Spiralling Out of Control by Michelle Dennis Evans
Available on Kindle October 2013
Temptation, depression, seduction, betrayal ... Not what Stephanie was expecting at fifteen years of age. Uprooted from her happy, all-girl high school life with a dream filled future and thrown into an unfriendly co-ed school, Stephanie spirals into depression.
When charismatic high school senior, Jason notices her, Stephanie jumps in feet first and willingly puts all her faith and trust in him, a boy she barely knows.
Every choice she makes and turn she takes leads her towards a dangerous path.
Her best friend is never far away and ready to catch her … but will she push Tabbie too far away when she needs her most?
Spiralling Out of Control is the debut novel by Australian author, Michelle Dennis Evans.
This novel is about Stephanie, a teenage girl whose life goes haywire after her family moves from Sydney to Queensland where she meets Jason ...
I'm going to be upfront with you, because that's how we do it at the Book Review Sisters.
This book pretty much covers all the major themes of an adolescence gone wrong : sex, drugs, alcohol, exploitation ... and all under-aged.
If you're easily offended, or just not looking to read about these issues, don't read this book.
Having said that, I'll tell you that the book doesn't go into unnecessary detail - nothing is described graphically. It's written as tastefully as possible, and written with enough emotional distance to keep you from being overwhelmed by the spiralling events in Stephanie's life. To me this was great, as otherwise it'd be too upsetting.
I found Spiralling Out of Control a little cumbersome at the start, but once things start happening, the pace picks up and the story becomes quite gripping and difficult to put down. The faith element is very subtle, which will suit those who don't like being preached too. But if you're looking for a dramatic spiritual redemption, you'll be disappointed.
I think Michelle has written Spiralling Out of Control to be as realistic as possible, and the fact is there are many people who learn about God and refuse to accept Him. This novel is the first in a trilogy however, so perhaps there's more of Stephanie's journey to come.
One thing Michelle has done brilliantly is portray the nature of a boy-girl teenage relationship and how easy it is for things to get out of hand without ever intending it to. Jason was so cringing-ly real I thought I was reading about someone I knew in high school. At the very least, girls should read this book to see how Mr Nice Guy can easily manipulate words - and you - to get what he wants.
That said, as a parent, if my girls were 15 I'd only let them read half the book. At 17? I'm still not sure, as I'm way away from there yet. The reality is that many secular YA fiction regularly explore the same issues - and with greater detail, and are read by very young teens. But as Christians we draw a different line with our fiction and try to shelter our children from these issues. Should we? I can't answer for you.
My advice? Parents should read this book for themselves first and then make up their minds. And it's definitely worth a read. Michelle has done a great job of showing how a few poor choices can take a kid's life far away from where anyone expected it to and serves as a good reminder that we should be vigilant and pro-active in our children's lives.
Helen's favourite genre is historical fiction with a strong romantic element. She also enjoys contemporary romance, chick-lit and YA. She's not caught up in the spell of fantasy fiction, despite The Faraway Tree series being a strong influence in her childhood.
Helen is currently working on her first book, a Christian young adult novel set between two opposite but equally fascinating places in Australia.