Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage





Beyond Reach
by Melody Carlson

Reviewed by Darcie Gudger

"Melody Carlson continues to deal with the controversial gift of visions with great care and integrity."

Exhaustion overwhelms Samantha McGregor as she recoups from the harrowing rescue of an abducted classmate. Before she can settle back into the routine of being a “normal” teenager, she’s asked to visit the scene of an unsolved murder. Her detective friend, Ebony, hopes that merely being at the crime scene would trigger one of Samantha’s visions.

Family members of the murder victim are eager for a suspect. The pressure to solve the crime is too much. Samantha begs God for a break. No more visions!

Sometimes God gives what’s asked for. Samantha gets her wish. Time passes and she grows antsy. She questions the wisdom of her previous prayer. Were her motives selfish? Should she let God do his thing and use the gift He gave her?

A new academic quarter brings on students’ most dreaded class: Chemistry. Samantha is thrilled to land Garrett Pierson, the class brainiac, as her lab partner. Maybe there is hope for her GPA…

Garrett may be brilliant, but he wears a target on his back. He’s the butt of many jokes, and wanders around school with his head hanging low. Samantha tries to reach out to him and be a friend. Her attempt to befriend him backfires. Garrett pushes her away and withdraws. He even starts missing school.

Samantha has a vision. A disturbing vision. She sees Garrett hanging over the edge of a railroad bridge. Will she be able to gain his trust in order to prevent tragedy?

Melody Carlson continues to deal with the controversial gift of visions with great care and integrity. She steps things up a notch by showing Samantha’s inner battle of accepting this bizarre gift or rejecting it, driving home the point that God has a plan for everyone. He infuses individuals with gifts and abilities, some not very popular, to be used for His glory. A message Christian teens living in a post-modern world need to hear.

My only criticism of this book is that it takes a while for the main plot to develop. Subplots tend to take center stage, making it hard to remember what’s going on with Garrett.


Beyond Reach doesn’t exclude typical YA fair such as crushes, romance and teen angst. It’s all in there, creating a multi-textured tale and well-rounded characters. Carlson’s books are a great alternative for the popular smut passing as young adult literature populating bookstore shelves.

Similar to Bad Connection, Beyond Reach leaves you hanging. I’m sure glad I’ve got Playing With Fire sitting here on my shelf. I gotta know what happens next – and you’ll want to know too!

Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.