It’s my privilege to host Varian Johnson in the Author’s Tent today. This is the first stop on his blog tour for SAVING MADDIE, which hits the bookstores on Tuesday. Coincidentally, tomorrow is Varian’s birthday, so I’m going to celebrate both occasions by giving away two copies of his novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Joshua Wynn is a preacher’s son and a “good boy” who always does the right thing—until Maddie Smith comes back to town. Maddie is the daughter of the former associate pastor of Joshua’s church, and his childhood crush. Now Maddie is all grown up, gorgeous—and troubled. She wears provocative clothes to church, curses, drinks, and fools around with older men. Joshua’s ears burn just listening to the things she did to get kicked out of boarding school, and her own home.
As time goes on, Joshua goes against his parents and his own better instincts to keep Maddie from completely capsizing. Along the way, he begins to question his own rigid understanding of God and whether, as his mother says, a girl like Maddie is beyond redemption. Maddie leads Joshua further astray than any girl ever has . . . but is there a way to reconcile his love for her and his love for his life in the church? [from Varian’s website]
This contemporary YA novel is at once a love story and a spiritual quest. The main characters are relatable; the storyline, courageous and compelling. I love that Varian allows Joshua and Maddie to venture into dangerous, unpredictable territory. I also appreciated the nuanced storyline, which invites readers to consider religious themes from multiple angles.
ABOUT THE INTERVIEW
In this wide-ranging conversation, Varian talks with me about religion, cover art, stereotypes, blackberry cobbler and more. Sound good? Grab your all-access pass and go! (Leave a comment about our Q & A session, and you’ll be automatically entered in tomorrow’s drawing.)