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A Review of “The Homelanders” by Andrew Klaven

A review of The Homelanders by Andrew Klaven

[Sample–Mr. Klaven did not ask us to review his book]

The Homelanders written by Andrew Klaven consists of four suspense filled books written for young adults. It tells the story of Charlie West, a typical teenager, who finds himself thrust into a very atypical situation. At the beginning of the series, Charlie has no idea who the good guys are and who the bad guys are; he isn’t even sure which side he himself is on because he can’t remember a whole year of his life. Though he thinks he must be a good guy, there is so much evidence to the contrary. Terrorists on the one hand and Police on the other are all trying to track him down. He must avoid them all until the picture becomes clear enough to make the right decisions. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, parents, and friends suffer under the idea that he is a convicted murderer.

The pacing of the book, the sentence structure, and word choices all would drive an English Literature teacher crazy, but for young people who are used to a fast paced, multi-tasking world, these elements are positive. Perhaps we might wish our young people to read Robinson Crusoe and indeed they should read that great adventure. But while they develop the skills necessary for that level, we can all give thanks that Klaven has managed to write something worth their while at a level that is easy for them to enjoy and well done within the parameters of YA fiction.

There is so much drivel in the world, especially in the Young Adult category that it is a relief to read Klaven’s series. There is no melodramatic angst, no mushy sex scene. Charlie is not some whiney misunderstood boy from a sadly riven family. He was not abused by an authority figure. He is not a rebel. He is the boy next door; a good kid, just like your kid.

Charlie West is the old-fashioned hero: an ordinary boy who finds himself involved in extraordinary affairs. This motif is an important element in Western thought. Men do not sit and wait for a super hero, nor do they invent acts of heroism. But they do place themselves in a perpetual attitude of doing what it takes to serve. And that is precisely how Charlie gets into this mess. With the help of God, and the experiences his parents gave him, he accomplishes the goal through many setbacks and trials.

In the process, the reader sees ideas valued by Christians in general and Americans in particular affirmed in a quiet, matter of fact way. Of course Charlie calls upon God to help when things are dire. Of course, Charlie misses his family. Of course, he values the American even if it’s not perfectly worked out. Of course, he accepts the challenges presented to him.  In being so normal, Charlie West is the counter-culture and teens across the US love his story.  According to Andrew Klaven’s website the series is being made into a movie and has been translated into German. Wait until those German kids find out that God is not dead!

My advice to parents and educators: please don’t moralize with your kids over these books. Klaven worked so hard to get past the eye-rolling and to get past teen defenses : Let the kids enjoy the story and learn to respect and admire Charlie West and all he stands for without your comments.

Score: 9 – one point off because of the extreme distaste I have for short choppy sentence structure even while acknowledge that this is a positive for the target audience.

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