Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

Yes, she is the daughter of #1 New York Times Bestselling author Ted. Yes, her name was the basis for a character in The Circle Trilogy. Yes, she has decided to bank on her family name to get added traction in the publishing realm.

Can we move on from that?

Rachelle Dekker has created an excellent debut in what I assume will be a series of thought-provoking novels.

In The Choosing we meet Carrington, a young lady who awaits her fate in a world consumed with religiousity. Will she be chosen by a young man to be married or will she fade into obscurity?

There are so many big themes running through this book. The one to get most of the traction is, "what/who creates your identity"? Are you who you are because of your status, power, family name? Are you "somebody" because someone chooses to love you?

Dekker creates thick characters - there is much to digest even in this first book, and I'm sure the development will simply grow deeper as the series continues. Following Carrington through seeming failure on to rejection followed up with second chances feels authentic.

The supporting characters didn't feel cartoony or cliched in any way.

And we can't forget the mysterious Aaron character...

Much of this book reminded me of Ted Dekker's storytelling: there's the idea that this is the Seers series and it has to do with ones identity. (Ted Dekker's recent Outlaw Chronicles dealt rather exclusively with that topic) You also had the religion-gone-bad theme that can often be found in a senior Dekker book. Plus the inclusion of a "Jesus" character.

Having said all that - this did not take away from Rachelle's "voice" telling the story she wanted to tell. In fact, I highly recommend this book. It is filled with emotion and connection that has been quite lacking in other young-adult-post-apocalyptic books.

In the first few chapters there are hints at the past; a few moments of explaining how the country came to be in this religious-heavy situation.  I hope to get further glimpses as the story continues.

Pick this book up and enjoy the incredible ride!

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Tyndale House Publishing.

Below is a Q&A with the author.

How did you come up with the story for The Choosing?
This is a hard question because it has many answers. I wanted to write a theme-based novel about identity. I wanted to write a dystopian novel. I
wanted to write in a world that was familiar, but in a setting where I could change the way the world worked.
It actually is several ideas I’d been toying with pulled into one story. Once I landed on Carrington’s core revelation and story arc, I simply fell in love with her as a character and drew the rest of the
story around her. That’s usually how it works for me. I come up with a
character, good or bad, and create the story from there. 

Throughout the book, Carrington struggles with understanding her identity and
worth and what is true. Why did you decide to write about the theme of identity?
Someone once asked me, If you could leave one message for your younger sisters,what would it be? The answer was always the same:
I would pray they knew what they were worth. Identity is everything. There isn’t a theme that doesn’t start with identity, or circle back to identity. Knowing who you truly are is the greatest journey we face. Am I enough; am I worth it?
I believe everyone faces these questions, and I sought out to explore them
through this story.

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