Hamilton tackles real-life issues in Rustic Knoll series

Award-winning author, Mary Hamilton, tackles real-life issues in her books Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, and See No Evil.

In Hear No Evil, Brady’s first time at camp doesn’t start off so well since his mother seems to be ditching him for no reason. Working through his fear, anger, and hurt, Brady discovers the mystery which sent him to camp. While he gets himself into some trouble, he makes a powerful discovery which helps him find the answers and peace that he seeks. Anyone who has ever felt unloved and deserted will relate with Brady, who even wonders if God cares about him. I remember being in such a dark place, which isn’t any fun. I think Hamilton did a good job with this, keeping it suspenseful and making me want to continue reading to see how it worked out.

In Speak No Evil, Taylor lands at camp with his sister who thinks breaking the rules without getting caught is a lot of fun. Her poor choices keep getting worse and landing her brother into trouble because he keeps protecting her and taking the blame until finally he is in such serious trouble and willing to lose everything for her that she has to make a choice. If you want to know what a bad friend looks like and what real love is, you’ll find it in this novel.

See No Evil tackles a tough topic–sexting and pornography–that I’ve never seen addressed in YA lit. This is an issue that some kids struggle with so I’m glad she has included it in another well-written novel. I was a little nervous about the topic when I first picked up the book, but in the end, there were no concerns. She handled it tastefully. I liked her message of respecting yourself, others, and God. Hamilton’s story flows. Faith is simply a part of the story. It is by no means preachy in anyway. I thoroughly appreciate how she weaves in her message of hope. Other tough issues tackled in this book are dealing with cancer and dealing with past losses. Heroism and genuine friendship are seen in this story. It also covers disappointments and joys.

Hamilton’s powerful and creative Bible lessons in the camp chapel scenes are inspiring and encouraging. I love that she has this underlying theme that God made each of us uniquely and wonderfully, “woven deliberately and purposefully with love”.

“You are a work of art, created by the greatest artist of all time.” You may see a flaw, but our perfect God doesn’t make mistakes.

Having a blind hero is also unique. I like how Steven looks to learn what is valuable about being blind–what can he “see” that others can’t or don’t?

I recommend the first two books for MG and YA readers, and the third book for older kids, especially boys who are interested in competitive sports. I look forward to more from Hamilton.

 

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