Monday, June 2, 2014
Review: Caught in the Crossfire by Juliann Rich (Tour Stop)
Young Adult GLBTQ
Date Published: 6/16/2014
Two boys at bible camp. One Forbidden love.
That’s the dilemma Jonathan Cooper faces when he goes away to Spirit Lake Bible Camp, situated along Minnesota’s rugged north shore, for a summer of fun. He is expecting mosquito bites, bonfires with S’Mores, and photography classes with Simon, his favorite counselor who always helps him see life in perfect focus.
What he isn’t expecting is Ian McGuire, a new camper who openly argues against phrases like pray the gay away. Ian is certain of many things, including what could happen between them if only Jonathan could surrender to his feelings.
Jonathan, however, tosses in a storm of indecision between his belief in God and his inability to stay away from Ian. When a real storm hits and Ian is lost in it, Jonathan is forced to make a public decision that changes his life.
With summer finally here (or just about here) who can resist a good camp story? Caught in the Crossfire is the camp story that actually matters, because the novel goes into the exact kinds of problem that people face today. Despite the fact that many of us would like to believe humanity is past this, there is plenty of discrimination based on sexual orientation. A significant chuck of it comes from extreme religious beliefs. Not only does Caught in the Crossfire give a firsthand account on this issue, but the novel shows a solution. I loved the fact that, instead of completely shutting down the opposing side, Rich uses the situation to describe how Christian beliefs and homosexuality can coexist in harmony, even if an ideal like that may take time.
Jonathan is a wonderful protagonist and a very likeable character. He isn't always sure of himself, as most of us are not, which makes him easy to relate to. Sometimes, he acts before really thinking, but his heart is in the right place and that makes him more human. He has a very strong voice that really shines throughout the novel. I loved being able to see him grow throughout the story and slowly learn to accept himself.
The relationship between Jonathan and Ian was incredibly sweet (although it did get pretty steamy). There's just something about those forbidden loves...and the two boys really give readers a great one. The progression of the relationship felt very natural, and was exciting to get into.
From the beginning to the open, yet satisfying end, Caught in the Crossfire is a beautiful tale of love and acceptance. It is not a long nor difficult read, yet it has the kind of message that everyone should experience. I loved the pacing and really loved the dialogue, and definitely think that this is one to look for.