(E) Ages 12-15, (F) Ages 15-18, (G) Ages 16 and up, Book Reviews, Christian, Discussion Starters, Nonfiction, Starred Reviews, Teen/Adult, Teen/YA
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*You Who by Rachel Jankovic

You Who: Why You Matter and How to Deal with It is a refreshing take on the “find yourself” messages blaring from our culture for teens and their parents.

*You Who: Why You Matter and How to Deal With It by Rachel Jankovic. Canon Press, 2019. 246 pages.

  • Reading Level: Adult
  • Recommended For: Ages 12 and up

Review updated 3/5/19.

In other words, the more we try to build up an identity apart from God and apart from His Word, the less truly “us” we become. It doesn’t matter how long or thoughtful or detailed the story you are writing is. If it is written by a character in the story rather than the Author of the story, it can only ever be tiny; it will always be minuscule by comparison. You cannot, as a character, outwrite the Author of you.

In a world trumpeting that we curate our own identities, Rachel Jankovic jumps in, megaphone in hand, to call us back to our real identity as image bearers, as children of God. But this is not just a book that reminds us “who” we are. No, first Jankovic tackles how existentialism has influenced our entire culture. She reminds us that we can’t go “halfsies” with the Lord … and with any other pursuit. And she calls us to plant flags of faithfulness in our everyday lives.

We often miss the forest for the trees, focusing on isolated issues such as social media use, modesty in our clothing choices, or how to raise children. Those are all legitimate areas for self-examination and all demand the wisdom of Scripture. Jankovic steps back, though, and looks at the forest: what are the messages we’re unconsciously imbibing from the mass culture that surrounds us? How have we been subtly duped into believing lies about our worth and identity? And, when we grapple with our identity as God’s children, what does that then mean? Then, it’s time for the trees themselves and the reminder that we seek to glorify God in all we do.

Highly recommended for moms and their teens! This book is targeted primarily to girls and women, but it’s not so “feminine” that guys can’t benefit from it as well.

A More Critical Review: Because there are some statements in this book that do bear further critique, please see this detailed review. The review has merit, but I also didn’t think the statements in You Who under consideration in this linked review were designed to be read in quite the same light. But we love to encourage readers to be discerning!

Note: this is one of our recommended titles in the “additional resources” section in our Faith, Fiction, & Fellowship Guide!

Cautions: none

Overall Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)

  • Worldview Rating: 5
  • Artistic Rating: 4.5

*Indicates starred review; You Who was given free by the publisher in return for a fair review.

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4 Comments

  1. Julie Zilkie says

    I absolutely love this book. I just got done reading it for the second time this month, and I think I could read it again. I have seen the culture around me, even among Christian women devolve into saying affirmations about themselves in the morning, telling everyone they are amazing, etc. I love how Rachel describes what we truly are, in one of the last chapters, without the only “I AM” that really matters– Him! Highly recommend!!

  2. Sunny says

    Thank you for the review and the link to the other review. Having not read the book, it’s hard to know if the other reviewer’s comments are out of context, but they definitely seem like cause for concern. I think I’ll try to find this at my library before I purchase it.

  3. Rachel Jankovic says

    Thank you for the great review! For those just coming to this fresh, I did respond to the review you linked to. In no way do I believe, teach, or assume works righteousness. I believe we are saved by Grace through faith and even that a gift lest anyone should boast.
    The quotes she lifted from the book are taken wildly out of context to support her assumptions, and are presented in a deceitful way. I hope that helps!

    • Thanks for clarifying your beliefs, Rachel! We love to encourage our readers to read discerningly, and we love raising conversation about God’s Word and books. And we love it when authors push us to do both of those, too.

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