Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn shares a compelling story about two young adults (ages 18 and 19) as they try to wade their way through life as they rely on their faith. This book is probably one of the best books I have read that discuss the Christian faith. And I'm about to share why.
"Raised by conservative parents, eighteen-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. Instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what's left of the family she never knew existed.
While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor's kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship with the church. The clock is ticking on Pastor Allen's probation hearing and Micah, now nineteen, feels the pressure to forgive--even when he can't possibly forget.
As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together they must navigate the sometimes painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build something truer and straight from the heart."
As a pastor's kid, I grew up in the church. I've been to the youth group activities, volunteered for events, even worked for the church's childcare once a week. So, when I saw this book, I definitely needed it. However, many Christian books and movies are very cliche and fall short. They share the same story of the character finding God, where they face hypocritical Christians. But, to my surprise (and delight), this one was different.
Church hurt. It's an actual thing. The church is made up of people. People who definitely are not perfect. Churches are broken and there is no such thing as a perfect church. But that still doesn't make it right. I could share multiple stories about church hurt here. It's not fun and it really challenges your faith.
Never Saw You Coming introduces church hurt. Meg has a seemingly hypocritical mother who tells her she can't date in high school, she has to volunteer in youth group, and Halloween is a thing from the devil. She was even home-schooled. But when Meg finds out her mom had a one-night stand with a guy she barely knew, her life is turned upside down. She starts to question everything her mom ever taught her.
Micah's father wasn't perfect, either. In fact, he wasn't only unfaithful to his family, but he was greedy, as well, which landed him in jail and Micah's family judged by the church. He stopped going to church because of this incident, because of the people who were so quick to toss him and his family out just because of his father's sinfulness.
And then they meet. And they compare stories. And little by little, they allow this new friendship, this new love, to begin to heal them.
Because God doesn't make mistakes. He knew exactly what He was doing.
This book also tackles the topic of abstinence. Our bodies are temples, but some churches have a way of teaching us that sex is completely bad and should never be thought about. While I still believe sex before marriage isn't part of God's initial plan, I very much enjoyed and appreciated the way this book explains this topic.
Hahn has a way of calling out the double standards within the church. She explains abstinence in the perfect way. Because, ultimately, a relationship with God isn't about following the rules. That's not what will get you into heaven. A relationship with God means living out a life in accordance to Him and shining a light towards Him. We were given free will. God gave us this free will because He ultimately wanted us to choose Him just as He chose us. And this book explains that perfectly.
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian. Neither does going to Bible study or volunteering every chance you get. What makes you a Christian is how you choose to live your life. Living your life according to the Gospel and shining a light towards God is what makes you a Christian.
My Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I would definitely give this book five stars. It didn't only have a great story and message, but it was an easy read, as well. I read it in a day. The characters were also relatable and approachable. I understood them perfectly and felt their pain.
I would recommend this book to anyone, Christian or not. It still has good morals and amazing character development.
What are some of your favorite books? Leave them in the comments below. Let's start a conversation!
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Have a lovely day, friends!