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Reviewed by Jacqueline Ruiz for Readers' Favorite
In Hope by Joyce Mitchell, we meet Cassie and Cody Ritchie, sister and brother. We realize early on that they are a highly religious family. A typical Sunday for them always begins with church service. One Sunday, the two teens decide to go to church together, without their parents. Cassie, the oldest, is the driver. Cody, 15, only has his Learner’s Permit. The two fight, like most brothers do – like my older brothers and I did. But Cassie soon realizes there’s something bugging her little brother. He’s got a worried look. After much prying, Cody spills the beans and we learn that he doesn’t feel “saved.” The first thing Cassie tells him to do is pray. The next thing she tells him to do is tell their pastor as soon as they get to church. Except something gets in the way… a car crash. And not just any car crash – a severe pile-up on the highway. The teens jump into action. They help as many people as they can, and are known as heroes. Cody’s feelings of not being saved are diminished. But later on we learn what this story is really about: Cassie and her inner hidden fears of not being saved.
Mitchell’s short, religious story with a point does a very good job of pulling the reader in early on. She has a knack for describing every little detail (which I love!) and making the reader feel as if we are right there with the characters. Finally, just when you think you know what the story is about, she throws you a curved ball and you realize it’s about something completely different!