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Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite
Tanner Rose, party girl, silver screen veteran at the age of fourteen. Too young for life or too old to be a teenager? When Tanner spirals out of control in the Hollywood scene, her mother ships her off to the country for a much-needed detox before starting her next film. Unfortunately, Tanner is not prepared for the culture shock of clean living and her mother’s college friend Ruth is shocked at the promiscuous behavior her ward is accustomed to. Not only is Ruth concerned about the state of young Tanner’s morals, but she feels the need to keep an extra cautious eye on her own teenage son Gabriel. Though mature for his sixteen years, he is still an impressionable boy, innocent to the actions of most kids his age. While Gabriel plays the reluctant host, Tanner pushes the boundaries of clean living as she attempts to seduce Gabriel with her city habits. But Tanner ends up being the one seduced when she realizes that Gabriel’s God is there for her as well.
A refreshing novel, Freeing Tanner Rose: Faith and Kung Fu, Volume 1 by T.M. Gaouette gently introduces a world of faith and purity rare in young adult fiction. While at times it is difficult to believe the wholesome attitude of Gabriel, author T.M. Gaouette allows the character’s façade to slip in a real moment of weakness. The dialogue is realistic and comfortably predictable in this universal theme of rags to riches. Even though the presence of adults exists, the characters are not overwhelming, making this story non-threatening to the sensitivities of the defensive teen reader.