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Monday, 10 January 2011

A Change of Heart by Lynn Stanley

Debbie Nichols has everything a 14-year-old girl could want. She has good looks. Lots of friends. Nice clothes. And she's president of The Club, an elite social group that every girl in school in dying to join.

But Debbie also has a mean streak - and she's focusing it on Cheryl, a well-liked girl who wants to be a member of The Club.

Debbie will stop at nothing to keep Cheryl from getting in. Even if it means forcing Cheryl to compromise her beliefs and reject Rhonda, a fragile girl with a dark secret from her past.

But this time Debbie has gone too far. This time, hasty apologies and insincere promises can't undo the damage. This time, only
A Change of Heart can prevent a devastating tragedy.

I was surprisd at how well it was written. I sorta expected a cheesy, high school story about girls fighting, but it went deeper than that. The book starts off with this verse below.

Do no forget to entertain strangers,
for by so doing
some people have entertained angels
without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2

When I read that verse, I KNEW this story was gonna be good. And it was.

Debbie is a rich, spoiled, popular girl who hates her looks even though everyone else thinks she's beautiful. But even through all her hate, she's still tries to fugure what Cheyl meant when she said Debbie had a "rotten heart". To make it even more interesting, Debbie's mom is a social worker and every Sunday she brings someone to dinner - usually from the homeless shelter.

Cheryl is Japanese and just wants to fit in after feeling left out for so long. She's nice to everyone and a Christian. Her dad pops onto the page every once and a while to prick her conscience - he doesn't think his daughter should join a club that excludes people.

Rhonda is a depressed girl who has kept a terrible secret since she was nine. Since that age, she became withdrawn and quiet - her parents don't know what to do.

With those three characters, you know you're gonna have a great book. Stanley kept things running smooth, never getting so dramatic that it was unbeleiveable. I had never flipped pages so fast as I did when I got closer and closer to finding out what Rhonda's secret was. It bugs me when characters are super-Christians, but Cheryl was a perfect blend of a Christian and someone trying to fit in.

Lynn Stanley was a freelance writer who lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband, Fred, and their two children.

(Note: It was hard finding information about Stanley, but I stumbled across an article about her death in 2006. You can read that here.)

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