Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Family Reunion Review

Family Reunion 
By: Kelsey Bryant
Rating: 3 stars
Ages: 10 and up

Every word, every moment matters...

Welcome to the Austin Family Reunion! 14-year-old Marielle Austin's parents and grandparents are hosting family for a week in the Texas hill country, and Marielle's five girl cousins are staying at her house. Emma and Caroline are her best friends - like her, they're homeschooled and passionate about the Lord, the past, and books. Abby, Kailey, and Reanna are from Wisconsin and just as far away in background and interests - what's hot in the world now is what matters to them. 

Grandpa Will Austin has devised a series of projects for the six of them to complete. There's a shed to fix up, a missionary to interview, and a trail of clues to solve, leading to a treasure. If they finish by the end of the week and work together with love and understanding, they'll earn a prize beyond anything they could imagine! But difficulties surface right away. Bad attitudes and work ethics seem all Abby, Kailey, and Reanna can offer. Marielle, Emma, and Caroline are at a loss - what can they do to push the projects through? And more importantly, what can they do about their cousins, who won't welcome their friendship? How can they show love when it's hard even to feel it? Will the mysterious prize slip away, and with it any chance of relationship?

Family Reunion by Kelsey Bryant was a fun, clean read. It was light, but it also had some deeper points that teach lessons. It had a simple storyline, but a strong underlying message - forgiveness, loving others, and seeing what we have in common with those around us. This book showed how real life is! The three girls from Texas - Marielle, Emma, and Caroline - have to overcome their differences with their three girl cousins from Wisconsin - Abby, Kailey, and Reanna. And, boy, what a ride it is! 


Marielle Austin isn't your typical teenage girl. She's a very relatable character to someone like me. She's homeschooled, a strong Christian, and enjoys history, books, classical music, and spending time in nature - all things I enjoy. I was actually instantly surprised with how relatable she was. Her sentiments toward and struggle with Abby, Kailey, and Reanna was so realistic. It would have been extremely hard in her situation. I can honestly say that all the characters were very realistic. 

Caroline Austin  - I could relate to Caroline more than I could all the others. Maybe it's because we're the same age - thirteen. She was dynamic and bold. Her reactions and feelings portrayed throughout the book were so understandable (with all the other characters as well). 

Emma Austin - sweet, sensitive to those around her, and sensible! I would say she was the wisest and most sensible girl in the book.  

Kailey Austin was, frustratingly enough, probably a good portrayal of a typical fifteen-year-old girl. I have to say I was annoyed with her throughout most of the book. I wish she would've stopped saying 'like' all the time! She did get better in the end, though.

Reanna Austin was by far my favorite of the Wisconsin girl cousins. She actually had a good head on her shoulders. She was shy, quiet, sweet, loved music, and was friendly to Marielle. It would be hard not to like her.

Abigail "Abby" Austin, the elder sister of Kailey, was a good character. I say that honestly. She was realistic. Her character made for some obstacles, but she was so much better in the end!


I was so happy with the end when Reanna finally came around! That was one of my favorite parts. It was so refreshing after all of the trouble everyone was having with each other when she admitted she had been wrong and accepted Marielle, Emma, and Caroline's apology. I was also really happy with Abby in the end. She was so much better than she was when the book first started! I enjoyed the references to classical and Celtic music, and also the references to Narnia and C.S. Lewis - I love The Chronicles of Narnia!

Two things I want to say, though, is that, for a book of its genre, with no action, it was a bit long. And, also, I really felt all the while that the girls should have talked to their grandfather about the hard time they were having and that he would have completely understood - but their not wanting to upset their chances at getting the prize and their wanting to deal with it themselves and be responsible was understandable.

I enjoyed and liked Family Reunion. It was a very godly book! I would recommend it to any Christian girl looking for a read with real-to-life characters and a strong Christian message. It teaches some good lessons that we need to hear.

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