I learned about Kara Swanson on the Christian Writers Community at StoryEmbers.org. For quite some time, I’ve been picking up pebbles of courage to write fiction and the Story Embers community has terrific resources for young (or young at heart) writers to get started, connect, and stay motivated.
When Dust came out, I devoured the book in a day, wishing upon a star for the next installment.
What I like most about this book is that it explores the boundaries between fantasy worlds and the real world in a realistic way. Ms. Swanson also portrays teenaged characters as multidimensional, emotional people, yet leaves out the trashy stuff. A lot of contemporary YA books are filled with sex, drugs, and bad behavior.
While Ms. Swanson tackles issues like mental health, trauma, love, loss, and loneliness, the characters deal with those issues without the sex, drugs, and bad behavior, something lacking in this day and age. The story itself is creative, well-written, and engaging.
Even though I am middle-aged, I found myself transported back to a different time and connected to my childhood love of stories. I recalled listening to The Hobbit on my record player (remember those?) and riding my bike to the library in the summer and struggling to manage the weight of all my chosen books on the way home. Fun memories of a time when I thought I could stay a kid forever, like Peter Pan. Ms. Swanson weaves in historical references to Peter Pan and Barrie’s original story that also reminded me that I only watched the Disney versions! I felt a little left out, like those folks who watch Marvel Avengers and miss the continuity easter eggs hidden throughout the movie because they didn’t see the standalone movies. But now I’m ready. I got my copy of the real story of Peter Pan so I can understand the characters and references made in Dust.
This book is delightful, fun, and perfect for young readers as well as those of us who remain young at heart. So get it. It’s available on Amazon and for parents who want to encourage their kids to write Christian fiction (which we need more of!), check out Story Embers.