Words: A Novel by Ginny Yttrup

I recently had the opportunity to review Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel, Words. One of the things I appreciate about being a book reviewer is that it stretches me beyond the bounds of the reading material I tend to gravitate toward and requires me to read books I wouldn’t normally pick up. Sometimes I discover a book that powerfully affects me that I never would have encountered otherwise. Words is one of these books. I don’t read many novels these days, and when I do, they tend to be historical fiction. Yet I was drawn in by this contemporary novel.

In Words, Ms. Yttrup tells the story of ten year old Kaylee Wren, abandoned by her drug-addicted mother in a remote mountain cabin in the care of an evil, dangerous man, Sierra Dawn, a thirty four year old artist trapped by the pain of her past, and how their lives are brought together by Divine design. Kaylee’s coping mechanism is “collecting words”, memorizing words and definitions from a dictionary she keeps hidden in the cabin, and yet because of the trauma she’s experienced, she’s unable to speak.

This is definitely not a light-hearted read. The author draws on her own experience as a childhood victim of sexual abuse and it certainly makes for a powerful, moving story.  I had a difficult time putting it down. I was drawn in to the story and the emotions and struggles of both Kaylee and Sierra. The characters, especially Kaylee, were incredibly engaging and authentic. There is nothing trite or cliched about this story…it was heart-rending and well-written.

Ms. Yttrup’s goal is to share “God’s hope, mercy, and grace with others and to let abuse survivors know that they’ll not only survive, but they can also thrive!” I think Words succeeds in that goal, and I look forward to more by this author in the future!

Words releases on February 1, 2011. Thanks so much to B&H Publishing for my advance copy. All opinions shared are my own.

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