MASS Book Review

Mass Book Review A novel by Kristen Durfee

How do you choose between your faith and your future?

Sixteen-year-old Stevie Albie is a religious person, but nothing prepares her for meeting Mary. Like the Mary, mother of Jesus. Just as Stevie becomes convinced she has a special connection with God, doctors discover a brain tumor in her frontal lobe they claim is causing the hallucinations.

Her parents insist on removing the tumor as quickly as possible, but Stevie isn’t so sure. Feeling special for the first time in her life, she runs away to a religious cult that’s convinced her visions are their salvation and vow to protect her. But as time goes on she suspects they have their own agenda. Torn on who to trust, Stevie wonders if she’ll have to choose: her visions or her future?

**This version is free of profanity.**

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MASS is an emotional, touching, rollercoaster ride that leaves a heartwarming lasting impression. Author Kristin Durfee hooks the reader’s attention from the first page and holds on until the gratifying ending.

When sixteen-year-old Stevie is diagnosed with brain cancer, it’s devastating. But a beautiful side effect is a heavenly connection that Stevie will lose if the tumor’s removed. Stevie is adamant to keep her spiritual relationship alive by refusing to have life-saving surgery, creating understandable chaos and angst within her family. It feels like a satisfying resolution is impossible. 

Even though Stevie is only sixteen years old, her desire to be heard and understood is a relatable human condition that any teen (or adult) can understand and appreciate. Her admirable, staunch stand fuels the decisions she makes that test everything she believes about family, trust, and following your heart.

When I first read the synopsis and learned that the young main character had brain cancer, I wasn’t sure I could enjoy the book. But the cancer was necessary because the tough situation Stevie faced was fundamental to the premise. Ms. Durfee handles the medical aspect with enough detail to feel authentic but without so much emphasis that it overtakes the storyline. Anyone concerned with the book being a “downer” because the character has brain cancer shouldn’t let that factor sway their decision to read this compelling and uplifting book.

This post may contain affiliate links. This is my full disclosure.

I read the ‘clean version’ of MASS and appreciated that this option is available along with the standard version.

Who would enjoy this book?

My perspective for this review was for Christian preteens or teens and it hits the mark for a compelling read. Although many young adults may not relate to having cancer, they can certainly appreciate the family dynamics, disagreement with parents, and the feeling of wanting to be heard, understood, and belong. As for Christian youth who are exploring their relationship with God, Stevie’s journey can serve as a reminder that God communicates with His people when we keep our minds and heart open to Him. This book isn’t overly Christian or preachy in any way. As such, MASS is suitable for non-practicing Christians and agnostics as well.

How this book affected me

As a person who has experienced several God-moments in my life, I related to Stevie’s unrelenting desire to keep her communication channel open and admired her determination. My heart is lighter and happier for having read this book.

Meet The Author: Kristin Durfee

Kristin Durfee is the author of MASS (Orange Blossom Publishing), The Four Corners Trilogy (Black Opal Books), and short stories appearing in several Thriller, Speculative, and Contemporary anthologies for adults. She is a member of the Florida Writers Association.

OUR CHRISTIAN BOOK REVIEWS:

The book reviews at Finding God Among Us focus on Christian books – adult and children, fiction and nonfiction. Our specialty is books on faith and new Christian book releases. We’re proud to be included in the Top 20 Christian Book Review Bloggers.  I chose to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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MASS is our first review for teen audiences, but if you enjoy Christian nonfiction, you might want to check out the reviews for these other books:

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