Book Reviews, YA book reviews

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu – ARC Review

DEVOTED

My Rating ~ Three stars

3-gold-stars copy 2

RELEASED: 10 January 2019

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books / Hachette Australia

Format: Paperback

Pages: 306

Blurb

An empowering, feminist coming-of-age story about self-discovery, from the author of MOXIE – a Zoella Book Club book …

Rachel Walker’s family and community have turned away from the world.

Every part of Rachel’s life is controlled, from what she reads to where she goes and what she wears. Her parents dictate how her life must be: marriage, modesty, children and obedience to her future husband. But when a former member of her community, a girl who escaped, moves back to her small Texas town, Rachel’s world turns upside down.

She realises that her life is her own. But can she find the courage to fight for it?

 

1

Review

Many thanks to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of Devoted in exchange for an honest review

Rachael’s family are part of a fundamental, extreme religious cult.  She has never known life could be any different than the expectation that she would marry, have children and be a housewife devoted to her husband and god.  Her father’s rule over their household dictates what Rachael can wear, where she can go, what books she can read and whether she can use the computer.  When Rachael discovers the online blog of a girl who escaped their church a few years ago, she starts to question what she will do with her one wild and precious life.

I found this book really hard to read.  I ‘enjoyed’ the story in a way, but the views of Rachael’s family and the way they raised their children just made me see red.  I was so furious the entire time I found it hard not to throw the book at the wall.  Although I was aware the author was demonstrating the extreme views of the religious cult, reading quotes about modest dress, such as

“We must remember that it is up to us to help men resist temptation”

just made my skin crawl way too much.

I did enjoy watching Rachael slowly coming out of her shell, and could empathise with the difficulties she faced leaving her sister behind, but the only people I could actually really relate to were the girl with the blog, Lauren, and Mark, a boy who appears later in the book.

Bearing in mind that I am not at all religious, part of my view towards this book likely comes from my own bias.  Even though the book was about Rachael coming to see that her family life wasn’t right, there was still a lot of emphasis on extreme faith that I just personally wasn’t all that comfortable with I guess.

I still think it was an interesting book and different to anything I’ve read before.  It is nice to see books written outside of the general YA norm, even if they’re dealing with uncomfortable topics.

 

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Devoted pic by bookbookowl

Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl

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