Just before the new year, friend and fellow author Betsy St. Amant posted a photo of a book on her Facebook. You have to understand, Betsy's a charming, extremely gifted writer. She's cheerful, funny, and refreshingly honest. So, when she recommends a book, you jot down the title and get to reading-stat.
The picture was of K.E. Ganshert's The Gifting, a young adult inspirational science fiction dystopian (whew!) set some time in the future (she does not indicate an exact year), when God has been eliminated from society. Churches do not exist. Though it is not against the law to consider oneself a Catholic or Protestant, per se, if one does declare such beliefs, a gasp usually ensues.
Teresa Eckhart (Tess) takes us on a first-person journey of initially believing she's crazy--she sees things, spiritual beings, most cannot--to realizing she has The Gifting. Growing up in a Christian environment, my mother occasionally reminded that a spiritual dominion exists our human eyes cannot see; that, if we could see this realm, we would be terrified.
Well, that's what I thought of while reading this series. Tess and those with The Gifting (like her brooding/intense yet likable love interest, Luka) not only see this realm, they also harness the ability to interact with it through dreams. The adventure upon which these two embark is both memorable and edge-of-your-seat exciting. Each chapter ends with you wanting to read the next--just one more and I'll go to sleep! The secondary characters are beautifully written, possessing their own unique personalities and personal agendas. The writing itself, Ganshert's voice, is simple yet pleasingly rhythmic.
Much like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, this series possesses the old-as-time yet highly effective theme of Good versus Evil. The struggle is real--really, it is--and there are times when you honestly don't know if Tess is going to make it to the edge of destiny's path. What stood out the most to me was the masterful interweaving of Ganshert's own moral compass into lines and paragraphs and chapters. When you catch these tidbits, you'll know it, because she's making you think. And I personally love that in an author. The challenge to question your own beliefs; to ask yourself, "What would I do if faced with this situation?"
I recommend this series to ages 15+.
You can check out Katie's website here: http://katieganshert.com. Her novels can be purchased at all major book retailers, as well as in electronic format via the usual suspects.
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,
P.S. While you're at it, take a peek at Betsy's site as well: http://www.betsystamant.com.