A book review for parents
This contemporary Christian book in the "The Powerlink Chronicles" series is written by Josh McDowell and Chuck Klein and is published by Word Publishing.
Under Siege is written for kids, ages 13 to 17. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Will, a high school computer geek, always attended church, but now he makes a commitment to his Christian faith. He joins other kids at his church and launches a group called the Liberation Commandos, a strike force for God at the local high school. Their purpose is to free students from Satan's grip. Will feels awkward at his lack of physical abilities and is attracted to his childhood friend Amber. Amber experiments with guys, drinking and other at-risk behaviors. Will's best friend, prankster Jason, leads the group in brainstorming inventive ways to witness, such as shopping mall opportunities, pizza parties and sleepover. Will prays for Tony, a wild teen and Amber's former boyfriend, and eventually leads him in a prayer of salvation. The novel consists of the story plus a subplot of demons working against the teens' efforts. The inside story, from the authors, provides information and spiritual guidance for teens on the book's topics.
Kids struggle with their faith. The inside story uses Scriptures and mini-sermons from Josh McDowell to present God's truth. Spiritual topics include how to witness to others, the work of the Holy Spirit, listening to God, your place in God's plans, prayer and discipleship. Tony admits that he has lived a self-directed life and has made wrong choices (drinking and sex).
Will's parents never married, and his dad deserted the family. His mother is too busy at work to spend time with him. The youth leaders are the main authority figures as they guide kids with Scriptures, discuss problems and remain available to their needs.
Other Belief Systems
The teens confront other beliefs in their interactions with students. These include secularism and believing in a self-directed life. Tony asks questions to find the difference between his uncle's New Age beliefs and Christianity.
Joy admits to being slapped and hit as a child, as well as being sexually abused. She describes confronting her adoptive parents, who refused to admit that they did anything wrong. Joy commits to praying for and forgiving them.
Will wants Amber to be his girlfriend and struggles against lustful thoughts. Will's feelings matured from a crush to a deep caring for Amber. He wants to follow God's plan of marriage before sex, although he realizes that even in a simple hug he feels a physical desire for Amber. Amber admits that she wants Will as a boyfriend, and the two commit their relationship to God in a prayer. Amber kisses Will on the cheek. Will helps his friend Jason, who struggles with watching pornographic movies. Will overcomes his struggle against a lustful dream. There are early scenes that reveal Tony wrapping himself around Amber and kissing her, as well as another teen couple engaging in long kisses while drunk.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What did Duane, the youth director, do after losing his temper with Tony?
Did he apologize only to Tony?
What do you do if you've hurt someone with your words?
- What does Will struggle against with Amber?
How is that different than Jason's struggle with pornography?
How do you handle your sexual desires?
How might an accountability partner help you stay pure?
- What problems did Amber and Will have when they wanted to share their faith with others?
How did they improve?
When was the last time you shared your faith with another person?
- The demons sent out thought waves to stop prayers and thoughts to encourage teens to get too busy for prayer.
When do you have trouble keeping up with your prayer life and Bible study?
- Will prayed for Tony even though he felt jealous of him.
What happened as a result?
Why should you consider praying for those you dislike?
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.