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Reviewed by Amanda Rofe for Readers' Favorite
The Reformation of Marli Meade by Tracy Hewitt Meyer is a young adult novel in the thriller genre. This is the story of Marli Emmaline Meade, a sixteen-year-old girl living amongst a family of religious zealots situated in an isolated rural location in the Appalachians. She lives in fear of her preacher father and puritanical grandmother. Forced to wear long, unfashionable handmade clothes and wooden clogs, she manages without all the trappings of modern life including makeup, music and dancing. Harsh medieval customs are part and parcel of life within the community, which holds many sinister secrets. She longs to break free and live like a normal teenager. Can Marli get away or is she doomed to lead an oppressive life within the confines of this secretive, tight-knit community?
Tracy Hewitt Meyer writes a perfect fast-paced thriller, chock full of tension and interspersed with some very scary moments. I felt immediate empathy with Marli and was desperate for her to get away from her oppressive family. I loved her because she was downtrodden but retained great strength of character and a certain rebelliousness. Her tryst with a boy outside the church was exciting but dangerous and was enough to give me palpitations. The plot was strong, well developed, and really held my attention throughout. I liked the history of the church and the fact that some of the locals had previously been involved with it. This all gave depth to the story line. In short, The Reformation of Marli Meade is the perfect young adult thriller. I am sure teenagers will love it.