Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Review of The Fourth Nephite

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I bet you thought I wouldn’t blog today. Ha! I was finishing Jeff Savage’s book, The Fourth Nephite and all I can say is . . .


First of all, as most of you know, I am not a big fan of cliffhangers, but luckily, Jeff Savage doesn’t do that in this book. He does make it obvious that there will be another book, though, and frankly, with as good as this one was, I wish it was out already.

I am trying not to gush here, but there is just something about Jeff’s writing. It pulls you in, it is engaging and it’s just so real! It’s like you’re right there with his main character, Kaleo Steele, being pulled into a situation where you don’t really want to be there, but can’t figure out how to get out of it, and then it all goes wrong and you wish you could turn back time. The setting and descriptions add a great deal to the book and, it’s hard to describe, but somehow each setting sort of feels familiar, like I’ve been there before. It just says so much about the kind of author Jeff is because with the way he writes, it is so easy to put myself there with the character. And speaking of characters, I loved the main character Kaleo because, after having so many teenage boys myself, he is very convincing in how he is portrayed. He is a teenager who is going through doubts about what he knows to be true, the feelings he has about his future and how his character changes and grows throughout the book with the experiences he has. I can’t think of any teenager who doesn’t go through those sorts of feelings at one time or another and the author handles that aspect masterfully.

To be honest, this entire story is different than I thought it would be. For some reason I thought it would be another regular time travel plot, where the main character spends the whole time trying to get home, and trying not to alter something that happened in the past. Like a Mormon Back to the Future or something. Suffice it to say that this book is nothing like I expected. At all. There are twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and I really had a hard time putting the book down because I wanted to see where the author and the main character were going to take the plot thread. It was the same for my twelve year old son who was reading it with me. We both had a hard time stopping at two or three chapters a night, but more than that, this book brought up several discussions about what we would do if we were in the same situation as Kaleo. Those are the kind of books that we love, the ones that make us think and give us a lot to talk about at our Family Book Club.

There are so many good YA books out there right now, but The Fourth Nephite is a great book that really stands out from the rest. It feels authentic and true to life, and it is something entertaining as well as something that makes you think long after you’ve put it down. I also think it is the mark of a gifted writer to be able to make the reader feel like they’ve actually experienced what the main character has and this book has that in spades. The Fourth Nephite has kept us talking about it as a family throughout the entire book, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

Definitely a two thumbs up, highly recommended read for both adults and youth who read YA and like a fresh YA plot with great characters. But overall, my son and I both say it is a must-read for youth who love a fantastic story with an original twist that keeps you reading even when you know you’re supposed to be in bed.

The Fourth Nephite
by Jeffrey S. Savage
Published by Deseret Book
The ARC I received was 251 pages with Authors Notes


At 9/02/2010 11:59 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Oh, Julie. You just made my day. Heck, you made my year! I'm so glad you and your son liked 4th Nephite!

At 9/03/2010 12:00 AM, Blogger CTW said...

I enjoy Jeff's writing too. He's a cool guy--glad he's around.

At 9/03/2010 2:39 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Does CTW = Choose the Wrong? ;)

I'm in the middle of his Time to Die right now, and I would have to agree with your sentiments about Jeff. The scene in ice cream parlor had me grinning with delight. I remember thinking, "Wow, this is really amazing writing. I actually feel like I'm witnessing this scene on the spot."

So, I'm putting Fourth Nephite on my wish list now.

At 9/07/2010 2:51 PM, Blogger Julie Wright said...

Amen Julie! It was a fantastic read! All of Jeff's books are fantastic. This one was especially so.


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