Thursday, January 30, 2014
Stranger Things by Erin Healy is an engaging suspense story based around the sordid world of human trafficking. Each character is somehow connected to this world, including the main character, Serena, a high school biology teacher who finds herself in a huge mess after allegations from a student surface. The main action happens over the course of four days and is showcased from a number of points of view.
I was first exposed to Erin Healy through Burn and Kiss, the novels she coauthored with Ted Dekker. I was excited to see how she did on her own, and I wasn't disappointed. Healy took a difficult and somewhat unrecognized problem, that of domestic sex trafficking, and built and engaging story around it that puts names and faces to the problem. First and foremost, Stranger Things is a work of fiction and it accomplishes the goal of entertaining quite well. However, the greatest works of fiction don't just entertain, but instruct as well. The thought that drives the characters in Stranger Things that fight against domestic sex trafficking is thinking "you are my sister" about every girl they meet. It's easier to ignore massive issues when we think of them as such - as massive, faceless, nameless issues. When the issue is seen through the lens of a person with a name and a story however, it is much harder to ignore. This is what Healy has done while still entertaining and without being preachy about it. My favorite part of the novel is that she used a physical location as a "thin place" an old Celtic concept where the line between the physical and spiritual world is nearly non-existent. It makes the house almost as much of a character as the people.
Stranger Things includes a list of questions for those who read through it as a group to discuss. The cover is attractive and an accurate representation of what is inside. The characters and dialogue are realistic and interesting. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of fiction with elements of suspense, redemption, relatable characters, or that brings light to major problems that exist in the real world.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255