Reviewed by Darcie Gudger
Knuckle Sandwich by Adam Palmer
"...Adam Palmer and colleagues don't just tell compelling stories---they change lives."
Something’s up with YA (young adult) novels; something so incredible, I urge readers of all ages who were once a teenager themselves or know a teen, to stampede bookstores. Adam Palmer will meet you there to give you a Knuckle Sandwich -- and you’re gonna like it.
Jeremiah Springfield and his best buddy, Dan, were sure their worship band “Teens Ablaze” left the other bands lined up to lead worship at Camp Laodicea weak-kneed backstage. “Shekinah Glory” followed them and ripped up the stage. Jeremiah and Dan are awed by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Matt Ripke of “Shekinah”. Matt was equally impressed with Jeremiah’s ability. “Knuckle Sandwich” was conceived in the humid Texas heat to “…make some noise for JESUS!”
Local tours became national tours with the aide of an agent eager to fire off demo CD’s to the hottest labels in the Christian music scene. Along with touring the country came girls. What else can handsome sweaty boys with instruments on a stage ask for?
Where there are girls and boys in close quarters there is sex. Faith smashes head-on into reality. Life on stage becomes a lie. Will the band survive?
Is Dan being judgmental when he confronts Jeremiah about his new addiction, or is he an archetype of BFFs (best friend forever/TRUE Christian brother)?
I love how Adam Palmer isn’t afraid to Go There – into the dark alleyways of life Christian YA books of yesteryear either ignored, or only alluded to. Harsh reality creates emotional ties between readers and characters. Teens no longer need feel alienated by fake Christian utopias. They will see that no matter how intense the desire to “Make some noise for JESUS”, they are not immune to common temptations. The human spirit is powerless, but Jesus always provides a way out when asked.
My sides ached for days because Palmer’s unparalleled humor had me gasping for air. Cradle Christians (saved at an early age) will garner the most guffaws. Palmer pokes fun at the churchy institution and its stuffy culture. His innuendoes are brilliant!
The simplicity of Palmer’s writing style amplifies the powerful complex message. You’d have to be in a coma to miss it.
TH1NK, an imprint of NavPress, is boldly altering the image of Christian young adult fiction and has cranked out some of the best contemporary fiction on any bookshelf in any store. Adam Palmer, the Hafer brothers (Bad Idea & From Bad to Worse), Jenny B. Jones (Katie Parker Production Series) and Michelle Buckman (Maggie Come Lately & My Beautiful Disaster) deserve the round table inside the entry way of major bookstore chains. Stories such as these challenge Christians, through powerful story and memorable characters, to pull their heads out of their, um… under-carriage and wake up to reality.
Authors such as Adam Palmer and colleagues, don’t just tell compelling stories, they change lives.
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.