Growing up in a small Midwestern town in the 60s, Matt wants nothing more than to run cross-country, hang out with his friends, and act cool. When Matt's father dies unexpectedly in a tragic car accident, his world is turned upside-down. Bitter over the loss of his father, Matt wants everyone to leave him alone, including God. When Wade, a stuttering, handicapped young man, moves in next door and insists on making Matt his best friend, Matt wants nothing to do with him. Teased by some of his friends at school, Matt struggles with choosing to be accepted rather than doing what's right. Only when Matt is able to see the world through Wade's eyes will he truly understand the meaning of grace and forgiveness.
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Terry Barnes won the 2006 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First novel contest with his first novel, In Everything Give Thanks. In his debut novel, Terry has attempted to achieve his stated goal for literature, and that is to illustrate truth with such words that will capture the heart and soul of the reader.
Married for 25 years, he lives with his wife, Mary Ellen, in rural Kansas. They have been blessed with 6 children and 2 grandchildren. For more information visit terrybarnes.usFrom Publishers Weekly:
This winner of the annual Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild is long on nostalgia but a bit creaky around the edges. It's 1963, and 15-year-old Matthew Collins is grieving the loss of his father, who recently died in a drunk driving accident (a cliché that continues to plague Christian novels). Matt's small town world of Bethel is further complicated when Wade Hampton Scott, a 17-year-old with cerebral palsy, moves in next door and declares Matt to be his best friend. Racial prejudice, suspected adultery, and small-town politics both in and out of church threaten the stability of the small town. Matt grapples with peer pressure, bitterness, loss of faith, and his own coming of age as he logs long distance mileage for the sheer joy of running. Preachiness creeps in, and Barnes sometimes tells instead of shows. Stiffness pops up in dialogue and descriptions ("a flowerbed surrounded the house and there were also many rosebushes...A large sugar maple dominated the front yard, and there were other trees too."). The end is a foregone conclusion. Runners, however, will identify with Matt's passion, and faith readers of a certain age will relish reliving the early 1960s, when soda pop was still a treat and everyone turned out for a small-town parade.
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