cassie Bennett needs a friend. Her mother is an alcoholic, and her dad died a while ago in a work-related accident. Now Cassie has almost no one to turn to. Her mother works as a cocktail waitress, bringing home strange men each night who try to sneak into Cassie’s room. By now, Cassie has grown used to locking her door at night. The only person she has is old Mr. Smits, who tells her stories of guardian angels and God’s love for His people. That night, Cassie prays for a guardian angel to help her. The very next day a young girl named Gabby shows up in her classroom.
Gabby, an angel sent from heaven, is on her first assignment. She must help Cassie survive her current situation, as well as help her gain some much-needed self esteem. Gabby helps Cassie to make good decisions, and guides her closer to God. Gabby not only brightens Cassie’s life, but those of all the people around her. Her fellow classmates are excited for school, and her teacher is now exhilarated about her job, something she had lost interest in long ago. Gabby encourages Cassie to become a better person and to stay strong during tough times. When a pedophile moves into Cassie’s apartment complex, Gabby is there helping Cassie to make the truth known.
“Friends Forever” had a good message: always have hope, and know that there is always someone willing to help. It also teaches the reader to brighten another person’s day with a simple act of kindness. The overall idea of this book was good, but the execution was not great. It was obvious as to what the author was trying to get across, but it was too obvious at times. I found certain phrases to be continually repeated throughout the book, along with general ideas. Without a very specific plot, this book won’t be for everyone. The end, however, did tie together things, but it also left me slightly confused. It was all rather abrupt. I also found a few too many grammatical or spelling errors. The author had good intentions, but more editing could have been done. I do believe, however, that younger kids looking for Christian fiction will be able to enjoy “Friends Forever” by Mary Ann McRaney.
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