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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
God’s Will: Based On A True Story is a work of fiction in the religious, action and drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Matthew John Echan. Written for mature readers, the work does contain instances of explicit language use, scenes of a sexual nature, and some descriptions of graphic violence. The central figure is Sam Snyder, a young teen who is hoodwinked into attending a Baptist reform school by his adoptive mother. Once there, Sam tries to keep his head low and his teen lust for one of the girls in check, but the brutal punishment of new boy Will sparks a rebellious spirit amongst the other kids that he is tempted to join.
Author Matthew John Echan offers a fantastic and in-depth look at a particular section of teen culture which is often overlooked in the pages of glossy, popular coming of age tales. Mature audiences will enjoy the gritty realism of the Missouri backwoods setting that Echan takes great pains to illustrate, with its violent cast of characters in both the staff and students. The choices Sam must make are realistic and emotionally intelligent. Sam is a well developed central hero to the tale, relatable but unsure of himself and taking guidance from every source he can get. Readers will have plenty of food for thought to engage with on the topic of religion as reform, and what salvation truly means too. Overall, I would definitely recommend God’s Will for readers who enjoy gritty, realistic dramatic works with plenty of thoughtful and well-written ideas.