2018 Box Office Revolution Book Awards

Every year, many Christian books are released, and writers of the same show off their creative talents. Across the many genres, novels are judged based on plot continuity and storytelling skills, character development, and whether or not a novel correctly addresses an issue that relates to current issues in American Christian culture. These novels are separated into roughly three groups of authors and their respective works of art: the exceptional, the potentially great, and those chosen by the votes of our readers. At Box Office Revolution, we believe it is our prerogative to annually recognize the entertainment creators who have the ability to bring revolution to Christian entertainment.

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Staff Choice Book of the Year: The Wounded Shadow by Patrick W. Carr (#3 of The Darkwater Saga)

Runners-Up: Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin, Looking Into You By Chris Fabry, Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse, Judah’s Wife by Angela E. Hunt

Honorable Mentions: Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette, Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

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Reader’s Choice Book of the Year: The Wounded Shadow by Patrick Carr

Runners-Up: Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin, Looking Into You by Chris Fabry, Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Honorable Mentions: The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers, Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews


Staff Choice Author of the Year: Patrick W. Carr

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Lynn Austin
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Chris Fabry
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Morgan L. Busse
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Mesu Andrews

Runners-Up: Lynn Austin, Chris Fabry, Morgan L. Busse, Mesu Andrews

Francine Rivers
Connilyn Cossette

Honorable Mentions: Francine Rivers, Connilyn Cossette



Looking Into You by Chris Fabry

Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Plot and Storyline Quality (3 points)

Looking Into You has great plot and storyline quality. Of course, we’ve come to expect no less from Fabry’s exceptional writing style. The novel brings to an end the unfinished story of an original character who we first met in Every Waking Moment. While at first glance this book may seem to be a typical sequel, it is not because it expounds on the qualities of the original novel by telling another part of the story, rather than simply regurgitating the same concepts. In the book, Treha will finally discover the piece of her life that has always been missing, and Paige Redwine will find healing for a choice she made long ago that changed the course of her life. The novel opens with the news that because of Treha’s success in the local junior college, and her improved mental and physical health state, she has been accepted to a faith-based college that is located only hours away from her current home with Miriam and Charlie Howard. Miriam is reluctant to let her go off on her own, but knows that Treha needs to learn how to live a healthy, independent life. Treha quickly finds that college is not what she expected, and that friends are not always who they appear to be. Paige Redwine is an established college professor who has hit continually hit a writer’s block on her long-anticipated doctoral dissertation about mothers and daughters. She is also struggling to be open and honest in her on again/off again relationship with a man who is willing to help her face the shadows of her past. In the midst of her inner turmoil, Paige’s fragile grip on sanity will be shaken in two ways. As circumstances begin to make both women question their purpose, each will have to turn to the One who loves the most. This plot, as with many of Fabry’s books, has great potential to be a Christian film. Yet, because of some predictable plot elements, it falls just short of a perfect score. However, this is a powerful pro-life tale that is definitely worth both a read and consideration by future filmmakers.

Character Development (3.5 points)

Fabry’s strongest suit has always been character development, and this novel is no different. The only thing keeping him from a perfect score in this area is the use of recycled characters. However, this is simply my opinion and not necessarily a bad thing. Treha is the strongest character because she changes in response to life circumstances. Paige is also well-developed and relatable, furthermore, her backstory and present circumstances interact well to create the bulk of the plot-line. The only other negative element to point out here is that some of the secondary characters could have used just a hair more development. Yet, in comparison to many other authors, there are few who are better than Fabry at crafting well-rounded characters.

Creativity & Originality (1.5 points)

Finally, Fabry does a great job with this novel by adding creative and original characteristics to a cast of known characters. This fact earned him an almost perfect score in the area of creativity and originality for crafting what is perhaps the best ever Christian sequel to date. My favorite thing about the novel is the unique and poignant look it takes at the pro-life argument. The pro-life message is not shoved down one’s throat, rather, it is gently weaved into the fibers of the story to create an inarguable point that cannot be ignored. What would life be like if a loved one had never existed? His message is clear, all life is precious and only God has the authority to create it and take it away. In conclusion, great job Mr. Fabry, this is another one for the record books.

Wish List rating: 8 out of 10 points

Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

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Almost Heaven is one of Chris Fabry’s older novels that is well-loved by avid followers of his work. As with many of his novels, the story told in Almost Heaven set in Fabry’s fictional town of Dogwood, West Virginia. The novel deals with subjects such as the supernatural, angels, God’s divine wisdom, hurting people, coping mechanisms, isolation, forgiveness, and healing. The opening chapters of the novel introduce the reader to the two characters, a man named Billy Allman, and an angel called Malachi. From his youth Billy has loved making music, but the instrument he loves playing the most is the mandolin. Billy was what people would call the outcast during his school years, and because of this, he often turned to his music to forget the hurtful words and actions that he faced each day. Had it not been for the keen ear of a caring teacher, Billy’s musical talent would have remained unnoticed. This recognition naturally leads him down the path of fame and fortune, however, a major and unexpected turn of events will change Billy’s life forever. Malachi is an angel whom God has assigned to observe Billy Allman’s life. He has observed Billy for many years, and likes to think he knows him very well. However, during a life-changing part of Billy’s life, God temporarily relieves Malachi of his position, therefore causing him to miss a key part of his charge’s life. Upon his return Malachi spends nearly the remainder of the novel trying to discover what led Billy to his current state of disrepair. You see, Billy has thrown himself into running a radio station in his hometown that plays gospel music nearly 24/7. He has no concern for his personal health, and his motive for this heavy workload appears to be pain. Will Malachi discover what happened to Billy? Will Billy turn to God for healing from his painful past? To answer these questions, read the book!;) In my opinion, Almost Heaven is a bit slow to develop and does not hold the attention as well as Fabry’s other novels. While the plot is quite creative and well-thought-out, I think that the characters could have been even deeper. It has been my observation that Fabry usually puts his best effort forward in a novel, which is why this novel was slightly disappointing. However, it is still superior to many other Christian fiction books and is worth a read. Almost Heaven could make an interesting Christian standalone film, however, the filmmaker would have to take care to avoid letting scenes drag on for too long, as is the case on several counts in the novel.

Chris Fabry: Every Waking Moment

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Chris Fabry has written many excellent Christian novels, and has many faithful readers that continue to look forward to each new novel he produces. Perhaps his best novel is titled Every Waking Moment; this book has always been my favorite by him, as it takes a unique look at life and the consequences of what happens when someone makes the decision to value material things above human life. Every Waking Moment deals with subjects such as medical experimentation, pharmaceutical companies, power, prestige, defeat, secrets, lies, consequences, pain, anger, forgiveness, truth, reconciliation, and the healing power of God’s unfailing love. The opening chapters of Every Waking Moment introduce the reader to the main character, a young woman named Treha Langsam. Treha has suffered all her life from a brain disorder that could have been prevented; in spite of this fact, she has managed to live a full, if somewhat simple, life. Her disorder has isolated her from society, and, with no family to call her own, she lives alone. Treha works and nearly lives at the Desert Gardens Retirement Home, finding fulfillment through serving the elderly during the last chapter in their lives. For as long as Treha can remember she has been able to feel little to no emotion, and lives in the comfort of routine and familiarity. She does not clearly remember her past, and is content with things remaining the same for as long as she lives. However, little does she know that her life of routine will be broken, and soon. The director of the retirement home, Miriam Howard, is one of the few people who have recognized Treha as more than just another employee. Miriam has witnessed on multiple occasions the gift that Providence has bestowed upon Treha, the ability to reach people who are lost in the confusing world of dementia. Somehow she is able to touch them in a way that improves their quality of life. Maybe its because of her own struggle, or maybe she has a depth of understanding not granted to everyone. In the midst of the everyday, a documentary team looking for their big break discovers Treha’s abilities and are eager to record her interaction with the elderly. Miriam agrees to their request, much to the chagrin of her superior, and sends Treha on a journey of sorts, that will bring her out of the dark shadows of the past and into the light of the present. What will Treha discover about her past? Will those who were instrumental in harming her be brought to justice? Most importantly, will Treha choose to run to Jesus, The Healer that she needs? To answer these questions, read the book!;) Every Waking Moment would make an excellent Christian drama film, if made by the right people. As the director/writer/producer would already have a plot that needs no alteration, they would instead need to focus on casting the characters appropriately. The starring role of the film would need to be filled by someone who can portray a person afflicted with a disability in a respectful and accurate way, and at the same time bring depth and meaning the the character itself. This person would need to portray to the audience that the main character is not just someone who is disabled, but a person with needs and emotions, just like all of humanity. If done correctly, Every Waking Moment as a film could change how people look at Christian movies for the better.

Chris Fabry: Junebug

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Chris Fabry has written many excellent Christian novels, and is renowned by this blog as one of the greatest authors of Christian fiction on the market today. While Junebug may not be his best novel, it is still worth reading, as it tackles an issue that many people do not often think about. Yet another novel set in Fabry’s fictional town of Dogwood, West Virginia, Junebug deals with subjects such as kidnapping, abandonment, lies, secrets, truth, broken trust, family, hope, home, and how God works everything together for good, even the most dire circumstances. The opening chapters of Junebug introduce us to a young girl and her father who live on the road, in an old RV. Junebug has never questioned her circumstances, no matter how unusual they become, even to the point of living in a Walmart parking lot. However, one day her whole world comes crashing down when she sees her name and picture on a list of missing children. She discovers that her father is not actually her biological father, in fact, he is a kidnapper and a criminal. She receives no conclusive answers from her kidnapper, and decides to strike out on her own. Junebug begins the search for her real family, and discovers many secrets along the way. Will Junebug ever find her real family? Will she escape the hands of her kidnapper? Most importantly, will she run into the arms of her Heavenly Father? To answer these questions, read the book! Junebug is a modern-day depiction of the classic novel Les Miserables, and uses many of the same plot devices and concepts. This would make an interesting Christian drama film, if done in the right way. Even though the plot is somewhat pedestrian, it could be expanded and improved in the hands of the right writer/director/producer. A Christian filmmaker could use this novel as a base for making a Christian version of the classic Les Miserables, or, they could stay true to original content. I think an artistic filmmaker like Jefferson Moore would be good at making a film based on this book, as he has basically done this kind of plot before in his films (i.e. Clancy). Moore is at least average in the production and acting areas, he just needs a plot, so this novel would provide perfect fodder for him to make an above average Christian movie. We here at Box Office Revolution look forward to the day when Christian filmmakers will recognize the potential found in Christian novels.

Chris Fabry: Dogwood

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As I looked over the book reviews that I have done thus far, I realized that I have not included any titles from male authors, so, I decided to remedy this situation by making sure to include authors of both genders from now on. Chris Fabry is a very unique Christian novelist who writes with a gritty, compelling style that draws the reader into the suffering and of joy of the character/characters. He has written books for both teens and adults alike, and is loved by readers of all ages. One of my favorite novels by Fabry is the epic titled Dogwood. This novel deals with subjects such as grief, bitterness, small towns, loss, love, sorrow, life, death, redemption, forgiveness, passion, and God’s unfailing love. This story is set in the fictional town of Dogwood, West Virginia, and paints a realistic picture of small-town drama and conflict. The opening chapters introduce the reader to the two main characters, a troubled woman named Karin, and a man named Will who longs to be set free from his dark past. Karin and Will were once in love, but tragic circumstances forced them apart, and they have not seen each other for years…until now. Karin, driven by grief and insecurity, chose to marry a man that she does not love, as she believed that security and routine would heal her scars. They had three children together, and on the surface, they appear to be the average American family. Karin has a self-admitted bitter attitude at God for allowing certain circumstances to occur, however, she is unaware that the bitterness has blossomed into anger. This fact begins creep up on her, and she finds herself increasingly unhappy in her marriage. Meanwhile, Will has just been released from prison, one of the factors that drew he and Karin apart, and is set on finding the only woman he ever loved. He is shocked to discover that she has abandoned her first love for another, yet is not surprised that the people of Dogwood remember his past in what they believe to be perfect detail. Karin finds a fountain of wisdom in an elderly member of the community named Ruthie, and at first finds her to be blunt, but later discovers that she speaks the truth. Ruthie urges Karin to face her anger at God, and determine where the root of the problem lies. What will Karin decide? Does Will ever become liberated from the pain of his past? Will they both choose to run to the One who holds their past, present, and future….and loves them anyway? To answer these questions, read the book!;) Dogwood would make a landmark Christian film in the epic genre, and would do well in the hands of the Erwin brothers, as they have proven themselves to be experts at making gritty, yet poignant and meaningful epics in the past. I am excited to see if Christian filmmakers will discover the potential found in Christian novels such as these!