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Ever since Thea Fenton’s grandmother died a few months ago, the 16-year-old’s world begins to unravel. Grams, a godly woman, had been the foundation and anchor of Thea’s family, reading the Bible and giving them a sense of security. Now that Grams is gone, Thea’s parents’ fights intensify, and her brother, Tom, distances himself from the family after a teen from Thea’s high school commits suicide.

Thea is ashamed that she’s begun to harm herself to alleviate her inner turmoil over Grams’ death and the teen’s suicide. The fear that she’s going crazy haunts her, and how can she explain what happened to her at the breakfast table with her parents in the room? Thea’s world had suddenly faded to “endless, blurring, white light,” and in her mind she heard the words, “Be still.”

Thea doesn’t understand what happened to her, and the experience both comforts and scares her. When she meets Khi, an exchange student from Iceland at a local coffee shop, he seems to understand her instantly and asks her if she is aware of the gift that she possesses, a gift he also shares. As Thea gets to know Khi, she learns to accept and appreciate her giftedness in the midst of her brokenness and begins to understand and trust the voice urging her to be still.

In notes accompanying this compelling novel for young adults, author Tara K. Ross shares how her own mental health struggles, her Christian faith, and her years of journeying with and hearing the stories of at-risk youth helped shape the character of Thea. Ross’s skillfully rendered dialogue, astute understanding of mental health issues among teens, and faith in God’s unfailing love offered in human brokenness make this a timely and relevant read. 

(Illuminate YA)

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