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Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite
Sixteen-year-old Stevie Albie was happy before she started seeing Mary, the mother of Jesus, in her visions as it comes with a price: a brain tumor. Consequently, a disagreement ensues between her mother and her. Stevie's mother wants the tumor out, but Stevie considers that she might lose her visions and the warmth and light that accompany them. When a religious group called the Church of the Eye welcomes her to their gathering and calls her a prophet, she is further discouraged from removing the tumor. However, keeping the tumor would mean winning court cases against her mother and risking death. Will Stevie choose the safer option? Find out in Kristin Durfee's Mass.
Kristin Durfee does a perfect and brilliant job of making a weird and different concept feel normal. Before reading Mass, I never imagined anything like spiritual visions appearing with a brain tumor, but it made a lot of sense when I read about it, especially because the characters are completely natural and lifelike. Stevie's thoughts are revealed clearly through a first-person viewpoint as she goes through her challenges. Her perceptive, humorous, and lively voice is one many young adults and even older readers will relate to. In fact, the strong disagreement she has with her parents reminded me of a similar experience I had growing up. The great appeal of the story is maintained throughout as it meanders calmly through different themes: legal fights, family discord, religion, supernaturalism, empathy, cancer and suffering, divorce and single parenting, relationship issues, and religion. Mass is a complete and well-written story that would win fans of other genres over. Definitely one of the best young adult books I've read!