Author: Russell J. Sanders
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4.25 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 04/23/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Ethan Harker is the son of The Prophet, the stern, demanding leader of a small Southwestern polygamous community. Ethan has been groomed to one day take his place as the leader of this isolated cult.
But things happen that compel Ethan to flee his stifling community and find his way in the world beyond it. Totally out of his depth, he is sheltered by a remarkable group of people from a loving and accepting church. From them, he learns what family truly means and begins to construct a life free from the restrictions he’s grown up with. Little by little he dismisses the assumptions he was taught about the “evil” people in the outside world.
Amid all this, Ethan realizes something about himself when he meets rapper Kyan, a boy his age. Although he’s been brought up to fear and hate members of Kyan’s race, he can’t help falling in love with Kyan. Fueled by a new understanding and new friends, Ethan gains the strength and courage to conquer the confusing world he has been thrust into.
The Book of Ethan was a very enjoyable read that doesn’t easily fit into any specific subgenre. Part romance, part coming-of-age and all written extremely well. The author definitely has talent.
Ethan is a member of a religious community (I would call it a cult) known as The Family. He’s the eldest son of the man who leads the community and Ethan is destined to one day be the prophet himself, even though he isn’t thrilled about the idea.
Polygamy and exclusion from the outside world is a large part of The Family, though Ethan gets some time outside the fence when he makes errands into town. During one such trip he sees a young black man performing a rap and is impressed, even drawn to the guy. This is a shock since Ethan has been taught that black people are filthy and stupid.
Ethan hasn’t been sure about The Family’s beliefs for some time but hasn’t really questioned things until a series of events makes him walk away from everything he’s ever known. His journey to a new life leads to amazing new friends, a boyfriend and more.
Organized religions such as the one portrayed here, most likely modeled after certain Mormon factions, fascinate me and I loved the in-depth look. I would say the author has personal knowledge of such religions or did major research. It all felt real to me, as did Ethan’s fears about starting a new life.
My only complaints are that everything went right for Ethan so quickly. He makes friends with everyone he meets, he finds the perfect job immediately, etc. Realistically he would’ve had a few more issues other than a couple panic attacks.
I loved Kyan and Ethan’s relationship but they jumped to saying I love you awfully fast. Kyan’s street talk also got annoying very quickly. Some readers might call it stereotypical but I’m going to say it was accurate. Kudos to the author for that.
Overall an extremely good read and unlike anything I’ve read in the genre lately.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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