The gift card winners' names appear at the bottom of this review. You each have one week to email a mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your gift cards. After that another winner will be chosen.
Donut Days is Lara Zielin's debut novel. It's about a teen-age girl whose parents are preachers at an evangelical church in a small and very religious community.
Emma, the main character, struggles to determine what exactly her beliefs are as she does not speak in tongues or have prophecies like the members of her parents' church do. Her situation is compounded by several factors. The church's wealthiest member/benefactor claims to have had a prophecy in which God told him women shouldn't preach. This is a problem for Emma and her family because her parents pretty much built the church and her mother is the associate pastor. In addition to this, she isn't on speaking terms with her best friend and her other friend, a guy, and she haven't spoken in months. She must determine what her beliefs are and how she feels about what's going on at the church alone.
She does this very well while fighting with her parents, and her friend and fighting to win a scholarship as her college fund is only to be used at a Christian college.
Emma is a strong character, almost too much so. But she does accept that she has flaws, which makes her very likable. As she struggles to determine her own religious beliefs, she struggles to find who she is. A struggle most young people face and a struggle many of us continue to face on a daily basis. It's a very real story. Unfortunately, it has a very slow start. I was about one hundred pages in before I really felt compelled to continue. (Before that I was reading it for this review). But after it takes off, it's gone. It gets really exciting, an explosion of events, of language. It gets really good. Then it finishes with an open ending. While neither option is something you really wouldn't want to happen to Emma, it would be nice to know how her story ended. I would give this book three stars for the stuff between the slow beginning and the open ending.
Now for the gift card winners: 1st place Izzy G and 2nd place is Liviania. You each have one week to send me a valid mailing address at email@example.com. Congratulations! And, everyone, be on the lookout as I have it on good authority a signed and doodled in copy of Linger will be up for grabs in weeks to come ;).