Side by Side & Door to Freedom – Book Reviews

Hey y’all! Today we have two book reviews, cause they go together. So yay!

Side By Side 

By:  Jana Kelley

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

Third Person • Fiction • Two Points of View • 224 Pages

1d

 

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia’s life collides with that of another young woman. A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family’s business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . .forever.

Side by Side is based on real-life events. Part of New Hope Publishers’ contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader’s eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as pray for the salvation of those who persecute.

 

Why I Choose this Book:

In reality I chose to review this book’s sequel, Door to Freedom, and since the two books go together, they sent Side by Side to me as well.

What I Thought about this Book:

As someone who has grown up surrounded by people from different cultures, I always like to dig into a book where a unknown-to-me culture is portrayed in a realistic yet respectful way. The fact that the author loves the Sudanese people came through clearly, and that was amazing. Although I’ve never been to Sudan, I have been to another African country, as well as some Muslim countries. So, even though I didn’t know a ton about the culture there, I was sucked right into the world and could imagine it rather vividly.

There is so much hardship while trying to settle into a new country, and the author did a good job of showing the issues Mia, one of the duel main characters, went through. I know how difficult it can be to try and fit into another culture short-term, and I can’t even fathom how so many people do it long-term. Mia’s dedication to making connections throughout the book was something I admire in a lot of people and I was glad the author captured it in a novel. (Cause really, there’s nothing glamorous about it – yet the author made the book quite interesting.)

About half of the book takes place from the perspective of a Sudanese teenage girl. Her story captured me right away. From stories I’ve heard I knew her story is all too common, which is hard for my always-known-freedom brain to wrap around. I was reminded over and over again how blessed I am to live how I do and be able to believe what I want to believe.

The book wasn’t a light hearted read, but there was a very hope-filled feeling overall. The author did a great job of balancing everything so it was realistic, yet not discouraging.

 

Conclusion:

The author tackles some very hard issues making it so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone under the age of 16 or so without their parents looking through it. I was incredibly impressed though by the way the author handled everything.

Rating: 

I’m giving Side by Side 4 out of 5 stars, and 8 out of 10.

*I received this book from Litfuse

••••••••

Door to Freedom

By:  Jana Kelley

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

Third Person • Fiction • Two Points of View • 224 Pages

1

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

It’s rough and it’s smooth. It’s dark and it’s light. It’s a masterpiece. It’s us. Here in Sudan. We are scared of it and drawn to it. There is an open door, and there is much opposition.

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister’s sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedom, the freedom that only comes when you trust God’s sovereignty more than manmade security.

Part of New Hope Publishers’ line of contemporary missional fiction, Door to Freedom, the sequel to Side by Side, opens the reader’s eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Door to Freedom also reveals some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as for the salvation of the persecutors.

Why I Choose this Book:

 

The premise of the story fascinates me. I very much enjoy getting to learn about different cultures and people groups and religions. Plus, it’s based on real-life events. How could I pass it up?

What I Thought about this Book:

While I really liked this book, the first one did a better job of grabbing me in. Once again though, it was interesting and enlightening to dive into the story and see another culture. I especially liked getting to read from Rania’s perspective. She was the somewhat pesky younger sister in the last book, and she’d really changed and matured in this book. I can only imagine how crazy life would have been for her with trying to figure out what to do, knowing 100% what the consequences for her actions would be. Knowing in theory and knowing from example are two very different things.

This book talked about courage to speak up and say and do the right thing even when it’s scary. I think that’s a good lesson that a lot of people should learn. Being bold for Christ is important no matter where we live.

Although I did read the books in order, I’m pretty sure that anyone could read the second book in the series as a standalone. It was helpful to have the background information from the first book, but I didn’t feel like it was needed.

Conclusion:

My only big issue with the book is that the main couple didn’t have a good support system keeping them accountable spiritually. And while yes, I really like what they did, I also think it’s important to find a better balance with accountability.

In reality, there’s a good chance that the author agrees with that and it just didn’t come out in the book. And yes, I do very much realize that since they were living in a “closed” country that their support system would look totally different. And I also realize that they did meet with other believers – I just wish that would have been talked about a bit more in the book. I also fully realize that it’s very lonely and hard being in a country like that, and I think that’s what the author was trying to get across to the reader.

Rating: 

I’m giving Door to Freedom 3 out of 5 stars, and 7 out of 10.

*I received this book from Litfuse

2 thoughts on “Side by Side & Door to Freedom – Book Reviews

  1. Hannah M says:

    Wow, this sounds like a really interesting book duo! I love books about missionaries (I’m an MK myself), and seeing how the situation in Sudan is very relevant at this time (well basically the situation in the whole of the Middle East actually) I think that it’s great that there are Christian books about this country. Also the fact that they deal with evangelizing Muslims in a primarily Islamic country is intriguing to me. I’ll definitely be looking into these books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • aidylewoh says:

      Yay! I’m glad you’re going to look into the books. I did enjoy them and I learned a lot from them! (Although, to clarify, the characters in the books weren’t actually missionaries, they lived there for work and used it as a platform for being able to share Jesus.)
      And yes, I think I knew you were a MK? I’d actually be delighted to ask you a few questions about a book I’m brainstorming for if you’re ever interested. 🙂 If you are interested you could email me at aidylewoh@gmail.com. (But, come to think of it, I think you already have my email address from another time you answered some questions for me?)
      Have a great day!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s