When our daughter was old enough to be interested in a personal devotional or Bible study, we really had a difficult time finding books that were appropriate for her interests and had enough Bible without being too “preachy”. Even though our daughter is now in college, I’m always looking for books to suggest for great personal devotionals during those upper elementary and middle school years.
So, I was interested when offered the opportunity to review the new devotional book Girl Talk, Guy Talk by Jesse Flores and Karen Whiting. The book is marketed as 50 devotionals for both guys and girls on a variety of communication topics. The entries alternate, with one for girls usually followed by one for guys on a similar topic. The topics cover just about any type of communication question or problem a young person may face. Although the authors don’t really mention a target age for readers, some of the topics suggest it was written with older teens in mind.
First, the good news. The advice the book gives is great advice. It is very practical and within the ability of most young people to understand and put into practice. With each entry only an average of a page and a half in length (with lots of white space), even the most reluctant reader should be able to finish reading an entry. The tips are often clearly marked with bullet points, which should also make it easier for someone skimming for answers to find what they want.
The not as great news is that it is miss labeled as a devotional book. To me, the best devotional books often refer back to a story in the Bible and have several short scriptures within each entry. The only Bible in the vast majority of these devotionals is one verse at the end of each entry. It really would not have lengthened the entries by that much to add a little more Bible – especially stories. Most teens today know very few of the stories in the Bible. Since they are at least somewhat interested in what God has to say to them, it’s a shame the authors didn’t introduce them to new stories in the Bible. As written, it should have been marketed as just a regular book – not a devotional book.
I also have just a couple of stylistic questions. First, I think the art work and other style choices make the book more appropriate for mature pre-teens and young teens. Yet, the dating information suggests they were trying to reach older teens. The information is ultimately useful to both age groups, but I wonder if they were a little too scattered in their choices. I also question why guys and girls are in the same book when it is obviously marketed as an independent devotional book. Are brothers and sisters supposed to pass the book back and forth? Was it really meant to be used as a discussion starter for teen Bible classes? It seems it would have made more sense to add more devotionals and create two separate books.
In the end, the information in the book is great and practical. The young people in your life will benefit from learning new ways to handle the often tricky parts of communicating with others. Just don’t assume it will also meet their need for a devotional book.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.