Friday, November 9, 2012


By Stacey Wallace Benefiel

So, how is it possible for someone to write three or more books and have the first one be so very awful? This book needed an editor like crazy! Benefiel really needed to make up her mind about the plot, the characters and the relationships in this book.

The premise is about a young preacher's daughter, Zellie, who has a focused crush on popular Avery. When they finally begin their relationship at Zellie's sweet sixteen party (in the basement of the church, no less), Zellie begins to have glimpses of Avery's future death.  Suddenly, Zellie's mother and Avery's father (who had a relationship as teens and still are way too friendly) won't let them see one another. This begins a rather secretive relationship and a series of dreams, visions and glimpses of other friends and relatives. Then, Zellie is able to physically rewind an incident where both of her parents and Avery's are killed. What results is the heart attack and death of Avery's dad, a deep unhealthy mourning on the part of Zellie's mom, and anger on Avery's part toward Zellie.

It turns out that Zellie's mother also had visions about Avery's dad when she was Zellie's age. That is how they broke up yet remain "friendly." Everyone is now upset with Zellie who goes to stay with her great aunt. On this visit she discovers that her grandmother, whom everyone thought had committed suicide years ago, is still alive and Zellie has a unique ability to rewind time to save people.

Did I mention that her mother can see and communicate with the dead? Or that her mother is now pregnant with Avery's dad's baby? Or that Zellie's grandmother is part of a whole "rewind" community? How about poor Zellie's father? What is going on with him -- oh, yeah, he goes to visit Avery's mom in the psych ward and they seem to be hitting it off. And where is Benefiel going with that cute guy who can also rewind...when they have been told only women have that power?

If you are trying hard to figure out the plot in this one, you are not alone. I didn't even finish it!

Where is my faith in this book? At one point, Zellie's preacher father says: "If a man can believe in a God he doesn't see, then how hard is it to accept that he has magically gifted female relatives?" This really makes me think about what I believe. If I can believe in God, does that mean I also believe in magic? Sorcery? Paranormal activities? Ghosts? I can't see God and I can't scientifically prove that God exists, so why can't I believe in all this other stuff that I can't see or can't prove? I suppose my main answer is that I don't believe in everything I can't prove. But my belief in God really incorporates a sense of wonder. There are some things that I cannot explain but I can admire them for glorifying God's power and creativity. Small children have this sense of wonder and amazement of the world around them. They don't have to have everything explained. Their attention is just captured by one simple aspect of creation. May we all recapture that sense of wonder!

I do not recommend this book.

Happy reading!


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