Let me start by saying I'm probably not the intended audience, but I kept an open mind and tried not to let my own views influence the way I felt about this book. It was an easy read, and would make a great Quick read for reluctant readers. For a first novel Ms. Zielin did well. The plot was simple and easy to follow, except for the abbreviated names, which made reading the story more difficult. I had to reread a few pages in the beginning until I could reliably figure out who the book was talking about. There was not enough character development for supporting characters; really, the only character you knew anything about was the main character herself. For many of the supporting characters, the only things you really learn about them are their names. There were a few details thrown in, but it would have been better if there were more, especially for those characters that appeared more often, such as Jake and Natalie. For example, why and when did Jake change his looks?
Emma, the main character is going through typical teenage anxiety about family and school life, but Ms. Zielin successfully adds in an extra little twist, by having Emma question her faith. It was interesting to get a glimpse into the life of someone growing up in an evangelical church. I liked Emma because she didn't accept things at face value, unlike some of her friends. Emma's friends however, were made out to be selfish, simple people; even her best friend, Natalie, was portrayed this way and I don't think that was the author's intention. The climax toward the end when the money was stolen seemed out of place and rushed. The ending wrapped most things up, and it was nice that her family became stronger. In all, I would give the book a 3 out of 5 rating.