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Saturday, March 29, 2008

My review of Sincerely, Mayla by Virginia Smith

About the book:

Just as life is beginning to come together for spunky, purple-haired Mayla Strong, she loses her job and her boyfriend. When she escapes to sunny Florida, her problems only tag along. In this heartwarming sequel to Just As I Am, Mayla learns how to balance friends, family, and faith while living in a messed-up world.

My review:

Sincerely, Mayla is probably Smith's best book yet. Mayla is a flawed, yet loveable character because she is genuine, especially when it comes to her relationship with God. Much of the time she is too distracted by life to pray, so she starts doing things on her own and then realizes she forgot to include God.

A self-declared control freak, Mayla gains insight into her family's dysfunction and learns that sometimes for their own good, people need to hear what they are doing to hurt others. Mayla’s life demonstrates that love wants to see relationships healed. Love wants to see people set free.

While written in the first person point of view, it's not at all obvious. I love when an author can do that. Smith's writing is flawless and smooth-flowing. Her character's inner voice was so realistically done, you’ll feel like you are in Mayla's head. And I totally loved how Mayla was passive aggressive and talked to herself while she read e-mails from Pastor Paul. What a scream!

I also was very touched by the subplot with Lindsey. The truths that came out through her story were so well done I wish every teen in trouble would read this book...just for the message alone. And you’ve gotta love Stuart. Smith illustrated through Mayla's relationship with him that being salt and light to the unsaved really does make them thirst. But the most important thing is to love them as Christ loves us. The message to Stuart about how Jesus perceived him when he asked Mayla the tough questions was so beautifully done that it made me tear up. I dare say I've not seen this type of scenario written in a more honest and loving way anywhere.

Yeah, Mayla was real, but Sincerely, Mayla shows that you don't have to be perfect to show people Jesus through your life. You just have to live sincerely and let Him abide in you so people will see Him in your eyes. What a beautiful illustration of an eternal truth.

Sincerely, Mayla was published by Kregel and released in March 2008.

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