Alright, I’m just gonna start off by saying until recently I have not read many LGBT YA books. I am not sure why, but it was just something I never got around to doing. Well my aunt had given me a couple books and I am now in love with the genre and I can’t wait to read the next one.
One of the books I read and will be reviewing is called; Caught In The Crossfire it is written by Juliann Rich.
The book is about two boys who meet at Spirit Lake Bible Camp. The first boy is Jonathan Cooper, a firm believer in God who had come from a military household. The second boy is Ian McGuire who is a new face at bible camp. Ian is open about his sexuality and argues openly about it to those who believe otherwise. Jonathan keeps information about his sexuality more closed off, not sure exactly how he feels, and scared to how others would react to it. Ian knows what could happen between the two of them if only Jonathan admitted his feelings. However, Jonathan is in the middle of a battle between his belief in God and how he feels about Ian. When an actual disaster happens and Ian is in danger, Jonathan is forced to make a decision that could change his life.
What I Dislike About The Book:
Honestly, I can’t put too much in this space because I really loved the book. However I guess if I have to the things I dislike about the book are;The ending. I know it makes room for other books to come out, but I’m a person who JUST HAS to know what’s going to happen next. Now that I’m left in the dark in this one I can only guess what’s going to happen between Jonathan and Ian! All we know is that a friend request from Jonathan to Ian has been made! Do we know if Ian accepts? No! Do we know if they still talk to each other? No! What about that book? Zip. Do we know if they ride off in the sunset together? Okay well obviously not, but still! This is still a good job on the author’s part though because now once that next book comes out, I’m snatching it up as soon as possible.
I wish we could have gotten a bit more information about Jonathan’s relationship with his mother after she found out he was gay. We know she made an effort to try and talk to him on the way back from Bible Camp but he refused and that was that. All we get is a couple of sentences from her and that she is driving him home. But how does she really feel about him being gay? How does she feel about Ian? Does she still accept him? We don’t really know.
Finally in this category, is Ian’s overall relationship with his foster family. He speaks about them briefly but we don’t get too much information about how they feel about him or vice versa. We don’t even get time to meet them when Ian is taken home from Bible Camp.
What I Like About The Book:
Different types of Christians. Love it. Love it. Love it. We get to see Christians of all different types! There’s Paul, who is a great leader, but more or less stuck in his ways. He is a bit critical of things that are against “what the bible says” and tries to “fix” people. He obviously doesn’t mean to hurt people, but his ways are a bit offensive. There’s Simon. He is in my opinion someone who you could see running a Youth Church. He is knowledgeable in this bible but is not boastful about it. His relationship with God is strong, but he does not criticize or judge others. He’s very understanding. Then there’s Dawn. Her family does not understand God and hates that she is apart of the church. You don’t often see this situation happening as it is sometimes the other way around. You have Jonathan, he is still what we call a baby Christian. He’s learning about God and he still has so much to learn. He is also now apart of the small yet growing, LGBT Christian community. Ian isn’t exactly a Christian but it’s quite obvious that he’s a bit curious. He told Jonathan, he’s not a Christian, but he’s not an Atheist either. He has a feeling about God but I don’t think he quite understands Christianity yet.
I love that Jonathan was not forced to choose between Christianity and being gay. I see a lot of members of the LGBT community who think they have to choose, that they can’t be both. But you can! This book just goes to show it! On this topic I would like to refer to one of my favorite lines from this book, “Thank you God for loving me just as I am.”
I love the character development. I have always been a sucker for good character development. Obviously, if you have been through everything these characters have been through, you would not stay the same. Your personality is bound to change somehow. For example, in the beginning of the book, Jonathan is a firm Christian, firm in his beliefs, knows who he is. When he meets Ian, this starts to change. His beliefs falter and he isn’t sure of who he is anymore. We see a good example of this in chapter eleven; “Light glinted off the gold cross that hung from my neck. One hard yank and the chain broke. The cross landed on the grimy floor. The boy in the mirror was still a stranger. But at least he isn’t a liar.” Because he is scared to admit how he feels about Ian, he loses sight of who he is. As we get to the ending, he realizes his feelings for Ian and we see him getting more confident in himself again.
I put this in the dislike category, but I’m going to put it here for the exact same reason. Although I hate not knowing what’s going to happen next, it stuck in my head (I dreamed about the night after I finished the book!) and made it hard to forget. Because the book didn’t have a solid ending, there is room to add another book and it also leaves the reader guessing the possibilities.
I really loved this book. I would read it over again if I could and I would definitely tell others to read it as well. So I give this book 5 stars, two thumbs up, and all my tears that were shed reading it. I am so glad I got the opportunity to read this. Now go little jedis and find yourself a copy so you can see what I’m talking about!