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Bad Connection (Secret Life of Samantha McGregor) [Paperback]

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Item Number 27496  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   244
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.32" Height: 0.69"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   Multnomah Books
Age  13-17
ISBN  1590526929  
EAN  9781590526927  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Meet Samantha McGregor She seems like your average teen, but Samantha is unusually gifted. God gives her visions and dreams that offer unconventional glimpses into other people's lives and problems. It's a powerful gift with a lot of responsibility... Bad Connection: Book One Kayla Henderson lives on the edge. She likes to break the rules, considers partying an extracurricular activity, and can't stand her parents. So, most people aren't surprised when she goes missing. Like everyone else, Samantha McGregor assumes Kayla has run away. But then she has a vision where Kayla is tied up with duct tape over her mouth. Freaked by the image, Samantha wonders, Is Kayla alive or dead ? Was the vision real or just a silly dream? Most important, can Kayla be found before it's too late?

Publishers Description
Meet Samantha McGregor
She seems like your average teen, but Samantha is unusually gifted. God gives her visions and dreams that offer unconventional glimpses into other people's lives and problems. It's a powerful gift with a lot of responsibility...
Bad Connection: Book One
Kayla Henderson lives on the edge. She likes to break the rules, considers partying an extracurricular activity, and can't stand her parents. So, most people aren't surprised when she goes missing. Like everyone else, Samantha McGregor assumes Kayla has run away. But then she has a vision where Kayla is tied up with duct tape over her mouth. Freaked by the image, Samantha wonders, "Is Kayla alive or dead"? Was the vision real or just a silly dream? Most important, can Kayla be found before it's too late?
Reaader's Guide Included
Story Behind the Book
"The secular world has become very interested in 'supernatural' gifts. Take, for example, shows like "Joan of Arcadia, The Medium, Monk, and Dead Zone ." Yet it's God who gives every good and perfect gift. My guess is that we humans barely tap into the vast variety of gifts that He has to offer. Not only that, but our fast-paced, high-tech culture rarely relies on those good 'old-fashioned' character traits like insight, intuition, wisdom, and foresight. My hope is that this series will provide a fun way for teens to explore deeper levels of spirituality and creativity while inspiring them to a greater love for God."
"-- Melody Carlson"

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More About Melody Carlson
Melody A Carlson I started writing "professionally" about twenty years ago. I quickly learned that I'm a fast writer and, as a result, I've published more than 200 books--with more than 6 million books sold. And it stuns me to write out those numbers today. How did that happen? I've been told I'm in the top twenty "most prolific authors" of all time. Although I'm not certain this is true, it does make me wonder--and I wonder how other authors (in previous generations) managed to write so many books without the use of a computer. Last year I won a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times. But that doesn't mean I'm ready to retire. I have lots more books coming out and new ideas popping into my head all the time. I write from a studio right next to the house I share with my husband in Oregon. My dog Audrey goes to work with me every morning. I have to's a pretty good life...and I am grateful to God for every bit of it.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Not a good book  Sep 30, 2008
This has nothing to do with the story, although that's next, but does anyone else think the girl on the cover looks a little like Amber Tamblyn who played in Joan of Arcadia? Okay, randomness aside, first of all, I did not like this book, and I will go into the reasons why. Secondly, I am a Christian, so this isn't one of those cases where I didn't realize this was a Christian novel.

Bad Connection centers around the main character of the book, Samantha, who has visions she believes are from God. When a friend disappears and Samantha begins seeing her in the visions, she starts to think she might be able to help before it's too late.

My thoughts going in: cool, but by the tenth page and up to the very end, my enthusiasm was pretty much gone. Here's what I look for when reading any story: good characterization, believable or interesting story, good writing, and nice atmosphere. I found none of these things.

Melody Carlson used first person narration to tell the story, and this makes the story very weak. Everything comes from the main character: I did this, I said this, I went here...It's very boring and limits a chance to develop an atmosphere (especially when Samantha has visions, which turn out uninteresting). The writing was also not very good. "I mean" was used quite a lot...wasn't entertaining or anything. I never felt concern for the missing girl and never felt anything for any of the characters because they had hardly any personalities. I call this the bleached storyline, a storyline that leaves me with no feelings at all.

Also, this book is extremely preachy, and, though I wasn't surprised, I didn't like it. It felt like I was being given instructions on how I should and should not be...I don't read books to be preached at; that's why I go to church. I also do not read Christian novels to be told what to do; I read them to have God included in a story I enjoy with a character who also loves God. There is one part in the story when Olivia, Samantha's friend, is talking to her parents about why they don't attend church very often. Her mother's explanation is that they're tired, which is fine, because the Sabbath was meant to be a day of rest. But Samantha was very judgmental and said something like at least they're still doing some things like Christians. This was none of her business; she acted superior because she doesn't miss church.

What do I know about the main character?--She is a strong Christian (Oh, I'm coming back to this) and she doesn't know why God gives her visions. Even until page 130 she continuously says this, "I didn't ask for this gift." Also, the other characters in the story are mainly there to bolster Samantha's spirit. How many times did one of them tell her what an amazing gift she had? It became their main purpose, as they also had no personalities.

Olivia, Samantha's best friend, does this every time she enters the story. She also serves as the main character's chauffer. The author realizes this because she has Samantha comment about her guilt in using Olivia for rides. I ended up getting the impression that Olivia was in the story solely to get Samantha from one place to the next and continuously tell her just how great a gift she had. She also had no character.

My biggest problem with this story is that the author demeans people who are either not "strong Christians" or who seem to have no religion. Every character in this book whose faith is not specified is either condescending, overly cruel, deliberately rude to the main character, or has some serious vices (Example: Samantha's brother). On the other hand, I always knew when the characters coming in would be nice because someone would comment on how they were a "strong Christian," and the minute the main character met these people...yep, I was right. Again, "strong Christian"=good person. No religious preferences=bad person. As a Christian, this offends me, and I'll explain why.

If some teenager is thinking about becoming a Christian and decides to try some Christian fiction, they will not only be insulted but they will also find no characters to identify with. Also, the writer's "strong Christian" view leaves me with the Christians are better than everyone else feeling, and that makes me sick. I've met what the author would call "strong Christians," people who openly profess great faith, attend church weekly, who always talk about God, and who are some of the cruellest, quietly vindictive people anyone could ever meet. What about being a kind person? A caring and loving person? And some of the people I've met who aren't Christians?--incredibly kind and not demeaning in regards to my beliefs...So I find the author's portrayal of these characters cruel, insulting, and incorrect. Not all Christians are good people, though some are. Not all people without religions are bad people, though some are also. My point: no one is better than anyone else. I felt like the author was telling me that Christians are better people than others, and found this view, expressed by a Christian author, to be entirely against Jesus's and God's teachings.

Overall: the story is very uninteresting and is also written in a boring style. The main character has almost no personality. The mystery is unbelievable...Not a good read.
If anyone wants a really good Christian author, try Francine Rivers.
Go Sam!!!  Jul 18, 2008
This book was fabulous! It's a real page turner! I would defindently recommend this book to any teenager who's looking for a god suspense book.

Bad Connection = Good Read  Jan 30, 2008
It's hard to find the perfect balance in teen fiction, where there is the right amount of realism, a strong dose of God that isn't cheesy or over the top, and suspense / action to keep things going. Melody Carlson is nobody new to the world of teen books, having already put out three other wildly successful series (TrueColors, Notes From A Spinning Planet, and Diary of a Teenage Girl), and with Bad Connection, book one in The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor series, Carlson does not disappoint.

In Bad Connection, we find Samantha McGregor, a high school girl whose father is dead, mother wants nothing to do with Christianity, and a brother who is constantly in and out of trouble with the law. Samantha is the only one in her family holding on to God, and that's when she receives a vision. A girl from school, Kayla, disappeared a week ago, and now Samantha thinks she's seeing clues from God about her whereabouts. Samantha has to work with her dad's old partner, Ebony Hamilton, to unravel the clues and find Kayla before it's too late.

The first concern that anyone might have in reading this story is the use of the spiritual gift of receiving visions from God. I was a little nervous going in to the story, but found myself pleasantly surprised with the care and Biblical use of the gift that Carlson portrays here. She even includes an article from John Piper's Desiring God talking about visions, how it was used in the Bible, and to be careful about just trusting a dream or feelings, but to turn to the Bible to find guidance from God. Parents who are extremely concerned may want to read the book for themselves first to see what they might think.

As this is a series for teens, there are some rather dark moments in the story. Issues of kidnapping come up frequently, and may be frightening for some younger readers. Other moments include a scary situation in the middle of the Arizona desert where Samantha might be attacked, and another spot near the very end involving terrorism on an airplane.

Samantha does go on a couple of dates in the book, and Carlson usually tends to fall on the side of saying that dating is okay, but not a sort of hop around to anyone sort of dating. She doesn't go to the side of courtship however. Carlson usually has characters who put up a lot of standards before they go on a date, such as whether or not to kiss or hold hands. While in this book, dating is not the point or being argued one way or another.

The story moves along very nicely, given us just the right amounts of mystery and suspense to keep us going. Definitely for readers who look a good mystery with a strong spiritual overtone.
Wow! A True Nail-Biter  Aug 26, 2007
As a young teen, I can proudly say that teens will love this book! Its topic of spiritual gifts is something that not many are willing to take hold of; yet Melody Carlson is an amazing writer that has been gifted herself. A veteran in writing stories, Carlson takes the reader on a journey that begins on page one till you fold the back cover over.

Samantha McGregor becomes a larger tool for the Lord than she could have ever imagined. She has suddenly begun to have dreams involving a classmate,Kayla, who has disappeared from the local town. After being scarred enough to do something about the dreams, she soon realizes that they aren't just dreams...they're prophetic dreams. With the help of her father's old police partner, Ebony, Samantha begins to realize that these dreams are Kayla's only hope for safety. Can she get to her in time?

Samantha's pure heart and honest tone are easily relatible for teens. Carlson doesn't sugar-coat anything that Sam does. She has faults, doubts, and even has to deal with the anger towards Ebony due to her father's death on the job. This book is a must have for any teen Christian or not.
God is there, there's no denying, It's supernatural   Aug 13, 2007
Samantha McGregor is your normal, average, everyday teen girl. Except for one thing: she gets visions from God. She uses her unique spiritual gift to help out others in need. In this book, Samantha sees visions of one of her classmates who has been missing for several weeks. Everyone seems to think that Kayla has just run away from home, but Samantha sees her being tied up and in danger. She turns to the police for help to save her friend. But what if this is just her imagination working overtime?

First things first. This is not a Christian version of "Medium." Yes Samantha can see supernatural visions of the present and glimpses of the future. But she is very quick to defend that this is as a spiritual gift from God. I really enjoyed this book. It's a unique type of teen fiction and Melody Carlson handles it superbly. The storyline was excellent. I didn't know what was going to happen and was really awed by the twists and turns throughout the book. I liked how you have would the plot dealing with Kara and Sam's visions but also have Sam living a normal teen life. Sam is not portrayed as a someone who tries to flaunt her powers, instead she only wants to help out others. At times it'd be creepy seeing what she saw. I have no idea what I would do if something like this ever happened to me. She also acts very mature for her age in dealing with the police. The situation that Kara eventually found herself in, unfortunately, is all too real and there are many girls that have fallen prey to men like that. A good precautionary lesson mentioned there. I would highly recommend this book for teens. Melody Carlson has proved again that when it comes to teen fiction, she is the best author.

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