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Born Again    by Kelly Kerney order for
Born Again
by Kelly Kerney
Order:  USA  Can
Harvest, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

In Slow Rapids, Indiana, fourteen-year-old Melanie battles sin daily. At school she is known as a Jesus Freak. Armed with the Bible, Melanie is the girl who tries to begin a Youth for Christ group, calls for Prayer Around the Flag Pole, and posts flyers condemning teen sex. Any questions Melanie might have are answered in the Bible and the church booklet, Surviving a Secular Classroom.

Melanie's own life is not without sin. Although she is a Warrior for Jesus, she is also a good student. When she is invited to attend an academic summer camp, she can't say no, even though the pre-camp reading list includes several books on her church's Forbidden Books List, the most notorious being Darwin's Origin of Species. Melanie forges her mother's signature that allows her to attend - and begins reading.

She makes a deal with God. She promises that if He forgives her for lying to her parents and reading banned books, she'll bring her friend Beth to salvation. She truly wants Beth to be saved and go to Heaven, but she hasn't pressed her so far because if she tries and fails she might lose her friendship.

Throughout the book, Melanie reads Darwin in private, keeping a journal to disprove him. She's sure that with her knowledge of the Bible, she'll be able to 'slay him with scripture.' Told by the church that asking questions undermines her relationship with God, Melanie is alone with any doubts she might have about God or Darwin.

Getting through puberty is a challenge. Melanie has the added trial of dealing with a mother who see demons, and a church where popular music is the devil's tool and dancing is a sin, although jumping up and down, swaying, and speaking in tongues while praising the Lord is not.

Melanie is a character you'll love - naive but precocious, determined but needy, and courageous in her ever-changing beliefs. There are no easy answers for Melanie or the reader. Born Again is a thought provoking book that you'll remember long after turning the last page.

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