Friday, April 6, 2012

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch – A Novel for Young Adults #Catholic @TMGaouette

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch Cover

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch a Novel by T. M. Gaouette
  • A New Novel For Young Adults by T.M. Gaouette 
  • A Story About a Catholic Couple, and Their Ministry to Young Foster Children
  • Paperback Volume - 184 pages
  • Suggested Retail Price $12.99
I just finished reading this novel, written for young adults, by T.M. Goouette.  The title is The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch.

Here I am, reading a few chapters during my down time at the water park:

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

I will freely admit - even though this book is written for teenagers, I was taken in fairly quickly.  The characters are well developed and likable, which made me want to see how things turned out for them.  I usually have a pile of serious tomes stacked up for my free reading time, and most are non-fiction titles.  It was an absolute pleasure to immerse myself in this story.

In addition to a delightful read, there are a few uplifting messages revealed in these pages.  For me, the most important was that faith is the only sure antidote for anxiety.  Coming in a closely behind were the ideas that God waits - and that where there is life, there is hope.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be a foster child, especially one who is moved from place to place.  That is who this story is about.  A lovable and diverse bunch of foster children and the couple who take them into their home.

I loved how Ms. Gaouette presented each child as unique, with his or her own defenses and coping mechanisms.  David and Martha Credence, (the foster parents) have a wonderful ability to understand these kids and assist them as they heal from their painful pasts. They carefully guide the group of young people towards faith, and help them to cope with new situations and emotions. Their capacity to love is amazing, and they have plenty for each of their charges.  Sunshine Ranch is a refuge.

Benedict is the main character, and he is introduced immediately.  He's only ten but he has had quite a rough life.  When he arrives at the ranch he isn't exactly sure what to make of it - or the oddly happy people living there. While the stories of the other children all intertwine through Benny's, the focus always returns to him.  He is a stubborn young man - bound and determined to avoid faith, refuse to trust, and to keep everyone at an arm's length.  He is determined not to become attached to this new home or it's inhabitants, even though Sunshine Ranch is everything he has ever wanted or hoped for.

Of course, just like the rest of us, this patched together family has it's share of ups and downs, joys and heartbreaks, worries and woes.  Through the characters we see the contrast between reactions based on faith, and reactions rooted in fear.

Without being preachy, The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch illustrates the very beautiful passage of Scripture,
I Can Do All things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.  Phillipans 4:13
The story also shows the detrimental effects that come from holding on to all of our hurts and our worries.  It is not an easy way to live!  Thankfully, readers will also see the profound joy that accompanies conversion.

I am sad to say, there have been times in my life when I have been like Benedict, and I know many Benedicts today.  Many "Benedicts" will show up in the pews during these days of the Triduum - and I pray that this is the year they decide to stay.

While the book is not drenched in Catholicism, it is clearly the faith of the Credence family and it is mentioned occasionally, throughout the pages.  Even so, I think it would be an appropriate book for a teen of any faith to read.

As a mom, I can easily recommend this novel for teens.  The plot is interesting, and there is just enough turmoil to hold the attention of younger people.  There are a few minor plot elements that could probably not happen in real life, but for the sake of the story, they work.  When I'm reading or watching a movie, I allow a little bit of creative license - and these minor blips would probably not register with an average teenager.

If you would like to purchase your own copy, you can order The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch online by visiting the author's website,  Barnes and Noble or through Amazon.

T.M. Gaouette is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, blogger, and fiction novelist. Devoted to Him, Gaouette is dedicated to glorifying God through her stories for children and young adults. She lives in New England with her husband and their children.

In order to write a blogged review, I was given a copy of the book.  I have no affiliation with the author or publisher, and I am not paid to write posts.