MS Review – If You Really Knew Me – middle grade fiction

If you Really Knew Me

About the Book

Book: If You Really Knew Me

Author: Alison Cheah

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Release date: December, 2021

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Cover full 1101 - If you really knew me_Front

Tommy is glad of friendships which make him forget the situation at home. His father’s illness makes his behavior so unpredictable that the whole family must tip-toe around him for fear of becoming the butt of his anger.

Elise wishes her twin sister didn’t think being champion swimmers was an adequate goal for their lives. She has her own dreams to fulfil.

Carrie hides a secret, avoiding other students so nobody will ever find it out. But Tommy and Elise both look to Carrie to save them from their situations.

Until she disappears.

Tommy’s protective instinct kicks in, and Elise reassesses her priorities so she can help keep Carrie safe.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Cheah, Alison. If You Really Knew Me. 2021.

I love it when fiction is based on real-life stories. Alison Cheah used the ministry of Anne-Marie Valles and the story of Edwin Chow as the basis for If You Really Knew Me. She also drew on her experience with middle school ministries to craft the story of a bunch of middle schoolers who are learning to trust God and the adults in their lives. The meaning of the phrase “God is Love” is explained throughout the story as two of the characters struggle with the meaning of that phrase. 

Cheah incorporates the diversity of life with characters from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Diversity is also displayed in the type of families the characters come from: loving parents, difficult parents, foster parents. Cheah includes diversity in how the characters view themselves as well: a twin but not an individual, the protector of weaker people, unloved, a thrown away kid. I think most middle schoolers may be able to identify with at least one aspect of one of the characters in the story. 

I found the story to be well-written and the characters to be believable. I enjoyed the story and think middle schoolers will as well. 

If You Really Knew Me would be a perfect addition to the middle school section of a K-12 Christian school library. It is appropriate for fifth graders and up. 

I received a complimentary copy of If You Really Knew Me. This is my honest review. 

About the Author – Alison Cheah

alison-cheah-high resolution 1

Alison Cheah worked at Youth for Christ for five years and volunteers with her church youth group. One of her favorite activities is preparing Bible Studies and seeking how to connect the stories of the Bible with her students’ own stories.

As a child she was always to be seen with her nose in a book, and nothing has changed. One of her favorite authors was Patricia St. John. Her characters are people you want to know, and you are rooting for them to overcome their problems, but for Alison, the added dimension was that each person discovers their answers in Jesus. She saw that the faith she had grown up with had applicability in real life.

Her prayer is that this story has the same result for you.

More from Alison Cheah

I spent five years working at Youth for Christ with middle school students like Tommy, Carrie, and Elise. They are not based on kids I met, but they are inspired by my experiences then.

My friend and mentor in youth ministry was Anna-Marie Valles who is also a character in Tommy, Carrie and Elise’s story helping them to make sense of some of the questions they have.

We don’t get to know her well in the book, but I had a chat with her recently about youth ministry and here is an extract from that conversation. I think you will enjoy getting to know her better.

Alison: In the story, Elise shares her problems with you. Do you find teens want to talk to an adult about their problems?

AMV: Kids are hungry to be able to unload their stories on people who are willing to listen. I remember in one club a student said that all day, adults were telling him what to do. But club was a space where people were asking him, “How are you feeling? “What are your thoughts on this?” He was shocked.

Alison: You were only eighteen when you started in youth ministry. After all these years, how do you stay current so kids still want to talk with you?

AMV: If you come to kids with a willingness to learn, you become relevant. Say to them, “Tell me what’s going on?” Don’t pretend you have all the answers. I find that has worked for me. “I don’t know your culture like you do. But I’m willing to see through your lens if you’re able to share that with me.”

Age is interesting. I always worried I would age out. At my application interview for seminary I said, “I always thought if I aged out of youth ministry, I’d be a chaplain.” And the professor called me out on that. You never age out because kids still need that safe place where someone is willing to listen.

Alison: The profits from this book will be used to send kids to camp. Why is this important to you?

AMV: Youth ministry is all relational. But trust can take a while to build. The beauty of camps is that you can create a bond in one week that could take two years without.

And at camp they hear the gospel presented in different ways by different speakers. Other people’s creativity and presentation may reach my students in a way that I haven’t been able to.

What saddens me is not everyone can go because camps are costly. My desire is that every student who wants to go will have the opportunity to do so.

For more of this conversation, see alisonrcheah.com

(Interview transcribed by https://otter.ai )

My prayer is that the story of Tommy, Carrie and Elise will be one of those different speakers Anna-Marie talked about, helping kids to begin their own relationship with Jesus.

Thank you.

Alison

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 14

Texas Book-aholic, May 15

Beauty in the Binding, May 16 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, May 16

For Him and My Family, May 17

Inklings and notions, May 18

Blossoms and Blessings, May 19 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, May 20

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 22

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23 (Author Interview)

Vicarious Living , May 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Guild Master, May 26 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Alison is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1db4d/if-you-really-knew-me-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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4 comments

  1. Thank you for your wonderful review. I love that the profits will help children go to camp. As adults we need to help our young people as much as possible

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a great kids book and I like the cover, thanks for sharing it with me! Thanks, Library Lady’s Kid Lit, for sharing your review! Have a fantastic day!

    Liked by 1 person

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