Wow. That is the only word I can use to describe my initial impression of J. Adams' (Jewel Adams) latest title The Journey. Never before have I read a more beautiful and poetic description of something so, well, disturbing.
I had just a few moments to read before boarding an airplane. I quickly glanced at the prologue, noting that is was a short two pages: just right for sneaking in before having to begin the rush and bustle of reality once more. That's when I noted the words on the page and my jaw drop in amazement. I could tell I was in for an exciting journey of my own.
Man, I hated tucking that book away to get on the plane and grabbed it up again at the first opportunity. The Journey can best be classified as YA romantic fantasy. Though not strictly an LDS novel, this poignant tale is a down-to-earth statement about truths we as Latter-day Saints hold dear. I had fun watching for the gospel messages so gently woven into a sweet story anyone can appreciate and learn from. It's all about choices and individual worth, presented in a thought provoking manner. The Journey lets those who have never been privileged to know about these concepts feel and believe the truth and power behind the message. For the teenager who wants a good story that doesn’t preach, they’ll enjoy The Journey and come away having learned something through their own thoughts and exploration of the story.
My only complaint with The Journey isn’t really a complaint, but rather an observation. Jewel's portrayal of the starter, or fuel, for all ill-chosen acts is very specific. Though she shows the process by which any one of us can make a choice that can be harmful very well, the main choice that needs to be made is whether or not to partake of the beverage “Splendorfire”. To quote the book: “On the indulgence of Splendorfire rest all other weakness that are sure to follow.” I understand the need to provide a clear and simple choice for the reader to understand and follow the characters through. She does this very well: The Journey shares the feelings and thoughts associated with both right and wrong choices and the paths that result from those choices. Ms. Adam is also right in pointing to this avenue as one that is frequently a door opener to bigger problems. Giving in to Splendorfire does lead to other miseries and complications in the character’s lives, but I hope that the young reader does not come away thinking that as long as they do not drink alcohol, they are safe from evil’s influence. I hope they also catch how serious Satan is about conquering us by any means possible. I would also imagine that in further volumes other snares and traps used to draw God’s children away will be explored more fully.
My favorite part of the story? As I’ve mentioned, from the first two pages I was hooked. The Journey is an engaging story that is beautifully told. It is full of little tidbits that make the reader ponder their own lives while cheering on the main character. My love for the book did not stop after I got on the plane. I read through the entire flight. I am not an easy-going flyer as my imagination tends to make me a little nervous. The Journey engaged my thoughts and imagination in a positive way, not many things can do that when I’m in a stressful situation. Reading it made what could have been an unpleasant experience, go much smoother. Aside from the value of its message, The Journey would earn a place of honor on my bookshelf for that alone.
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