Voice of Youth Advocates (more commonly known as VOYA) is a trade journal for YA librarians. It has its own book rating system designed to help librarians choose the best books for their needs (see graphic below to see what 4Q and 5P mean). A "highlighted review"--one that gets a 5Q and/or a 5P--is their equivalent of a starred review.
4Q 5P J S
Smith-Ready, Jeri. This Side of Salvation. Simon Pulse, 2014. 384p. $17.99. 978-1-4424-3948-1.
The morning of the Rush, David and Mara find their parents clothes laid out in bed, as though they had just disappeared from inside them. They were supposed to be home with their parents for this most recent prediction of the rapture, but instead went to a prom after party. They determine three possible reasons for their parents’ disappearance: the Rush actually happened; their parents were kidnapped; or they committed suicide. What happens next is a compelling story as David and Mara deal with the loss of their parents, begin to investigate their disappearance, and set off to find the cult that took them.
This Side of Salvation is told in a combination of current events and flashbacks to the days, months, and years leading up to the Rush. Readers learn what happened to David and Mara’s parents to make them embrace this extremist religion. Starting with the death of their older brother, grief sent the family spiraling downward until their father was speaking only in bible verses; and they were asked to give up all of their friends and plans for the future in preparation for the Rush. This is a frighteningly realistic story that delicately handles the issues of religion and family—an emotional mystery sure to be popular and perfect for discussion.—Kristi Sadowski.
Laugh, cry, snort, scream into your pillow — this book will inspire all of your emotions as it explores faith, a lack thereof, mourning, depression and first love. Known for her YA paranormal and urban fantasy titles, Smith-Ready’s mainstream YA debut gives readers a story they’ll remember for a long time. The characters can be maddening, but their actions are so real you’ll soon relish every frustrating moment. Via alternating chapters, Smith-Ready presents two easy-to-navigate storylines that meet with a comforting conclusion.EDITED TO ADD: And they featured the TSOS cover in their Table of Contents!
SUMMARY: It’s the night of the Rush — the Rapture, as people used to call it — and David and his sister Mara are late. They were at an after-prom party on the most important night of their parents’ lives: when they are to be saved from the God-induced apocalypse, predicted by infamous preacher Sophia Visser, and relieved of the agony caused by their eldest son John’s death. Nothing feels different, but David’s parents seem to have vanished into thin air. Did the Rush actually happen? David and Mara dig around for clues and discover a lot more than a path back to their parents. (SIMON PULSE, Apr., 384 pp., $17.99, ISBN: 9781442439481, HC, 14 & Up) --Tricia Carr