If Only You Knew

I really liked this one!

Jo is a high school grad lacking in faith, direction and a job. Deciding to spend the summer with her cousin who lives in a Muskoka tourist town, Jo begins her sojourn with a splash and meets two very dateable guys. And that’s just her first day. Whom will she choose: Sam—the quirky, on the rebound, could-spend-all-night-laughing-with guy, or Kevin—the God boy, strong and silent but knock-your-socks-off-could-be-a-model guy?

Throw in an attempted murder, a little stalking and an encounter or two with God, and Jo’s summer gets really interesting, really fast! The characters were fresh and entertaining. The story is light and fun, and the characters explore faith with realism and at times gut-twisting anguish. Charm, wit and engaging dialogue kept me turning the pages.

The problems and situations faced by the characters are true-to-life, and are retold through a teenaged narrator, so don’t expect a lot of indepth mature retrospection or even intense romance.

What I really loved about this book, was that it broke a few ‘rules’. The part of the novel that I could relate to most – and probably most women can, is Jo’s struggle to find out who she really is, what she really wants from life, and what she’s willing to do (or give up) to achieve that. And after a few stumbles and restarts, Jo realizes that maybe you don’t have to have everything figured out. What great advice!

Written for a teen audience, I enjoyed this novel and think most adult readers will too.

Since this review was written, If Only You Knew won the Best Young Adult Fiction award, the Best New Romance award, and the inaugural Grace Irwin Award at the 2010 Word Guild Canadian Christian Writing Awards Gala.

If Only You Knew by Mags Storey

Published by Kregel Publications
This review first appeared in Maranatha News in October 2009

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