Wednesday, March 2, 2011

‘Double Shot: A Maya Davis Novel’ by Erynn Mangum – Book Review

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It is great fun to read a book from the perspective of a young, idealistic adult who is just starting out in life. That description defines both the main character in ‘Double Shot: A Maya Davis Novel’ and its author, Erynn Mangum.

Here is the synopsis of this terrifically entertaining novel:

Can coffee and chocolate make everything better? It’s worth a shot. Now that Maya Davis is engaged to her longtime friend and sweetheart, Jack, there should be no more worrying about the future, no more questioning God. Everything should be perfect, right? Actually, it’s just the opposite: Things are complicated. Where are they going to live? What kind of wedding do they want?
And when Jack is offered a once-in-a-lifetime job in Seattle, things begin to unravel even more. Can Maya trust that God is in control even when things seem to be a disastrous mess?

Here is the biography of this author:

Erynn Mangum is the author of Miss Match, Rematch, Match Point, Cool Beans, and Latte Daze (THINK/NavPress). She is a graduate of the Christian Writers Guild Apprentice and Journeyman programs. She also is a major chocoholic and love chick flicks, coffee, and cold winter days. Erynn is married to her best friend, John O’Brien, and has a young son, Nathan. The family lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This novel is about the lives of the main character, Maya Davis, her fiancé Jack, her best friend Jen, and new husband Travis, along with Maya’s family and coworkers.

The book opens with the wedding of Maya’s best friend, Jen. Here is Maya describing Jen on her wedding day:

I look at Jen, and she takes my breath away. She is beautiful to begin with, but this is her wedding day and she looks ethereal. Her dress is stunning. It’s fitted and simple in a way that makes it look extremely expensive. Her long blond hair is down in romantic, loose curls, and her makeup is flawless. The veil floats delicately over her hair. (p. 15)

Interestingly, Maya dated Travis before Jen did. She is very sure she is over Travis:

And the real reason I’m 100 percent over Travis Clayton has arrived in our conversation. Jack Dominguez is one of my very best friends. I’ve known him since the second grade and worked with him for the last four years before he decided he wanted to shovel elephant dung for the rest of his life. He now works at the Hudson Zoo.
He’s also the one who gave me the sparkling nearly-a-carat solitaire that is glittering on my left hand so much that it’s overwhelming the dress.
That was three days ago. I’m still not used to the ring being there. Driving has become a hazardous experience for me because I get distracted staring at the ring that I can’t focus on the streets. (pp. 16-17)

That gives you a glimpse of the sweet and fun personality of the main character!

Another fun passage is Maya sharing with the readers her mother Mary’s attempts at texting:

Sunday nights I have dinner with my parents. Lately, Jack’s been coming too. Which is good, considering my mother now likes him best. She’s always sending me text messages on Friday afternoon that go something like this: Cld U plse ask J re: wht he wnts 4 dnnr?
My mother is the worst text messager in the whole world. It kind of makes me wonder how she would have done with Morse code. Remember that movie about the dog that saved all the little kids who were dying in Alaska by racing to get medicine for them? And how they had to send a message over Morse code to bring more medicine?
If Mom were in charge of that message, the dog probably would have brought more medics. (p. 35)

Maya is a woman of faith, and she endeavors to share her faith with her coworker, Ethan:

I go to the back to check on the cinnamon rolls, smiling. Ethan is a pain in the neck, but he’s a nice guy all the same. He’s not a Christian, and there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t try to convince him that church is a good place to be, and there isn’t a week that goes by that he doesn’t tell me he doesn’t believe in “that stuff,” but he’s a good guy nonetheless. (p. 46)

Much of the book includes Maya’s adventures in planning her wedding. She is fascinated by the concept of marriage:

Marriage is weird. Not only am I about to live with a man for the rest of my life, but I am about to live with a man for the rest of my life.
And it will be legal. In both the state’s eyes and in God’s eyes.
It’s sort of like being offered that Forbidden Apple and being told to peel it, core it, and make a cobbler with it. (p. 93)

I love the day-in-the-life vibe of this book, and Maya’s observations on the little things of life. Here is Maya sharing one day at work at Cool Beans, a coffee shop:

About two-thirds of the tables are filled, it’s almost eleven, and we have yet to sell all of our first pan of cinnamon rolls.   
I think that’s a new record for August. Usually, I only see that in January when everyone is sticking to their New Year’s resolutions of no carbs, no sugar, and definitely no cinnamon rolls.
I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I think they are a waste of time. Why would I write down a bunch of things that I know I need to change but never will?
Plus, I think God works on me all year long, not just in January. (pp. 142-143)

I personally am grateful and relieved that God wants to help us year ‘round!

Maya has a cool young pastor named Andrew. They meet every Wednesday evening at Cool Beans for a Bible study. I love what he taught them during one of the studies:

Andrew clears his throat. and I shake my head slightly, trying to pay attention. “In the last three weeks,” he starts, “we have covered faith, love, and peace. Tonight, we’re going to cover justice.”
I’m mentally reciting the Fruit of the Spirit, and I don’t remember justice being on that list.
“I hope you guys are catching on that this list, like most things related to God’s Word, is a direct reflection of God’s attributes. As Christians, we are to reflect the One who made us. Which is why qualities we need to possess are simply characteristics of God.” (pp. 148-149)

Maya has a quirky worldview, which I love. Here is her theory on footwear:

I’m wearing nice jeans and a button-down, western-style shirt with a blue cami underneath it. I look like I need cowboy boots with this outfit, but I’m wearing Crocs, entirely unstylish but incredibly comfy.
I love those shoes. I have this theory that the uglier the shoe, the more comfortable it is. Think about it. Crocs, UGGs, those black arthritic-looking shoes that you have to wear for restaurant jobs. All very comfortable and yet frightfully ugly. (pp. 216-217)

I happen to like the looks of Crocs; I totally agree they are very comfy!

Maya and Jack have to go through Pre-Marital Counseling with Andrew before their wedding.  I loved these words of wisdom Andrew shared:

…I’m thinking about what Andrew said in closing: “Just remember that the best example of love is always found in Jesus Christ. He said that there is no greater love than someone who lays down his life for a friend. And that, Jack and Maya, is what marriage is all about.”
For someone who isn’t married, Andrew sure has a lot of wisdom about it. And while I’m super excited to get married to Jack, I have to confess that I’m also a little scared. (p. 228)

Living in Metro Detroit, which is right across the Detroit River from Canada, I loved this passage – Maya is watching a Canadian gentleman remodel house on HGTV:

The Canadian guy has made this couple’s basement look like it belongs in a home decorating magazine. He’s telling the couple all about how this place is fully ready for a tenant.
And he says about like this: aboot.
It’s cute. Maybe I could learn to talk like a Canadian.
Jack shows up about fifteen minutes later. “Well, it’s aboot time,” I say, opening the door.
Maybe I’ll just stick with the American pronunciation. (p. 241)

Although this book is written for a Young Adult audience, as someone who no longer fits into that category, I enjoyed it a lot (I am still young at heart!). This book is fun and light, while at the same time, sharing spiritual truths about God, marriage, and life in general. Erynn writes in a style that makes you take her characters to heart; you will instantly love them! This is the first book from this talented young author that I have read; it will not be my last! I recommend it to audiences of all ages.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by THINK/NavPress and generously provided by the author for review purposes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this would be a fun book to read.....even though it is for younger people!
Thanks for the enjoyable review!
Blessings.....Joy Hannabass

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