SAVING MADDIE (Delacorte, March 2010) pubbed this month. Johnson is now a fellow Texan, and a grad of the Vermont College MFA program. I grabbed this book to take along on my MRI appointment this morning. Trust me, it was the ONLY good thing about this morning until I met my better half for breakfast after the MRIfail incident (I lasted a whole 5 seconds with my head strapped inside a basket in that death tube). I read the book from cover to cover. At first, I was drawn in because the book was (happily)not what I expected. When I see a cover with purpled lips and a barre throat, I begin to think the story will be about some creature preying on a hapless young woman. Not the case here at all. Maddie returns to town 5 years after moving with her preacher father. She has changed a great deal, Joshua notes immediately. But Maddie was his best friend for quite a long time before her move. He wants to reconnect to her; they do share a lot as both are PKs. However, there are many adults who want to see them apart. Maddie is a fallen woman and Joshua is warned to stay away to avoide corruption/
What Johnson has done here is an interesting balancing act. He has crafted a novel with teens who are religious without falling prey to stereotypes: the sinner, the holy one, etc. Instead, these are teens who are religious even though they do not always see eye-to-eye about beliefs and practices.