Not by Sight - Kathy Herman I need to start by saying that true "Christian" literature is not my cup of tea. It is just a personal idiosyncrasy, but they are usually too preachy for me. Therefore I hardly ever seek them out. What drew me to this book, though, was the setting. I grew up in the Midwest US and spent most of my summers in the Ozark Mountains. When I saw that this book was set in the Ozarks, it peaked my interest and I will readily admit that I did not look any further. So, I want to say upfront, this book is definitely Christian Lit and it never pretends to be anything else. Accordingly, although I would have enjoyed the book much better myself without the strictly religious references, that is my fault and not that of the book or the author.

The main protagonists in this story, Abby and Jay, are best friends and high school students. Abby has lived with the tragedy of her father and youngest sister's disappearance 5 years before the book is set. Jay has his own set of skeletons that he would like to keep buried. When Abby sees a girl in town that she feels HAS to be her missing sister, she enlists Jay in helping her to find out who she is and whether she could, in fact, be Riley Jo. The story that the author weaves around the sighting of the young girl and the subsequent search for her identity was well presented and kept my interest throughout the book. I really did become engrossed in the story, and found the mystery part of the book hard to put down. I found myself saying "just a few more pages.....and a few more.....and a few more...." In addition, the characters in the book were well developed and easy to identify with. Although I wasn't sure how things were going to turn out, I really found myself rooting for all of the characters and hoping that everything turned out just the way that they wanted it to.

In short, this story was well written, with engaging, positive characters who were good role models. If you are a fan of Christian Literature in all of its forms, I would highly recommend this book. Alternately, if you have middle schoolers and even young high schoolers and you would like to present them with a book that has a positive message and good role models, I would also recommend this book. It is the first in a trilogy, and while I am not sure whether I will read the others or not, I am keeping an open mind about it. To the author - the fact that I read a book so far out of my regular wheelhouse and enjoyed it so much is a testament to your writing skill and ability to tell a story.