Rodney’s mother shuffled him off to a crazy uncle while she jumpstarted a new life in the city. So he knew this summer would be bad. But he never thought it would reach the point of near-death or a demonic invasion. Remy Wilkins’s Strays joins spiritual warfare with a coming-of-age tale set in small-town America. As his parents’ divorce tolls his childhood’s end, Rodney feels sympathetic to readers even in his anger. Meanwhile, a demon in the process of reform charts a compelling journey while raising theological questions, and weapons used to battle demons are outlandish and likewise liable to debate. Wilkins effectively realizes the countryside setting, with one or two stereotyped personalities. Not all readers will find Stray to their taste, yet Strays shares an unexpected and intriguing fusion of spiritual war and childhood’s end.
Best for: Teens and fans of Frank Peretti.
Discern: Mild language, some violence and grotesque imagery, and frequent acts of cruelty among demons; an ambiguous portrayal of a bargain with demons.