Pearls on a Broken String

Young Adult - Religious Theme
150 Pages
Reviewed on 10/02/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Valerie Cox currently teaches high school English in her hometown of Cleveland, Texas. In 2005-2006, she served on the Mercy Ship Anastasis which was docked for a short time in South Africa before heading Monrovia, Liberia, where the medical crew ministered to the people through life-changing surgeries. This book is a story of faith, family and friendship and is based on the author's experiences in Africa with the Mercy Ship.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susana Pena for Readers' Favorite

Pearls on a Broken String by Valerie Cox is a heartwarming novel that revolves around a high school senior named Ava Zinfield. She is a good student with a big heart, but she feels that something is missing from her life. Her best friend, Miranda, wants to hang out and have fun, while her new friend, Michael, wants her to attend the Christian Student Fellowship meetings. Religion has always been a taboo topic in her family, but Ava starts to question why this is so. During a family vacation to South Africa to visit her grandparents, Ava learns secrets from her family’s past, and this gives her some answers. Ava also meets a girl named Jessie who introduces her to the Mercy Ship, and this leads to a volunteer opportunity, where Ava finally believes in and accepts God’s love.

I enjoyed reading Pearls on a Broken String by Valerie Cox, because I could feel the inner religious struggle that Ava was experiencing throughout the novel. On one hand, Ava wanted to make her parents and best friend, Miranda, happy by following along with their religious beliefs. But on the other hand, Ava wanted to learn more about the Christian ways of her new friends, Michael and Jessie. Ava didn’t want to feel ashamed to believe in and love God. She wanted to liberate herself from these negative feelings and she conquered that after receiving several spiritual messages. The power of the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways and it provides unconditional love, happiness, and acceptance for those who seek it. This empowering book will help those people who are having the same type of struggle that Ava went through.

Lisa McCombs

Pearls on a Broken String by Valerie Cox begins as a typical coming of age story, but swiftly moves in a not-so-typical path. High school senior Ava dreams of a career as a noteworthy journalist, travelling the world and reporting on her various adventures. When she is disillusioned by her longtime secret crush, Ava begins to reevaluate her purpose in life, the meaning of life, and how life actually came to be. With the arrival of new student Michael, Ava realizes that to be successful in her future plans, she must be open to new ideas and ready to embrace the possibilities of alternate ways of thinking.

Growing up in Washington, D.C., the daughter of two successful professionals, Ava never once thought to question the absence of spiritual direction in her home. After a holiday vacation to South Africa and spending time with her Christian grandparents, Ava gains the courage to question the values of her atheist parents. She discovers that she is the biological result of a deep faith in God that is more popular than she could ever imagine.

Valerie Cox writes a beautiful story of newfound faith and its impact on the youth of today. The descriptions of South Africa are breathtaking and the actual existence of Mercy Ship is a wonderful opportunity for further research and book talk discussion. As Ava becomes more curious about God, she begins to discount evolution and become more intrigued by the possibilities of biblical stories to explain her own existence. I envision Pearls on a Broken String evolving into a YA version of the Yadaya Prayer Group series written by Neta Jackson.