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Finally Sure: Laurel Shadrach, #5

Review

Finally Sure: Laurel Shadrach, #5

Laurel Shadrach is finally sure that her life is on track. The pressures of her first semester of college have subsided, and most importantly she has started to put all of her trust in God. There's only one problem --- the people she's surrounded by are far from having their lives in the same place.

FINALLY SURE, the fifth and final installment in Stephanie Perry Moore's Laurel Shadrach series, begins with the sad news that Laurel's grandfather has had a stroke. As the family travels to visit him at the hospital, it's clear that there are many other problems. Laurel's brothers are constantly fighting, and their father is little help. Reverend Shadrach is almost always angry and preoccupied with his strained relationship with his father. Needless to say, Laurel's newfound inner strength is relentlessly tested, no more so than when she learns that she has not been selected for the prestigious school gymnastics team. Her dreams of Olympic competition officially end, and her fear of not being able to pay for college begins.

Then there are Laurel's friends, whose decisions she's constantly saddened by. Her best friends from high school always remind her of the importance of sexual purity. Brittany, a popular cheerleader, is HIV positive. Megan, a shy sweet girl, recently found out she is pregnant and doesn't even know who the baby's father is. Luckily, with new clarity in her relationship with God, Laurel is finally free from her unhealthy feelings for ex-boyfriend Branson.

Of course, the new mystery guy in the library is also helping out. Though she doesn't even know his real name, "Charlie" is everything Laurel envisions the perfect man to be --- cute, smart, and living his life for Christ. They go on a series of secret dates and enjoy a deepening relationship on a level that Laurel never has experienced before. However, his true identity is not revealed, leaving many lingering questions. What's his real name? Where does he disappear to on weekends? Why do people keep asking for his autograph?

As the year progresses Laurel experiences a series of tragic events, reminding readers of the consequences of premarital sex, alcohol abuse and narcissistic behavior. But while all of this is going on, Laurel is able to make some important decisions about her own life and help counsel those around her into healthier lifestyles. The book ends with an important revelation that might just change Laurel's life for the better.

FINALLY SURE is the last, and possibly the best, book in the Laurel Shadrach series. Most readers will be glad that this installment does not focus on the title character's relationship with her ex-boyfriend. The relationship between Laurel and "Charlie" is very fresh, and fun to watch develop. While the book does tend to pack in too much drama (three tragedies on the same night seems a bit forced), young readers undoubtedly will be riveted by the page-turning events.

It is important to note that though the publisher suggests a 9-12 age range, the situations and issues the series deals with probably are more appropriate for a 12 and older reading group. That said, readers of Christian teen fiction will find much to enjoy in FINALLY SURE and will be sad to see the final chapter of Laurel Shadrach's life come to a close.

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Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby on October 18, 2011

Finally Sure: Laurel Shadrach, #5
by Stephanie Perry Moore

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2004
  • Genres: Christian, Fiction
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • ISBN-10: 0802440398
  • ISBN-13: 9780802440396