Facing Your Giants: Teen Edition

By Max Lucado, adapted by Monica Hall

Review By Corey Fedde

Categories: David, Fear, For Kids/Teens, Motivational, Spiritual Living

Facing Your Giants: Teen Edition, by Max Lucado, was truly a unique book. Lucado possesses a voice and genuine sincerity in his lessons that prove too hard to ignore. The book translates, interprets, and comments on the story of David from the Bible. Lucado's depiction of the whole story — not just David vs. Goliath, but David vs. Saul and David vs. his sexual desire for Bathsheba — sets it apart from the millions of times the story has been told in Sunday school.

Lucado demonstrates how David wasn't just a one-hill rollercoaster; he was a very complicated man with many strengths and faults, which translated into just as many ups and downs. Lucado does an excellent job of teaching the story with the idea in mind that, if God can accept David, then we will have no problem staying on God's good side. And he proves the point.

The voice throughout the book proved to be a pleasant surprise. Being a book that features a biblical story, I spent the first part waiting for the preaching to begin. I was cringing in anticipation of the "holy switch" flipping to the "on" position and the sermon-like voice telling me exactly what God was thinking. The "holy switch" turned out to be more of a "holy dial," and Lucado only turns it to 50%, taking on the voice of a father teaching a life lesson rather than a priest giving a longwinded Sunday sermon.

Intended for teens (thanks to the adaptation by Monica Hall), the book seemed to reach out to an even younger audience at times. When Lucado attempted teenage-speak, using terms such as "bazillion" and painting the Philistines as "hoodlums boasting do-rags," it sounded exactly like a grown man attempting to speak like a teenager — embarrassing. Luckily, those attempts were located toward the beginning of the book, and did not carry through.

And while the doodles in the margins — not something you want your high school friends seeing — seemed like a bit of a turn-off at first, they actually weren't too distracting. But they did seem to target more of a preteen audience.

Equally young at times were Lucado's parables, stories primarily of the "David five" — a group of kids who all visited a Christian camp and learned about David — that help reinforce Lucado's interpretations and demonstrate real world applicability. The group first appears in the book in elementary school and then ages up through the course of the book to the end of high school.

With that said, the lessons focus on helping teenagers with anything from high school social drama to finding a niche. While Facing Your Giants: Teen Edition is not a Harry Potter story or a new take on life as a vampire, the book is a quick and easy read that offers valuable lessons, many of which are not taught in Sunday school. Just don't mention the doodles.