I am so excited to be on the blog tour for this book and spread the word about DEVOTED! In truth, this isn’t something I would have normally picked up for myself but I really liked Jennifer’s first book (THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE) and the wonderful Mary Van Akin was such a fan that she pushed this book into my hands and I accepted gratefully!
On today’s blog tour stop, I’m sharing my review and all of my thoughts on DEVOTED! I’m so thankful I got to read this book so I hope you’ll take the time to read my review and see if it’s something you’d like to read! I don’t normally put so much faith in a review to encourage readers to pick up a book but I really hope this review motivates you to look into DEVOTED!Title: Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu
Publishing Info: June 2, 2015 by Macmillan
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 1, 2015
Related Posts: The Truth About Alice
Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.
DEVOTED is Jennifer Mathieu’s second novel and because of my enthusiasm for THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, I was already a little bit interested when I had first heard of the concept from Jennifer on a Fierce Reads tour. I have to admit that my interest was there, but I wasn’t wholly convinced to pick it up but I’m so, so glad I did and I’m especially thankful that the publicist, Mary Van Akin, was there to encourage me to read it as well!
If you’ve looked into the book at all, you know that it’s about a girl named Rachel Walker who has grown up in a very Christian family and has spent her life being a good daughter and staying devoted to God… and I will be perfectly honest with you that the religious mentions and Christian themes immediately had me hesitating. I’m not a religious person (even though I went to a Catholic school for 10 years… actually, that’s probably WHY I’m not a religious person) so I tend to steer clear of any books with Christian or strong religious themes. It’s just usually not something I enjoy and it’s very hard for me to read. The wonderful thing about DEVOTED is that it’s really not a religious book. The story really revolves around Rachel and the fact that she’s starting to question everything. She still loves her family and she still loves God but all of the rules are becoming a bit much and she doesn’t feel like she’s as devoted as the rest of her family.
The religious movement featured in the book isn’t quite a cult but one character does compare it to a cult due to its strict rules and highly protective nature. It’s especially patriarchal with women being told that they’re there to start a family, be a good wife, and remain a good Christian woman, always thinking of God, their husbands, and families first. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to read — especially if you’re strongly feminist — but it’s very eye-opening and a reminder that these communities do exist and people really do follow these rules tightly.
I really, really liked Rachel’s character. So much. It’s a very difficult thing to break away from your family’s and your community’s beliefs to explore your own. As a teenager and a young adult (hell, even as an adult), I found myself forming my own opinions but still generally latching on to the ideals and principles on which my family raised me. I still share the same general opinions as my family and my husband and that’s only natural — but I really admired Rachel’s courage to push outside of her sheltered world to explore what else is out there. She has to defy her parents to do so, abandon her family, and really question everything she’s been taught in order to discover what she really and truly believes. It’s essentially starting her life completely lover and catching up to where the rest of the world is now.
I felt like this was a very character-driven book, closely following Rachel’s story and including some powerful and heart-warming stories from the people she meets along her journey. It’s definitely a quieter book but it felt so powerful and I was so emotionally invested in it. I really cared for Rachel and she became such a real person to me. There was also just something about this book — I couldn’t put it down! I was so interested and yet a bit horrified at the Walkers’ religious practices but witnessing Rachel’s struggle to rebel against her parents as a teenager but in such an atypical manner was truly fascinating. I definitely felt compelled by her story and I’m so glad I got to read it!
If you’ve gotten this far in my review, I really hope that means you’re considering picking up the book! Please don’t let the religious nature scare you away. I promise you that it’s not something I’d ordinarily pick up either but the story is so interesting and the characters are so wonderful… you would really be missing out to pass it up! I’m so glad I was reassured that reading it was the right choice and I really hope the spark has now caught you too! DEVOTED was such a well-crafted and powerful book and you can bet that I’m picking up anything that Jennifer Mathieu writes here on out, regardless of topic. She knows how to handle these enormous and yet sensitive topics in just the perfect way and I look forward to reading more of her work in the years to come!
Kept Me Hooked On: Religious topics. I honestly always avoid religious books (unless it’s fantasy with its own religion… but that doesn’t really count) so I was very happy to see DEVOTED show a very different side! Religion was almost the antagonist in this story and it wasn’t a bad thing… but Rachel really had to figure out how it best worked for her in her life and not how her parents wanted it to be.
Left Me Wanting More: Of Rachel’s story. This wasn’t the sort of book that was a “five-star-amaze-me” book but I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about it. I loved that it was quieter and had more of a character focus. The conflicts and reactions felt real. It wasn’t over the top just to make a point. The only possible thing I could have asked for was more on Rachel’s story at the end of the book! I just really enjoyed the whole thing.
DEVOTED was so, so wonderful. It filled me with feelings and I really connected with Rachel and her story. It was definitely a quieter book but it was really very moving!
BOOKS LIKE DEVOTED
(Click the cover to see my review!)
Thanks so much for taking the time to check out the DEVOTED blog tour and my review! This really was such a great book and I hope you’ll take the time to check it out!
Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs who are also on the DEVOTED blog tour too!
- June 2: Ex Libris Kate | @exlibris_Kate
- June 3: YAdultReview | @_ash
- June 4: Jenuine Cupcakes | @cupcakegirly
- June 5: MacTeenBooks | @fiercereads
- June 6: Bookish Broads | @BookishBroads
- June 7: My My Shelf and I | @MyShelfandI
- June 8: Into the Hall of Books | @bookwormashley
- June 9: I Read Banned Books | @jenbigheart
- June 10: Rainy Day Ramblings | @rnydayramblings
- June 11: Dana Square | @danasquare
- June 12: Book Addict’s Guide | @bookaddictguide
- June 13: ReadingTeen.net | @readingteen
- June 14: ReadNowSleepLater.com | @mslbooks
Of course we can’t let you go without a giveaway! Macmillan is offering one finished, hardcover copy for one lucky winner! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below! US residents only, please! Must be 13 years of age or older to win.