Last year, for the adult summer reading program at the library, I read 3 books. Not a bad showing since I probably only read 5 or 6 books for the whole year. Then, in December, I quit working. Then, in February or March, I got a Kindle. And this year, for the summer reading program, I read 9 books. And technically, I’ve already read a 10th that I haven’t logged. So yeah. Triple the reading this year. And I’ve been devouring books like this almost since I got my Kindle. Which means I’m way behind on writing reviews. If I manage to get the required ones caught up (i.e. the ones I got free books for), then I’ll write some reviews for the books that I just got when they were free on Amazon. If not, I may just have to write the required reviews and keep my other reading to myself. Otherwise, I might be tempted to turn this whole blog into a book review blog and really, I like talking about other stuff too. So, with no further ado, my review of Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan.
“You probably want to hear about Jennifer and the demons and how I played chicken with a freight train and—oh yeah—the weird murder . . . you’re definitely going to want to hear about that.”
Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it’s only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.
But one day, Sam sees them harassing an eccentric schoolmate of his named Jennifer. When Sam finds the courage to face the bullies down, he loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.
Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons and the devil and death. And here’s the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies—prophecies of something terrible that’s going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.
With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time. Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.
This book was amazing. I’ve been thinking about it since I finished it and really, it’s just so deep. On the surface, you have a typical race against time story. “If I don’t _____ by __ am, people are going to die.” But also, on the surface, it’s a story of a preacher’s kid coming to terms with who he is. But also, on the surface, it’s a story of a schizophrenic girl and the nightmare she lives in. And that fact that there are three stories on the surface tells you that there’s a lot more to this novel already. There’s also a very deep lesson about how God uses even our bad decisions for His Glory. There’s also a lesson about how we shouldn’t fear anything, as long as we’re doing the right thing. Even if other people don’t know that it’s right.
Sam could have gone to jail about four times in this book. And technically, they had cause for that. But in the end, he was always doing the right thing. There’s a mysterious little statue that he finds near the beginning of the book and after he translates the Latin phrase on it, that becomes his mantra throughout the book.
Do Right. Fear Nothing.
It was definitely something that hit me. I looked at my life and had to take stock. Was there right that I wasn’t doing because I was afraid? How would my life be different if I took each decision and went back to that mantra? As I said, this book got me thinking. And while I figured out a few things way before Sam did, he’s a high school who doesn’t know he’s a character in a book. So I cut him some slack. I’m sure if I was in his shoes, I wouldn’t automatically jump to the same conclusions. There is a certain predictability in a book that doesn’t apply to life. But maybe that’s just me.
Either way, adult or teen, this book is a must-read. It was so powerful on so many levels. And my husband also gave me dirty looks when I was reading in bed and kept laughing at Sam’s narration. He’s a funny kid.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers through their BookSneeze program in exchange for my review. The enjoyment was all mine. Any links are affiliate links.
PS. Blogging For Books has a review ranking system. I forgot to include the info when I first posted my review of Not This Time. If you’d be willing to rank my review for me, please just hop back to last week’s review and the ranking box is now included.