Reviewed by Darcie Gudger
On the Loose by
Jenny B. Jones
"Jenny B. Jones did it again. She made me howl with laughter, scaring my husband to death as we drove fourteen hours from Minneapolis to Denver."
A tornado rips through the small town of In Between, Texas striking fear and doubt into the heart of teenager, Katie Parker. Winds howl around the home of her foster family while she wonders where she’d end up if her life is sucked away. The Scott’s house only suffers minor damage while other homes are reduced to a pile of pick-up sticks. Among the homeless is Maxine!
War breaks out over animal prints and pink when Maxine, Katie’s foster grandmother, becomes her bunkmate. In the midst of wrestling for a design compromise the Scott family is crushed when Katie’s foster mother, Millie, is diagnosed with cancer. Then Katie is passed over for the lead part in the school play and accused of theft in the locker room. Life can’t possibly get any worse… can it?
Circumstances continue spiraling downward. Doubts echo louder and louder in Katie’s brain until she wonders if she should just return herself to the girl’s home near Dallas. A fierce struggle between reality and what it means to have faith in Jesus breaks out in her heart as she tries to understand why bad things happen to good people.
Jenny B. Jones did it again. She made me howl with laughter, scaring my husband to death as we drove fourteen hours from Minneapolis to Denver. I lost count of how many times the car lurched to the left or right… Maxine’s antics are taken up a notch in this second installment of the Katie Parker Production series, and the chemistry between Katie and Maxine is electrifying.
On the other hand, tears stung my eyes when Millie Scott is diagnosed with cancer. Jones knows how to pull the reader’s emotions into the story. Her dialogue is snappy and real. Pacing is fast---so fast I finished the book before we entered Northeastern Colorado! I closed the cover longing for more.
Minor subplots of teen romance, cliques and rivalry only enhance the main plot of the book, making this a great read for any teenager. The salvation message is presented in the most non-preachy way I’ve yet to read in a Young Adult novel.
I wish more books like the Katie Parker series were on the shelf alongside the raunchy “Gossip Girls” and “It Girl” collections.
Keep ‘em coming Jenny – your writing ROCKS!
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.