As I read through this book, clutching the pages in suspense at times, I was enthralled with Bound By Guilt. Even though I haven't read the first book in the series, I was able to jump right into the story, though enough history is given of Thicker Than Blood that I now want to dive straight into that book. The opening scene, with Roxi and Diego, sucked me right into this story and didn't let me go until I had read the last word on the epilogue page. What a story this book told!
Bound By Guilt is filled with a host of believable, three-dimensional characters. Sixteen year old Roxi was my favorite person to read about, but Deigo, Christy, Abby, and Jan were just as endearing. Even though Diego had made a huge mistake in his life, he realized his wrong and wanted to face up to the consequences of his actions. I really came to like this older-brother figure of Roxi's. Christy and Abby were perfect together--they were more alike than they realized. Survivors of similar evils. I really enjoyed watching their friendship bloom. And Jan. Wow. She was just one amazing lady. The way she cared for Roxi and loved her in a way that no one ever had, was touching. I always looked forward to scenes between these two, knowing they would be powerful.
This story was refreshingly unique. With the whole plot revolving around The Great Gatsby book, Roxi's life as an accomplice to a mother and son business of stealing rare books, and then her struggle to survive on her own, isn't a normal plot. It was amazing! Just when I thought Roxi's trouble would be over, something is thrown into her plans and she finds herself worse-off than before.
Gifted with a wonderful, engaging writing voice, CJs skill with words is amazing. Reading this book was so easy and I quickly found myself getting lost in the story almost the instant I began reading. She made the scenes come alive. There were times that I looked up from Bound By Guilt and was surprised not to be in the middle of a used bookstore, holding an antique copy of The Great Gatsby, or a R. R. Tolkien book. A very neat, and unique, experience that doesn't happen often.
There were some points in this book that I really wished I had read Thicker Than Blood first and had been able to connect with the characters there first before reading Bound By Guilt. This was probably my only negative thought as I read through this book--everything else was amazing and wonderful! The message this book gives, about being weighed down with guilt and the story of one very lonely girl just yearning to feel loved, was powerful. There are many teenagers out there in the world today that are in her same plight. It makes me pray that each of these teens will find a "Jan" in their life to show them how much they are loved by their Heavenly Father. Bound By Guilt is packed with adventure, suspense, mystery, and a powerful message that you are not soon to forget!
I reviewed this book for Tyndale House Publishing. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.