The New Recruit / Jill Williamson. May 08, 2013

The New Recruit / by Jill Williamson (Mission 1: Moscow)

Marcher Lord Press (September 1, 2012)  ISBN 978-1935929703

MS (HS), grades 8-12, rating: 4. Paperback.

Award-winning author Jill Williamson delivers a contemporary book filled with spies and adventure, just the type of book to appeal to teens.

In The New Recruit, teenager Spencer Garmond has gotten in too many fights. His grandma gives him a choice: attend a military school where he would give up basketball or go on a summer trip with the Mission League.  What Spencer doesn’t know is that the Mission League is more of a Christian spy organization than a Bible club. Spencer is not a Christian, so neither choice appeals to him.

Once he decides to go with the Mission League, he begins training in espionage for his trip to Moscow. One of his new friends explains, “The Mission League takes on the forces of darkness to expose the truth” (p.43). He is bullied by one League member, and even faces a few near-death experiences.

Williamson does a good job of capturing the teen boy persona. He is “real” in his struggles with faith issues. He doesn’t become a Christian by the end of the book, nor does everything work out. The book is filled with good and bad examples of teens, and it is usually clear which one is which.

The New Recruit is a good start to a new series with possibilities for more adventures. A cast of characters, a glossary of Russian terms, an author’s note (which encourages the reader to study Bible references about spiritual gifts and might have been better included at the end of the book), and acknowledgements are included.

Recommended for teen collections in public libraries, church libraries, and school libraries.

Carol R. Gehringer

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