"Ever" by Gail Carson Levine. Review by a 15 year old girl.
Introduction: The gods in this story have powers over specific elements of nature. A young god named Olus rules over the wind, and he is very lonely because he is so much younger than all the other gods. Because of his youth he relates better to mortals, and falls in love with a mortal girl from another land named Kezi. In Kezi's land people believe in one all powerful god named Admat, and her father foolishly makes an oath to their god which results in him agreeing to sacrifice his daughter Kezi. Olus must find a way to save Kezi from being sacrificed, but even if he succeeds Kezi will live a mere human lifespan while he will live thousands of years. What can they do to be happy?
My recommended age to read: I think 9 years old is way too young; I'd recommended the child to be at least 11 or 12. They should have an understanding of reality, and be old enough to read about other religions with confidence. (This book portrayed the monotheistic god (which seems to be modeled after the old testament God) as cruel, impersonal, unforgiving, not really all powerful, and non existent.)
Things I liked: During the later part of the book I was able to escape reality and enter the world of the book, and I also liked Kezi's challenge and the way she handled it.
Things I disliked: I prefer past tense, rather than the first-person present tense used in this book. I really didn't like the beginning; I found the writing style very confusing and difficult to get used to. If it had been a complicated story I would have been lost. Luckily (or unluckily) the story is somewhat shallow; most of all the love story. They had such strong love for each other (never fighting a single time), but it had no basis! It just didn't seem realistic at all to me! Why do they never get irritated by each other? It's like a crush, except unlike real life it's idealized to be just what you daydream about. Perhaps that was the problem. Although the characters are likable, the two main characters don't really have any flaws. Sure they have fears and doubts, but they remain almost perfect throughout their dificulties. During the first half of the story I couldn't get into the book at all, I just popping back to reality saying "God being everywhere (omnipresent) isn't ridiculous." or "how can you be kissing already!?" or "why do you love someone that much who you just met?".
Conclusion: At first I thought it would be a waste of my time, but later on things got better. I was surprised how much spiritual stuff was in this book, and it made me want to find out Mrs. Levine's beliefs, either religious or secular. I think if I could find information on her opinions about life, maybe I could understand what her purpose was in writing. I'm inexperienced, but my impression was that she believes "god" is something humans have to attain by finding it within themselves.