Aravis

Review by Aravis Tarkheena on Amazon:

After reading several disappointing or even disturbing Christian YA fiction books, I was reluctant to give Past Suspicion a chance. But when I discovered that the author was an eighteen-year-old homeschooler when she wrote the first draft, I bought the book, my expectations high. I wasn’t let down. Past Suspicion is a decent suspense novel marked by tastefulness and believability.

Robin Finley, a sheltered seventeen-year-old, is forced to move to Wisconsin from California after her mother’s sudden passing. Feeling stifled by the idea of small-town life with an uncle she barely knows, Robin counts the days until her grand escape to freedom on her eighteenth birthday. While working at her uncle’s bookstore, she separately meets two young men interested in helping her sort out her mother’s past, forever marked by her tragic fall from a local haunted mansion. Robin pores through old newspapers and her mother’s teenage diary, trying to find the truth about the accident as the two young men compete for her attention. Now Robin must find out who her mother was – and who she herself will be – in the midst of a sinister plot that takes everyone by surprise.

Robin is a very believable character. She’s no angel, but neither is she an aggravating brat. She’s a very realistic, relatable teen struggling with a desire for freedom. She has moments of rebellion, passion, stubbornness, silliness, and gullibility, just like any average teen. Robin’s intelligence and sense of decency make her very likeable and understandable.

What I really appreciated about this book is its ability to be exciting without compromising decency. Though the book contains elements of crime, violence, and evil, it never goes overboard. It’s a definite accomplishment considering the plot revolves around two violent falls at a spooky mansion. Also tastefully handled is the romance element. Robin is being pursued romantically by two young men, but neither guy gets aggressive with her. Never does the book stray into raunchy territory at all; even though both guys spend some alone time with Robin, nothing inappropriate happens. The romance is understated and sweeter than commonly found in YA books, even other Christian ones.

Past Suspicion is a solid three star book that manages to be exciting without being tasteless. I recommend this one to readers age twelve and up who seek good, clean adventure tinged with romance and suspense. This is a story that will keep you flipping pages – or mashing Kindle keys.

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