This Changes Everything, for teens by a teen, is a handy guidebook for young people setting out on their Christian journey.
This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years by Jaquelle Crowe. Crossway, 2017, 153 pages.
Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15
Recommended for: ages 12-18
Christian young people today, whether raised in a serious, theologically-grounded family or not so much, often miss the point. That is, they see life as a mountain to climb or a beach to be enjoyed, with Christianity as something to carry along in their backpack. Some teens appear to be truly sold in Jesus in high school, only to sell out in college. Could that be because the gospel failed to penetrate into their inmost being? Jaquelle Crowe sets out to explain in clear terms, peer-to-peer, that the work of Christ really does change everything, for every human being who professes Him. As someone with a toe in the teen years herself (she’s nineteen, as of the book’s publication in March), she has young-adult concerns at heart, along with the spiritual knowledge and maturity to address them.
This Changes Everything might best be described as The Pursuit of Holiness for young adults. It begins, appropriately, with identity in Christ, the bedrock from which to distinguish all the other “identities” contemporary Americans claim for themselves. It’s based on “Our Story,” which is Christ’s story of forgiveness and redemption and what that means for us. These two chapters are the foundation for all that follows, laying out Christian views of church, sin, spiritual discipline leading to spiritual growth, managing time, and managing relationships. All of this is biblically sound and admirably concise, making for an excellent high school graduation gift. At the risk of sounding like a wet blanket, I would just add that Jaquelle is very young, and some of her knowledge is by necessity more authority-based than experience-based. Of course, authority is vital for any Christian to acknowledge, and yet most of us will have to stumble around a bit, and even fall, while testing it. Don’t expect your teen to take off and fly into mature spiritual adulthood by just by reading books. Still, they need guidance for the road ahead, and Jaquelle’s clear-headed, plain-spoken admonition can help show them the terrain.
Overall Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
- Worldview/moral value: 5
- Artistic value: 4