Following on the success of Olivia and the Little Way, Nancy Carabio Belanger has written an even better sequel: Olivia's Gift. This sequel does a great job in showing Olivia a little older (she's now 12) and a little wiser ... but still having the issues almost-teenage-girls have in life: wanting to fit in, be popular, seem cool. On a month-long visit to the beach, Olivia and her best friend Hayley learn the tough lessons: envy, covetousness, lying and trying to fit in just don't work! Also, that appearances can be deceiving and that that who we think are cool are often more un-cool when we really look at them.
The girls are assisted in ferreting out these truths by Olivia's parents and grandma; but more interestingly, Olivia discovers these truths through her relationship with St. Therese of Lisieux and her prayer life.
This novel is a great read for tweens/teen girls who are going through these same issues. Belanger does a fantastic job of teaching without preaching, of getting her message of the Truth and the Catholic faith (scattering St. Therese quotes throughout) across to the reader without making the story goofy or far-fetched.
It is such a pleasure to read a book like this ... especially having an almost-11-yo daughter who will be dealing with these issues of peer pressure and fitting in in the next few years! [An added bonus: String Bean has a particular affection for St. Therese already, so this book will really delight her!]. Thank you, Ms. Belanger!
I received this book from the author in order to evaluate its orthodoxy for the Catholic Writers Guild. The above review is my honest reaction to this work of Catholic literature.