Red River (Tent City #2)
Kelly Van Hull
I really liked Tent City... I loved Red River.
The story line advances really quickly in this one. There were very few, if any, moments where things were just "chill". It seemed like as soon as they got out of one predicament, they fell face first into another one.
It was a lot grittier than Tent City as well. The characters are forced into a lot of very intense situations. I love that Van Hull did create weakness and flaws in her characters. They didn't always choose the right way to deal with things, and they suffered consequences as a result. It made the story seem a little more real. Don't get me wrong, I love a bad-ass who can take whatever is thrown their way, but at the same time, its nice to see a character that isn't perfect occasionally.
Speaking of, yes, there are some very hard topics in this book, like drugs and abortion. Personally, I had no issue with them. Van Hull by no means candy coats or glorifies these things. As far as I am concerned, these are real issues that real teenagers face, and there is absolutely no reason not to write about them.
Additionally, this being a "religious" apocalypse, there are religious themes to this book. Personally, I didn't feel at all uncomfortable or offended by anything that was said. I felt like most of the so-called "bad things" that were said, were not said about religion, but rather about religious extremist and people who use religion to for no other reason than to gain power.
It didn't bother me that the main character questioned the idea of having "faith". I imagine a lot of people in her situation would, especially someone who was not brought up in a family with a strong religious background. I didn't find it blasphemy. I found it a realistic picture of someone trying to sort out whether or not they believed in a time where faith can be difficult.
That's my two cents on the "controversial" issues anyway. Its very subjective, so i'm sure that will vary from reader to reader, but I wasn't bothered or offended by it. I thought it was very well done personally.
Beyond that, this book really kept me on my toes. It was one of those books that it drove me nuts to put down (and since my office kind of frowns upon the whole read instead of work thing, I had to put it down occasionally). There was a lot of mystery and build up that kept me on the edge of my seat and my head spinning with possibilities. It threw a few curveballs that I never saw coming in there too.
The end wasn't nearly the cliffhanger of Tent City, however, it really didn't need to be. If there is a book three, I'll totally read it. I still have a lot of unanswered questions, so I'm hoping...
I would hands down recommend this book. I feel like Kelly Van Hull is truly growing as an author... can't wait to see what is next!