Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler, (Little, Brown and Company, $17.99, YA), is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.
Writing an engaging memoir is tricky business, and writing one about a personal faith-based journey even trickier. Aaron Hartzler manages to convey his coming-of-age story with an earnest, often funny and sometimes heartbreaking memoir, Rapture Practice. In it, he grapples with trying to be the young adult that his parents desire him to be while coming to terms with who he really is and living the life that he wants – no easy feat and especially so as he is raised in a strict Christian household. Seemingly innocent everyday activities such as listening to pop music, watching movies and hanging out with friends become causes for lying, hiding and rebelling. Whether he’s performing a taboo song at the school vocal ensemble, sneaking into forbidden movies such as Pretty Woman or secretly forging a friendship with an individual whose parents are divorced, Aaron earnestly tries to balance his desire to please his parents and to experience adolescence as he chooses. Ultimately, however, he knows that he cannot have one without imposing consequences on the other, and that is the heart of this book. Rapture Practice is a moving story and an important one for adolescents struggling with identity and parental expectations.