Synopses & Reviews
Sometimes salvation is found in the strangest places: a true story.
Aaron Hartzler grew up in a home where he was taught that at any moment the Rapture could happen. That Jesus might come down in the twinkling of an eye and scoop Aaron and his family up to heaven. As a kid, Aaron was thrilled by the idea that every moment of every day might be his last one on planet Earth.
But as Aaron turns sixteen, he finds himself more attached to his earthly life and curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn't want the Rapture to happen just yet — not before he sees his first movie, stars in the school play, or has his first kiss. Eventually Aaron makes the plunge from conflicted do-gooder to full-fledged teen rebel.
Whether he's sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can't be found in the Bible. He discovers that the best friends aren't always the ones your mom and dad approve of, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.
In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey to find the person he is without losing the family that loves him. It's a story about losing your faith and finding your place and your own truth — which is always stranger than fiction.
"Hartzler makes his debut with this accessible memoir about coming of age in a very strict Christian family. Aaron, the oldest of four children, has always been a stellar son, following his parents' edicts to the letter no television, secular music, or movies even when he doesn't fully understand them. He's also a joyful soldier of the Lord, happy to help his mother lead their neighborhood Good News Club, or lend accompaniment to his preacher father at church services. But when Aaron turns 16, his natural desire to explore the larger world outside his faith, including listening to pop music, dating and experiencing sexual attraction, and experimenting with alcohol, is perceived as rebellion, stirring up big trouble at home and at his ultra-conservative Christian school. Many readers may find the circumstances of Aaron's sheltered upbringing hard to believe. What rings very true, however, is the author's thoughtful search for answers to his heart's biggest questions, and his pragmatism and sense of humor on the journey. Ages 15-up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"His story emphasizes discovery more than rebellion, and the narrative is carefully constructed to show and not judge the beliefs of his family and their community....Hartzler's laugh-out-loud stylings range from the subtle to the ridiculous....A hilarious first-of-its-kind story that will surely inspire more." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Aaron Hartzler's memoir will captivate teens looking for a solid coming-of-age story grounded in strange truths about growing up in a religious family....Hartzler's ear for teenage dialogue is spot-on." Shelf Awareness
"[Aaron Hatzler's] memoir is appealing because of his honesty, and forthrightness...clear and lively." School Library Journal
"What rings very true...is the author's thoughtful search for answers to his heart's biggest questions, and his pragmatism and sense of humor on the journey." Publishers Weekly
"Hartzler writes with a keen eye for detail...he is equally sure-footed describing his inner turmoil....One of the best things, however, is how lovingly Hartzler portrays his parents, even as they anger him....Readers will hope for a sequel." Booklist
"Humorous and entertaining." VOYA
"This heartfelt memoir [and] compelling story...will speak volumes to adolescents." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
About the Author
Aaron Hartzler grew up in Kansas City, mainly on the Missouri side. A writer and an actor, he splits his time between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, where he lives with his boyfriend, Nathan, and their two dogs, Charlie and Brahms. Rapture Practice is his first book. Aaron invites you to visit him online at www.aaronhartzler.com.