Johnny: Catching Fire
by Aaron Allen

"The evil gaze that covered his face now seemed to be mixed with fear."

Johnny and his best friend, Danny, are being bullied by a classmate, Brock. In response to this bullying, Johnny prays to become like Sampson from the Bible. Samson’s destiny was changed when he ran across a mountain lion, for he somehow had superhuman powers. Meanwhile, Danny becomes interested in the occult, which results in him also having superpowers, and his focus on learning spells and causing mischief begins to alarm him. There is a classroom fight regarding other religions than Christianity, which was caused by the evil in Danny. Then Johnny somehow saves himself and his girlfriend from a lab explosion. Is it because of his question to God? Yet Danny is missing Johnny and keeps working through his “wizardly” sites and utilizing spells, and through the darkness, he becomes evil and attempts to harm others, with sad outcomes. Will goodness win in the end?

This story about high school students relates real-life issues concerning bullying and the effects bullying has on others. There is a good flow to the writing. It nicely examines relationships between the teens, both positive and negative, and it also reveals that people like Brock can change and become good human beings. It also clearly shows that darkness can overcome good people, such as Danny. The book is suitable for a pre-teen audience who can relate to the value of Christianity. In the end, it is a story about good (Christianity) and evil (witchcraft and other religions) and how Christianity is the only way to cope with darkness.

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