Thursday 3 November 2022

A Voice is Born - Eric Thomas Ruthford - Camp St Innocent Book 2

A Voice in the Born
Camp St Innocent Book 2
ISBN 9798357647009

I was greatly impressed by the first book in this series, Voice in the Storm, as a debut novel it was a very impressive and ambitious offering. My son and I used adaptive technology and listened to that book. The story enthralled both of us. When this second one came out my son already had a few on his reading pile, so I meant to give it a quick look and ended up reading it in a few sittings. My son plans to read it to me after he has finished the four and a half ahead of it on his list. While reading these books I think of Dan Gutman, Tony Abbot, Andrew Clements, Gordon Korman and others that write for this target audience. The big difference between their works and this series is the strong faith element and that the Orthodox Faith is central to most characters and all the stories in this collection. The first volume was 5 separate stories and this one is 1 story, with a central character and several elements of that story.

The description of this volume is:

“Helene and her mother, Katherine, return to Camp St. Innocent as volunteers. Helene’s cabin of elementary schoolers have her stretched to the limit when Katherine, who is expecting her second child, starts behaving strangely. Helene has to figure out how to get her mother help. This year, the job of daughter and sister is going to be harder than anything Helene’s been through before.

A Voice is Born is the second in the young-adult Christian coming-of-age series of Camp St. Innocent novels, and the sequel to A Voice is Born. These novels, focusing on a group of Orthodox Christian teenagers, are full of hope, humor, and faith.”

There is some pretty heavy material in this volume, even more so than the first volume in the series. This one deals with a pregnant mother having a medical event while at camp with her daughter. A little brother born prematurely and being in PICU, while the mother is moved. And there is a teen pregnancy. And someone dealing with PTSD. Throughout the story Helen needs to find her Voice, as an advocate for her mother, for her premature brother, for her friend, and for making changes to how camp is done in the future. And the epilogue gives us a glimpse of that future.

I love the way that Ruthford infuses the stories with the Orthodox faith. 

The writing flows in an easy and engaging manner. The story moves at a steady pace, and the pacing is excellent. The story reminds me of Madeleine L’Engle’s Chronos or real time series and books. The characters could be people you know in your church or neighbourhood. I love the close knit Orthodox community even though geographically they are spread apart. And I love the way Ruthford crafts his characters and plots. The events are plausible. And the interactions between the tweens and teens is like a peek into their lives and thought processes. 

This is an excellent story. I was impressed by the 5 stories in the first volume and this one impressed me even more. I would have no concern recommending it to my Catholic readers, or to be honest for any middle grade or teen readers. It was an excellent read and I look forward to the announced third volume in the series, Tea With the Dead on Sunday: How I Lost My Voice in Ukraine. It is a great read filled with faith, family, and friendships, perfect for young readers and their families. An excellent offering in what is shaping up to be a wonderful series. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! This book is Orthodox Christian but adding it to my Catholic reading list.

Books by Eric Thomas Ruthford:
Heaven Help the Single Christian

Camp St. Innocent Series:
Tea With the Dead on Sunday: How I Lost My Voice in Ukraine

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