Take one teenage girl, add a dream to go to Africa, stir in a lot of faith, and what do you get?
Riley Unlikely is the story of Riley Banks Snyder teenage founder of Generation Next and teenage missionary who has a heart for the children of Africa and a passion for partnering with them receive to receive the education and medical care they deserve.
I loved Riley's down to earth style and the honest, conversational way she chronicled her own journey from a young, enthusiastic though naive teen girl to a compassionate and talented young woman with a heart to use her talents and gifts to partner with the children of Eastern Africa. I found her writing style engaging and filled with personality. While Riley may mention her shyness and possibly introverted nature throughout the book, like so many others she shines through on the pages inviting readers to listen, learn, and find their own passion.
I also appreciated Riley's honesty. The realities of culture shock, the overwhelming feelings when faced with need, the game changing diagnosis, and all the other shifts in plans. Although Riley comes through as a seemingly upbeat young lady she is also open and real about the struggles she has faced on this journey and the way that played out in her relationships and faith. I felt this was so important as young readers (or older readers who love a good biography) encounter those same ups and downs and the books which simply gloss over the hard give no aid or encouragement when struggle inevitably happens.
I also enjoyed that Riley included pictures, driving home the people and the words of her story because even in the midst of the ups and downs Riley so openly describes the pictures show a young woman exuding joy while working alongside the people who have so firmly grabbed a space in her heart.
I really did enjoy the book, between Riley's writing, the wonderful example of faith, and the powerful message of what anyone (even a shy, young teenager) can do when they follow their call instead of the crowd combines for a memorable book.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
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