*I received these titles for free, in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Who loves books? If you're an avid reader much like myself, one who strives to uphold the Godly precedent set in Philippians 4:8, you know that finding books that echo God's words spoken through Paul can be a challenge.
However, recently I had the privilege of reading two fun YA adventures by a fabulous author known as M. Liz Boyle.
She graciously let me read her work to review it for you all, and I couldn't be more thrilled! She also entrusted me with the task of creating an interview for her, which you can check out here!
Without further ado, allow me to introduce to you Avalanche and Chased!
Avalanche was such a fascinating and fun adventure!
This YA story follows Marlee, a fifteen year old girl and her two sisters, Lydia and Ellie, as they partake on a splurge-of-the-moment trip with their two friends, Sawyer and Marshall, to see a beautiful full moon at the top of a mountain peak. Boyle launches her readers into a whirlwind of snow and trying times that require her characters to have faith like they have never had before and trust in each other through thick and thin. Though this book revolves around an avalanche, Boyle helps to encourage her readers to take courage and trust God in circumstances that tumble out of their control and attempt to bury them in fear and anger.
There is such a lack of clean fiction novels out on the shelves these days, especially for Christian teens who want to uphold their standards, and Boyle has created such a sweet and wholesome tale that fills part of the void. I loved how the book focused more on friendship, as well as the relationships siblings have with one another rather than romance (though there was a bit of that, too!). Readers get to see not just the dynamic between three sisters, but also the exchange between two brothers as well, and how the group of five all interact together through a situation that led them to choose between fighting with one another or building each other up.
Marlee was a levelheaded and observant protagonist. She was very much a peacemaker, and strived to have everyone get along and understand each other better. She was a very relatable character and I think teenage girls will like trekking along the Colorado trails with her for a short time. She, like mentioned in the story, was both a “follower and a leader,” being a middle child. Marlee’s sisters, Lydia, the little wise sage at age eleven, and Ellie, the mini adult at seventeen, were great characters, too. Sawyer and Marshall, the brother duo at seventeen and fifteen, were also great as well. After Marlee, Marshall was my favorite! His quiet resolve and love for Mexican food made me smile.
I liked how rather than the main character experiencing a romance herself, she watched one play out from afar. It was a unique choice by the author and once again, I really liked it. And all of the detail and information surrounding camping, hiking, first aid, etc., was amazing! I feel like I’d be able to survive an avalanche after learning so much, haha!
My absolute favorite part of the book was all the conversations surrounding chivalry and how to respect and honor men as women (and vice versa). Boyle totally hit a nail on a topic I haven’t seen discussed too often. In fact, I think the strongest aspects of this novel revolved around the faith elements. It was refreshing.
Chased was a good companion novel!
I liked Avalanche, but I think I liked this one ever better. Boyle’s writing style has grown immensely, and I felt it was smoother; the humor made me laugh out loud at a few points as opposed to simply just smiling. It was fun, being back with the same crew from the first book!
Though Marlee and her sisters, Lydia and Ellie, along with their friends, Sawyer and Marshall, aren’t escaping the danger of a avalanche and attempting to survive the cold Colorado mountains by themselves, they’re put through some more trying times that test their trust in God and one another.
Though the themes in Chased were very similar to the themes in the first book, Avalanche, they were deeper in a way. Boyle took more time to discuss the inner turmoil of the main character, Marlee, as well as the rest of the characters. This sequel seemed more like a coming of age story, as the weight of everyone growing up and moving onto new things was prevalent in the pages.
I love how Boyle talks about relationships—all relationships (not just the romantic ones)—as all her advice is practical. The conversations that Sawyer and Marlee had, as well as the discussions Marshall had with her, too, were really well done. I find it once again refreshing that faith in God and trusting in your friends and family during not just good days and circumstances, but bad days and circumstances as well, was so prominent.
As I said in my review for book one, I not only love how clean Boyle’s writing style is, but how detailed it is, too. All of the wilderness information was really intriguing, and I feel prepared to take an adventure with my friends into the great unknown one day (without branching off from our itinerary, of course)!
And there you have it! What do you think? Does this series sound like something you'd be interested in?
If you’re looking for some books that are enjoyable and can sweep you away for a while, M. Liz Boyle’s Avalanche and Chased are good to pick up!