“I’m glad I’m not failing school!”
Of course she wasn’t but my daughter’s announcement the day before her Science finals gave me pause. Why would she make that statement? In response to my inquiry she explained that she needed a break from studying and was reading “In Time of Trouble” by author N.J. Lindquist. It was a novel meant to be read on the airplane during our recent trip, and not during the two weeks of unit tests, tutorials and Grade 10 finals we’d returned to.
But never mind. Like most parents of teenagers, I breathed relief at the reinforcement “to not fail school” and silently thanked N.J. Lindquist for the indirect parenting. Soon I was learning about the main character, Shane, who was failing classes, had a troubled relationship with his dad, and who was headed for more trouble than he could see on the horizon.
My daughter thought it was ‘cool’ how Lindquist unfolded Shane’s character. In fact, all the characters were true to life and she was able to see similarities in kids in today’s schools. Shane goes from contemplating dropping out of school and running away with another kid (Ted) who was also failing school, to finding Jesus and improving his situation. Ernie, Shane’s friend, invites him to church where Ernie’s sister’s fiancé begins to mentor Shane who begins an upward climb. His grades improve and the teachers begin to respect him. The introduction to positive influences at church produced a different mindset that caused him to take school seriously.
There is also strong sibling rivalry with (Shane’s) twin, Sandy, who does not go to church yet gets straight A’s. Shane has been overshadowed by Sandy as far as he could remember and this fed a troubled relationship. Added to this, the old crowd of friends whom Shane was no longer hanging out with, wants the old Shane back! They gang up on him- beat him and frame him for robbery and other crimes he did not commit. Shane is arrested and jailed. It is a time of serious trouble indeed, but his new faith and support system helps Shane proves his innocence. He gets out of trouble and finally earns the respect of the his “old friends”, begins to get along with his twin and eventually with his dad.
This book is easy to read by pre-teens, teens and adults. Almost every kid faces conflict and peer pressure, and the practical strategies like finding new life by going to church and having role models in one’s life to mentor and believe in the kid, are key foundations in this book. It is helpful to any age group and makes a great gift too.
(Note: I am posting this review on behalf of my teenager and how she described the book. She rated it as I have not read it yet.)