First I have to say that I am grateful for Kevin Newsome's ministry to teen girls who will likely get a lot out of this book. I daresay that he will reach thousands of times more people with his books that will touch people and show them a glimpse of Glory, than I will with my books.
Second, I really, truly found the main character disgusting. I couldn't stand girls like that when I was that age and time has only deepened my disgust. She is flawed and broken, but God could still use her, which is a good thing to say. Still, utter stupidity will always offend me. She chases around psychopathic killers without bothering to call 911. She has visions she won't share with her friends so they can make better choices. Better is wailing, "It's all my fault!" after something bad happens. I wanted to give her a Darwin Award.
And the writer commits another thing I despise with all my heart: making God a speaking character in the book. He only does it twice. For the most part he got around it by directly quoting Scripture, which is good. Some writers use surrogates, such as angels, which I will also accept. Other people "quote" God in their books, and I know they pray a lot before they do so. But I cannot accept making the Sovereign God a "character" in a novel. I just, no. No.
Aside from that bitching, the writing is clear and suspenseful. For people who like supernatural suspense, this will be a great read. I think I just discovered that I don't care for supernatural suspense. I don't like making that discovery as I have bought a lot of books in that genre to support other Christian writers, and there they lie in several wobbly piles in my bedroom. Guess what most of my friends are going to get for Christmas.
Speaking of unlikable protagonists: I once wrote a novel that started as a short story with the protagonist a person who thought just like me. I didn't want to take the time to think through a different kind of character because I was in a hurry. Okay so, my critique group read it, and they all said the same thing: The story was good, the protagonist wasn't. They all hated her..........Ouch. Now that I know how Irritating I am, I will never make a protagonist or any character like me again.
Do not confuse this Winter with Winterland by Mike Duran which is a ghost parable. I kept getting the two confused until I read both of them.
Our boarder came up and laid the book on the desk next to my computer and said that the book was really good. I asked her why, and she said: "I like this book a lot! I thought it was rather interesting how the author portrayed Winter, the Goth girl, as a Christian and a 'good' character, instead of the typical demonic or at least 'bad' character. I also enjoyed how the author made this unlikely heroine a prophetess in a modern context. Overall, I enjoyed this book a great deal."
I knew it. And then I read all the five star reviews on Amazon. There is no hope for me.