by The Miller Brother
(Click book for Amazon link)
Hunter Brown Bridges the Gap between Faith and Fiction for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers
Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow tells its story in a way that brings the story of Creation and the Creator's love to impressionable readers. I liked the way the story draws you in with the adventures of a nerdy kid and his friends who want acceptance for who they are, not who their parents are, or how much damage they can do to other students. They fight back in the only way they know, pulling pranks on the school bully and his gang. As the story progresses Hunter and Stretch learn there is more to life than their video club or even their town. As Hunter reads the Author's Writ, a book of teachings written by the World's Creator, the Author, he watches the vision of a newly created world broken apart by a curse as a young boy takes a bloodstone from a great tree.
Okay, I admit this is a not so subtle retelling of the Creation Story. Sometimes you have to pass on subtlety and present your story more directly to reach to some readers. Middle school boys are more concerned with action and maybe a few gross actions in a story than they are with subtle hints. Young readers live in the here and now, and don't always concern themselves with the distant future. Hunter Brown does a great job tapping this life view by the scrapes he gets himself into by acting before thinking things through. Pranking the school bully without an escape plan lands Hunter and his two friends in a locked school dumpster. Forgetting the book's key at home, Hunter and Stretch are forced to make quick decisions when dispirits corner them.
When Hunter and Stretch are separated in the new world on the other side of the portal, both must learn to depend on their self and the Author to make good decisions. Decisions have consequences and results aren't always good as expected. This is a lesson Hunter must learn throughout the book. He complains about unfair treatment especially when he does the right thing. But he learns to depend on the Author and comes to realize that everything has a purpose in happening. By the end of the book Hunter has grown in his learning and faith, and it's hope the reader has also. The mark of a good book is whether the reader continues to dwell on the story even after the pages are finished and the cover is closed. Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow leaves you thinking about Hunter's journey and how you are faring along your own life's path.
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