Official Review: Rebuilding Alden by JR Thompson

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kandscreeley
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Official Review: Rebuilding Alden by JR Thompson

Post by kandscreeley » 01 Mar 2019, 10:29

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Rebuilding Alden" by JR Thompson.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Alden is a young man with some anger issues. He hasn't had an easy life, but one day he goes too far; he assaults his grandmother who is raising him. He's convinced she won't call the police, but he's wrong. Alden suddenly finds himself on probation. His probation officer, Philip Bones, lets Alden know exactly what he needs to do to avoid juvenile detention. More than that, though, Philip sees something special in Alden, and he determines to take him under his wing. Will Mr. Bones be able to turn this young man around?

Rebuilding Alden by JR Thompson is book one in the Worthy Battle series. This Christian fiction book is a relatively short, easy read with around 180 pages. Themes covered include forgiveness, second chances, and not letting your anger control you.

The story is told from the third person point of view, which is mostly successful; however, there were a couple of occasions when it seemed like the narrator made an aside to the audience. This was a rare occurrence, but it was somewhat out of place. Despite this, I enjoyed this perspective, as it helped move the story along to know what the characters were each thinking and feeling.

One of the strengths of this book is its characters. Oftentimes in Christian fiction, there are characters that are unrealistically perfect. I've even seen times where absolutely everything falls into place for everyone, simply because they are Christian. That doesn't occur in real life and, furthermore, sends the wrong message. This book is different; all of the characters struggle and, in turn, show they are human. It was refreshing, and I was able to learn along with the characters.

The biggest pitfall of the book is that it is still overly simplistic, at least at times. While there are difficulties, some of the ways these are overcome are questionable. It wasn't so infeasible that I got disgusted and walked away. It was simply enough that I thought to myself, "Would it really have been that easy?"

As the first book in a series, there is always the question of the ending. Is there a cliffhanger ending? The ending will drive you to the next book; I want to know more about the main characters' lives. Could you stop at this book? Probably, but I'm not sure you'd be wholly satisfied. Let's put it this way: the author doesn't use an incomplete ending simply to get you to buy the next book. She has a story to tell, and it's one that's going to be told using multiple different people, in multiple separate novels.

In conclusion, I'd rate Rebuilding Alden 4 out of 4 stars. It was enjoyable enough that I'd seek out the next book in the series, and the few flaws I found didn't warrant subtracting a star. I recommend it to those that enjoy a lighter, easy-to-read Christian fiction, but if you aren't religious, it would probably be a turn-off.

******
Rebuilding Alden
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Post by Cecilia_L » 04 Mar 2019, 12:44

One of the strengths of this book is its characters. Oftentimes in Christian fiction, there are characters that are unrealistically perfect. I've even seen times where absolutely everything falls into place for everyone, simply because they are Christian. That doesn't occur in real life and, furthermore, sends the wrong message. This book is different; all of the characters struggle and, in turn, show they are human. It was refreshing, and I was able to learn along with the characters.
I've had similar thoughts about Christian fiction and couldn't agree more. I considered reviewing this one--glad to know you enjoyed it. Great review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Mar 2019, 13:20

Thanks @Cecilia_L! It just irks me when everything falls into place too easily. I want to scream at the book, and I usually don't end up finishing it.
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Post by ElizaBeth Adams » 04 Mar 2019, 13:35

I am glad to hear that this is the beginning of a series. Perhaps the author will choose to develop more realistic solutions in future books. It is nice when things are wrapped up nice and tidy, but like you said, sometimes in real life, it's not that easy. Developing characters who are struggling with real problems AND arrive at resolutions in a realistic, messy fashion can only make this series stronger. I look forward to reading books by this author in the future.

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Post by Rose Harebate » 04 Mar 2019, 14:25

Alden is really a lost soul, allowing his anger to take control of him to the extent that he assaults his grandmother. The plot really seems interesting. Thanks for an amazing review as always.

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Mar 2019, 14:30

ElizaBeth Adams wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 13:35
I am glad to hear that this is the beginning of a series. Perhaps the author will choose to develop more realistic solutions in future books. It is nice when things are wrapped up nice and tidy, but like you said, sometimes in real life, it's not that easy. Developing characters who are struggling with real problems AND arrive at resolutions in a realistic, messy fashion can only make this series stronger. I look forward to reading books by this author in the future.
It wasn't too bothersome... It was more like the author didn't want the book to get too long, so things were simplified a bit. It was not extremely distracting, though. Thanks.
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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Mar 2019, 14:34

Rose Harebate wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 14:25
Alden is really a lost soul, allowing his anger to take control of him to the extent that he assaults his grandmother. The plot really seems interesting. Thanks for an amazing review as always.
Thank you! He just needed a bit of help, as do we all at some points.
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Post by InStoree » 04 Mar 2019, 16:17

I love the title (rebuilding - reassemble yourself with new parts) and the idea of giving people a second chance. It sounds an easy and enjoyable reading. Thanks for your review, kandscreeley!
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Post by sarahmarlowe » 04 Mar 2019, 17:12

Oooh! This sounds like a great read! I, too, enjoy Christian fiction, and I appreciate when characters have rough edges. The premise sounds interesting, as well. I may check this one out. Thanks for the great review!
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Post by princzonic » 04 Mar 2019, 20:09

I believe that the book is not only for all Christian, but for all lover of humility and loyalty. Humility lead a person to be willing to listen to advice like Alden. Loyalty will also allow a young person to listen to advice like Alden did in the novel. However, I believed that the book would be more interesting if the author could have provided more concrete reasons that lead to Alden anger at his grandmother. The theme may include respectfulness, discipline and devotion to parents or guardian despite the type of discipline given.

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Post by Shielasshi_93 » 04 Mar 2019, 22:05

I agree with what you said about other christian books, I also believe that people who are struggling like Alden will greatly relate with this book.

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Post by kdstrack » 04 Mar 2019, 22:51

I like the theme of anger treated in a Christian setting. I am hopeful the author will offer feasible answers that truly help people who struggle with this difficulty. I hope to read this soon. Great review!

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Post by nooregano » 05 Mar 2019, 04:11

This is a fair, balanced review. I'm glad that this book covered complex humanistic topics without being too rigid about its conclusions or too idealistic in its portrayal. This sounds like a seriously good book. Thanks for the review!
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Post by kandscreeley » 05 Mar 2019, 08:49

InStoree wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 16:17
I love the title (rebuilding - reassemble yourself with new parts) and the idea of giving people a second chance. It sounds an easy and enjoyable reading. Thanks for your review, kandscreeley!
Yes! That's it exactly. Everyone deserves a second chance, right? Thanks!
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Post by kandscreeley » 05 Mar 2019, 08:50

sarahmarlowe wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 17:12
Oooh! This sounds like a great read! I, too, enjoy Christian fiction, and I appreciate when characters have rough edges. The premise sounds interesting, as well. I may check this one out. Thanks for the great review!
If you like Christian fiction that's an easier read (not like Brandilyn Collins or Dee Henderson) than this is one you'll appreciate. Thanks!
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
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