Reviewed by Darcie Gudger
From Bad to Worse by Todd & Jedd Hafer
"...a masterfully crafted work of literary art..."
Holy poop on a stick the size of Texas, you have to read this book if
you are a teen or a parent of a teen, or even know a teen or two.
Todd and Jedd Hafer made me scream with laughter as they continued the life journey of Griffin Smith who is the main character from Bad Idea. If it’s even possible, From Bad to Worse is better than Bad Idea, which is fantastic (check out the TitleTrakk review on Bad Idea here).
Multiple dimensions of Griffin’s character develop as he and his forever crush, Amanda Mac make a long road trip from Oregon to Kansas.
Life hasn’t been kind to Griffin. Broken home, best friend making out with Dad’s twenty-something fiancé and finding step-brother dead only scratch the surface of his troubled life.
So, spending a few days with the woman of his dreams seems like a reprieve or dream come true. Honest conversations and overpowering temptation make this trip anything but a smooth ride. Griffin is forced to face brewing doubts and questions about life and God that he’d rather ignore in a painkiller induced haze of cotton-bran.
A Mac-inspired game of Five Minutes of Truth unleash Griffin’s deepest darkest secrets, some of which wound Amanda to the core. It takes a near death tangle with a Wal-Mart sign for Griffin to uncover the root of his self-destructive behavior: fear of death. The discovery of his stepbrother’s suicide haunts him.
You see, that August morning when I stood there by Dalton’s bed seeing him dead, I couldn’t help but imagine myself in that state someday…Anyway, I started to wonder… was Dalton’s spirit hovering over his cold body? And, if it was, was the Dalton-spirit at peace, or was he full of anger and regret?
The hard, cold reality of death should make us all humble. Christians, especially, should freakin’ own humble. I mean, who was more humble than Christ? But as far as I know, Christ was nothing more than an explicative for Dalton, and he was closer to humble than any of those dudes I’ve seen on TV. And way, way closer to humble than the poser I see in the mirror every day.
I think by now, you’re
getting a glimpse of the depth in which the brothers Hafer candidly explore
the inner conflict of post-modern youth. Believing in a God, who calls
Himself good, appears to make as much sense as some bizarre
exercise in underwater yoga. For kids today, faith and reality collide
littering life with innumerable casualties. Todd and Jedd understand this
and through a masterfully crafted work of literary art, demonstrate how
faith in Jesus Christ is relevant and freeing.
I’m going to take a risk here and bring up the controversial topic of book placement. Young adult books with a Christian theme are often shelved where most teens wouldn’t be caught dead shopping--Christian bookstores (which are hard to find these days), and the Inspiration section of big box stores. Teens search for good reads on the “other” side of the big-box store and talk up books they love to their friends. In order to cross The Line, a book must reach a popular best-seller list.
So, I’m asking you to help the Hafer brothers’ message get to its intended audience by buying the book and giving it to kids. Buy a bulk of them for the kids in the youth group or high school marching band. Tell parents whose kids are toying with self-destruction about this book. Donate a copy or two or three to local school, church and public libraries. Start book clubs with parents of teens, and then lead a book club for teens.
The answers today’s youth seek are out there. Do what you can to make sure they get their hands on it
Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.