Saving Maddie Varian Johnson
It's been five years, but Maddie Smith is back in town. Joshua Wynn is the preacher's son who's always been so preoccupied with being the perfect example to his father's congregation-- Ceaser's wife and the preacher's family must be beyond reproach. The problem is, he's just always followed the rules and never thought about what he wanted to do.
And then Maddie Smith shows back up, with purple-painted lips and tops cut down to there and a history that has tongues wagging. Joshua's father wants him to save her, to bring her back into the church's fold. Joshua's not entirely sure Maddie needs saving in the first place.
I cared so much for Maddie and Joshua. I loved how complicated it all was. Johnson tells a fairly straightforward story, but Maddie wasn't a bad girl, but she also wasn't just a misunderstood good girl. She had issues. The church wasn't the answer or the problem. I will admit that, initially, Joshua's parents really angered me, in their attitude towards Maddie but that had lessened towards the end. My anger at Maddie's father though... that just got worse.
I was surprised by how strongly I reacted to this book. I struggled with it. I was so angry about how the adults in this community were so quick to judge based on looks and rumor, how Maddie was thrust into this role and had to play it, which happens way too often in real life. But then, it ended so perfectly.
This is a quietly powerful book. It didn't whack me upside the head with its power, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
Book Provided by... the author for review consideration
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