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From Bad to Worse    by Todd Hafer & Jedd Hafer order for
From Bad to Worse
by Todd Hafer
Order:  USA  Can
Navpress, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Griffin Smith has had a messed-up life. He wants to do the right thing, but he keeps making wrong choices. His first year of college has been a good experience, but now he has the opportunity to drive cross-country - from Oregon to Kansas - with Amanda Mackenzie, the girl he has been in love with for years. But Griff and Amanda are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Where Griffin has made poor decisions (and continues to make them), Amanda has been a Christian and followed a fairly straight and narrow course. She is completely out of his league.

A few days in the car together in such close quarters makes for some soul searching and truth-telling on both Griffin and Amanda's parts. Life is complicated; can the two of them discover a way to meet the challenges together?

From Bad to Worse is an odd book. It is full of the real issues that teens face in today's world. Things aren't whitewashed and the solutions are not presented as pat answers. The writing and dialogue are filled with humor and tongue-in-cheek comments. Readers will warm to Griffin and Amanda, each for different reasons, even though each is flawed in their own way. Those are the good parts of the story.

On the other hand, From Bad to Worse is the sequel to Bad Idea, and it's crucial you read that novel first, in order to get the full impact of where Griffin is coming from. Things happen in Bad Idea, and the emotional and spiritual impact carries over into the sequel. Also, the redemption in the story isn't very clear cut. And maybe, it isn't supposed to be. My critique comes from my thirty-something conservative viewpoint, but it just feels unfinished. Overall though, From Bad to Worse is a worthwhile read, especially for older teens.

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