A book review for parents
This contemporary, coming-of-age book is the third in the "Becoming Beka" series by Sarah Anne Sumpolec and is published by Moody Publishers.
The Passage is written for kids ages 13 to 18. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness..
Beka struggles with her dad spending time with Gabby. However, that problem is pushed to the back of her mind as she goes to the purity retreat. Lori and Beka worry about what Gretchen will do to them when they get back from spring break, but Gretchen goes out of her way to be nice which confuses the girls. Mark starts spending more time with Beka. The two know the rules of dating set up by Beka's dad but do not seem to be able to follow them. Beka and Josh go to his formal. Mark is not happy about it and spends more time with Beka. Rumors fly that Beka and Mark are having sex. Mark starts to get more physical and Beka comes clean with her dad and breaks up with Mark. Gretchen tells her to come to her party at the beach to discuss all the rumors and the secret of Beka being in the psychiatric hospital. Paul and Josh come with her as she meets with Gretchen but before she can talk her out of telling everyone her secrets, she is attacked and cut with a knife. Paul and Josh find her and call the police and an ambulance. Beka celebrates her birthday with her family, Lori and Josh. She gets a guitar and lessons from her dad and stationery from Josh with a request to write to him when he is in college. On Beka's first day back to school since the attack she remembers who attacked her and eventually ends up telling the police. Josh takes Beka to the prom, Paul takes Tiffany and Lori and Brian go, too. Surprised, Beka is named Junior Queen. Gretchen is upset, and forgetting that she is wearing a microphone, Gretchen admits to orchestrating the attack at the beach. Gretchen gets detention all summer, and Randy goes to jail. Paul graduates and Beka looks forward to a busy summer and spending time with Josh.
Beka's Christianity is a struggle for her. Worry comes to her easier than turning to God, but she is slowly learning. After each bout of unbelief, she returns to God so her faith is increasing. Throughout the whole book, though, the constant theme is her desire for a closer walk with God. Mark claims to be a Christian but seems to see it only as a Sunday morning excuse. Beka's family, Josh and Nancy are portrayed as having a sound, firm belief in God. They admit to not knowing why God allows thing to happen but still choose to put their trust in Him.
Beka's dad is an example of a positive, godly authority in Beka's life. He does his best to trust her even though she continues to make bad choices. He is disappointed with her bad choices but still loves her. Mr. Madison always has time to talk to Beka. He is willing to drop what he is doing when she needs to talk. As Beka starts making wiser decisions, he is proud of her and lets her know.
Other Belief Systems
Three young men attack Beka. As they talk amongst themselves, she realizes that they are only supposed to scare her. But one of the attackers gets angry with Beka and cuts her deeply on her side and then seems to want to rape her. Fortunately, those searching for her interrupt the scene.
Mark continually tries to push Beka into a more physical relationship than she is comfortable with. After a confrontation in which she tells Mark to back off, she leans over and kisses him on the cheek. Later in the story as Mark and Beka disobey their dating rules and meet in secret, Mark confesses his love for her and gives her a kiss. In school, Mark is constantly touching Beka, and at one point, kisses her. At another of their secret meetings, Mark kisses her and tries several times to put his hand up her shirt. Gretchen sees them do this and spreads a rumor that Mark and Beka have had sex. When Beka is upset by the rumor, a girl in her class asks why since everybody has sex. Later, three boys attack Beka, and it seems that at least one of them has the intention of raping her. Fortunately, Paul and Josh interrupt the attack, and all three run away. At the end of the book, Josh takes Beka to prom. Josh has made sure that Beka's dad approves of their date and is reluctant to hold Beka's hand. After Beka is voted Junior Queen, Josh gives her a kiss on the cheek.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- How does Beka struggle with her belief in God?
How does Christianity look in your life?
Does your faith resemble Mark's, Beka's or Josh's?
How big a part does God play in your life?
- Why was Beka upset about Gretchen's rumor?
Why did Liz think the rumor was not a big deal?
How do your friends view sex?
Why does God not want you to have sex until after you are married?
How can you keep yourself pure if those around you are encouraging you to do otherwise?
Nancy knew where her boundary was when it came to physical intimacies. What are yours?
- Beka could not understand why God allowed the boys to attack her.
What events in your life have caused you to question God's presence?
Have you asked Him about it?
- How did Beka's dad point out that God did protect her?
What could have happened to Beka?
How did God use her situation for good?
Where in your life have you seen God use a bad situation for good?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.