Awakening, by Claudia Cangilla McAdam, is a marvelous book that expertly weaves many of the Bible accounts around the events of Good Friday into an enjoyable young adult novel.

McAdam uses a simple and effective device to bring this ancient world to new life and does so with such wonderful invention and skill that you find yourself surprised by the stories you have heard so many times before.

Awakening, published by Sophia Institute Press, follows the touching story of Veronica, a young teen struggling with the loss of her father and brother. Her relationship with her mother has become strained as the world she knows and loves seems to be falling apart around her.

Struggling with a high fever, she falls asleep and awakens to find herself in Jerusalem during the time of Christ.

As a matter of fact, she not only is living in Biblical times, she is one of the characters in the Bible, the young girl who was brought back to life by Jesus himself. Yet, unlike that little girl, she knows what is about to unfold. She knows Jesus is about to be betrayed. She knows he will be crucified and buried. What should she do? Try and stop it from happening or watch Jesus suffer and die?

Here is where McAdam’s skill as a writer shines bright. Attempting such a retelling is fraught with danger. Will she do so respectfully? Will she resort to cliche? How can you retell a story we’ve heard so many times with a new voice that doesn’t diminish the events it relives?

McAdam brilliantly weaves characters from Veronica’s modern-day life into her biblical one. Within a few pages you find yourself transported along with her, believing that her family is in the inner circle of the followers of Christ. As Veronica juggles learning how to live in the Biblical world with her knowledge of what will happen there, we can’t help but be drawn into the story.

The reader finds themselves where most people have only dreamt of existing; in the presence of a living, breathing Jesus. How wonderful would it be to be transported back and to have a conversation with Jesus? Or to be at the Last Supper? How magical would such an experience be?

That’s what McAdam’s book brings, magic and awe. I can’t delve into the details about how she interjects Veronica into the events around the Good Friday without taking away from McAdam’s mastery of storytelling, but she subtly ties numerous Biblical events seamlessly together in a way that makes them fresh and new again.

An amazing feat.

Awakening is an enjoyable, worthy read for young adults and older. I highly recommend it.

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