Review: BAD CONNECTION by Melody Carlson

TITLE: Bad Connection
AUTHOR: Melody Carlson
GENRE: Young Adult, Christian, Mystery, Paranormal
PUBLISHED: August 15, 2006 - Multnomah
MY SOURCE: Local Library


(Courtesy of Goodreads-No Spoilers!)
She seems like your average teen, but Samantha is unusually gifted. God gives her visions and dreams that offer unconventional glimpses into other people’s lives and problems. It’s a powerful gift with a lot of responsibility…

Kayla Henderson lives on the edge. She likes to break the rules, considers partying an extracurricular activity, and can’t stand her parents. So, most people aren’t surprised when she goes missing. Like everyone else, Samantha McGregor assumes Kayla has run away. But then she has a vision where Kayla is tied up with duct tape over her mouth. Freaked by the image, Samantha wonders, Is Kayla alive or dead? Was the vision real or just a silly dream? Most important, can Kayla be found before it’s too late? 


{I just have to say why I read this book first. I’ve been researching the market around the topic/main idea of my book (supernatural gifts.) I was apprehensive to give Christian books a try and the following review will show you why I was right to be wary.}

The narrative voice of Samantha McGregor was hard to relate with because she was so preachy. Everything she did, thought and said was like the author was trying to preach to the world through this girl. It seemed to say that her beliefs are supreme and condemns anyone else that doesn’t think so too. The tone was pretentiously dogmatic. But what does that accomplish? A very preachy character that is so utterly religious and pious that it made me hate her. Throughout the story I had to put the book down because she was preaching about “kissing dating goodbye,” about praying, and about believing even the basic things about God. (Even the way she mentioned this person or that person was a Christian. It’s like the narrator won’t like you unless you’re a professing Christian before you read the book.) Is everyone else in the world a leper?

It’s my understanding that the majority of our nation either believes in God or has at least learned something about Him. So my concern is that this book was only written to make people (who already believe in God) feel the condemnation about not revolving their lives around religious acts and dutiful belief systems. By the way, this is what I was worried about finding if I started reading Christian fiction. Is all Christian fiction like this?

Let me back up a minute and explain something. I am a believer. I have an understanding that God doesn’t have me on a leash. He’s not concerned with how many times I kneel and say “Dear God” and end it with “amen.” He’s not worried about church, he’s not sad if I can’t get a moment free to read the bible that I’ve read a billion times. I let myself off the religious hook a long time ago. So please forgive me if I’m annoyed that people are still living there in the condemnation of religiosity and trying to tell our teens to live this way. (Many teens see right through that.) To further clarity, I’m not referring the devotion to God or his ways/will. I’m talking about the devotion to religious rules set by man, the belief systems set up by churches and their denominations. (Anyway, yes, I totally preached just now… sorry.)

About the book… It was a totally predictable story… I dislike when people say “It was the Christian version of _______,” because that means that Christian people can’t come up with original stuff. But sadly this was the Christian version of the television show “Medium.” Yep, there it is folks I’ve said it. Someone just wanted to write “Medium” from a Christian point of view with God being the giver of the visions. (He is totally cool with the vision thing and more!) But it could have been a better story, could have been a better narrative voice and could have stopped nagging me about God. (We love Him, He’s a knowing, all seeing, and totally cool. Duh.)


So the results are in and I’m sorry to those who this review offends. (You are forgiven for that.) I give it a sad little 1: Poor: A complete waste of time. And if they come out with a bad Christian movie based on this book, I will not be watching it. (Lucas & Pam might! –Good luck guys!) And my kids will not be reading this book. So I guess I’ll keep searching.