Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres

If you ever want to fall apart in an emotional wreck, this is the book for you.  I sped through the first 200 pages, because as horrible as the story is, it’s addicting.  I got distracted by vacation, and it was a good two weeks before I was brave enough to pick up Jesus Land again.  I wanted desperately for Julia and David to have a happy ending, but I was terrified they wouldn’t.  I won’t tell you what I found out.

Jesus Land is excellently written, a first-person memoir written in present tense, so everything feels immediate and emotional.  Julia’s descriptions of growing up in an emotionally, physically, spiritually abusive family with her adopted black brother is horrific.  That they both get sent to the Dominican Republic to a Christian camp for rebellious teenagers that is even more abusive makes their story all the more horrifying, pitiable, and desperate. …

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