There are some books that I just can’t critique too harshly because they hold such dear memories for me. The Christy Miller collection by Robin Jones Gunn is one of those series of books. I first read these books when I was a teenager, but I’m fairly certain I only read the first two collections (There are four collections of three books bound together.). This weekend, I finished the fourth collection.
The series focuses on a teenage girl named Christy Miller, who starts the series by visiting her aunt and uncle in southern California and ends up moving there with her family. During the series, she comes to know Christ as her savior, makes new friends, and goes on a romantic roller coaster ride with a couple of guys. She learns about herself and her convictions while experiencing many of the emotions of a typical teenage girl.
As a teenager, I enjoyed reading about her romantic adventures and was encouraged by her journey to and through faith in God. In fact, I would say that this book helped me define what I want on the romantic front and provided a foundation for how to live out my faith that has stuck with me into adulthood. One meaningful lesson I learned and repeat to other is to not live in the land of what-if. That means when I start following that train of thought towards wondering what a situation would be like if, I remember that the land of what-if is not a real place. I remember to live with the current circumstance and let God take care of the future.
As an adult, I am glad I finished the series and almost wish I would have read the entire series earlier. I relate to many of Christy’s emotional turmoil even though our living situations were vastly different. I say “almost wish” because I value the learning I have done by living my own life. Maybe I would not have made mistakes in my relationships with humans or God if I had read the entire series as a teenager, but I also wouldn’t be the person I am today. These books helped me reflect on my past and look toward my future and present.
I’d recommend these books to any teenager. While they are geared toward girls, I recently read an article that discussed letting boys read “girl books” that resonated with me. Boys may find something to enjoy if they choose to read these books, and they will learn about feminine feelings and a relationship with God. Most definitely, though, I would recommend these books to teenage (or adult) girls. They were a quick read for me as an adult, and I imagine they would be for most teenagers as well. Parents should read the books alongside their teenagers so that important conversations about God and relationships can take place. These books should spark conversation because the characters are so real and present real emotional dilemmas.