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The First Principle: A Novel by Marissa…
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The First Principle: A Novel

by Marissa Shrock

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I really hope there is going to be a sequel...

Vivica is annoying. She's conceited and selfish and spoiled, but she's supposed to be. Because she is so selfish, it makes her choice even more selfless. I'm glad that she chose to keep the baby before she became a Christian, because just from watching Abby Johnson's Facebook page I think that pro-life atheists get discriminated against even on the pro-life side. As a Catholic I was sort of hoping that Vivica would at least be baptized upon accepting Jesus, but I also wasn't terribly surprised that she wasn't.

I really like Ben. He and Vivica are really cute together. I can tell he really cares for her, and being in her head, I know she cares for him. I kind of hope they get married.

Drake was annoying, but in a way that makes him really likable to the reader. I felt really bad for him at the end. I hope he gets a happy ending. At the beginning I was really afraid that Marissa Shrock was going to present us with yet another love triangle between Vivica, ben and Drake(what's with authors doing that all the time? Occasionally it works, but usually it's just annoying,) but she surprised me in a good way by not doing that.

I liked Melvin and Vivica's mother. They're annoying and selfish, especially Vivica's mom, yet we do see in glimpses that they do really care for her.

Axel was kind of unnecessary. I'm not sure what his point was, because there was a moment when, by showing Axel's brutality, Vivica decided she had more to fear from him than from Martina, but throughout the rest of the book, Axel was just the sidekick. He was to Martina as Crabbe or Goyle are to Draco Malfoy, which made me wonder why he was presented as the more brutal one. Maybe this will be explored in the next book? (Please tell me there's going to be another book.) I was confused by Martina's part as well. As I mentioned above, there was a moment when she was the less brutal one, but except for that one moment, she was always the one who was chasing Vivica, and more willing to kill her. There was a lot of potential for character growth with the fact that Martina was a single mom, but that wasn't fully explored either. Again I hope this will be addressed in the next book that will surely come out.

Another thing is Vice-President/President Fortune. He is kind of like the Eye of Sauron right now. He seems to be the main villain because Vivica doesn't like him even before she joins the rebels, but we've barely met him, and we don't know what is goal is, beyond becoming president, remaining president, and maybe wiping out the rebels.

I really don't like the cover of this book. There are very few fiction books that can get away with a cover showing the main character's face, and this was not one of them. I, luckily had gotten this book from interlibrary loan so there was an orange paper blocking my view of the girl who doesn't look like how I imagine Vivica.

That ending... The courses and books I've read on how to write have warned against cliffhanger endings, but this one worked. The main conflict in the story was resolved, which is good because authors leaving the main conflict unresolved is why how-to books warn against cliffhangers. It's just that there was a new--or a bunch of new--conflicts appearing. The worst of it is that the book could almost be left like that without a sequel. It technically wouldn't need one. We know that Vivica, Ben, Drake and the Emancipation Warriors are going to keep fighting, we don't know how it will end, but we know they will keep fighting. Just because the book doesn't need a sequel doesn't mean we don't want one though...

In spite of my critiques, I really enjoyed this book, and I think that the things I mentioned can work if they are addressed in the next book that will surely come out one day. (Please.) ( )
  NicoleSch | Jun 1, 2016 |
Marissa Shrock’s debut YA novel, The First Principle, is a chilling look at what the world could become — government control of all aspects of our life, including economic, religious and reproductive freedom. A plot-driven suspense, it is also a great starting point for discussions of what we give up for safety and security.

Vivica Williams is the high school-aged daughter of the Governor of a region within the United Regions of America, a nation comprised of the former countries in North America. Following the collapse of world economies and the ensuing chaos and riots, a new order is established to maintain the well-being of its citizens. But government has a hand in all aspects of life, and Vivica starts to question just what is right and wrong with the many regulations that determine her and others’ future.

Told in the first person voice of Vivica (a strong and determined character) the reader is introduced to a world where the class system is firmly in place, a state-sanctioned and redacted religion is the only one tolerated and life choices (from the sugar and fat consumed to how many children one can have) are monitored and strictly regulated. Government knows best and rules with a heavy hand. Shrock has created a world not so far-fetched as once thought. The First Principle is a great book to use to encourage discussions on the value of human life and freedoms, the danger of a watered-down gospel and the necessity to stand for the truth even when it divides families. A plot filled with political conspiracies, assassinations, and double dealings makes this a fast-paced, suspenseful read. It also has some intense scenes and mature subject matter — making it, in my opinion, suitable for high school and above.

Recommended.

Audience: high school and above.

Great for book club discussion.

(Thanks to Kregel and CSFF for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.) ( )
  vintagebeckie | Sep 23, 2015 |
The First Principle is certainly what I would call a MUST READ! And I applaud Kregel Publishing for having the courage to stand up with women everywhere over a tremendously important issue!

This story hits home pretty hard for me as I was strongly encouraged by several family members to rid myself of a problem I was clearly not ready to handle – before my son was born. Now, I was not a teenager and I am so very blessed I do not live in the same society outlined between these pages! Because if I did, I would probably not have my precious babies – either one of them. And that would be a tragedy!

WOW! Just WOW! ~ From the front cover to the words on the back cover, this is just an exceptional book!

“The frightening part is that many people could read this book and fail to see just what the problems are with how things work in the present government system…”

However, I feel that Marissa Shrock does an excellent job of communicating how different a person’s outlook can be when they themself are in the hot seat.

Vivica’s ideals are a tiny bit shaky from the very beginning – she accepts what is – mostly because she has been told to accept it her entire life, but there is a niggling doubt. And it is that doubt that brings to light just how heinous the system is when she finds herself in trouble!

From there, the story just keeps spiraling deeper and deeper. Do not be fooled – this story is not just about teen pregnancy. There is a web of deceit and subterfuge laced throughout the pages that would impress even the most astute mystery reader!

And the underlying premise – salvation and redemption!

WOW! Just WOW!

I wish I could afford to buy and distribute copies of this book to every abortion clinic in the world. If even one mother changed her mind about what she is about to do after reading it, it would be worth EVERY penny because THERE IS NO PRICE you can put on a HUMAN LIFE!

I am SOOOO excited to discover that Miss Schrock is already busy on a sequel!

Review © JCMorrows 2015 ( )
  JCMorrows | Aug 25, 2015 |
The First Principle: A Novel by Marissa Shrock is her debut novel and I have to share that this book is a great read. I found this book to be intriguing, engaging and somewhat disturbing. More to the point, my teenagers really liked this book and recommend it for reading! (Now that's high praise)

While the novel did not come out and fully state the story takes place during the end times, it is pretty evident that it does. For example, Vivica's world is governed by US regions rather than states, government has taken over the citizens individual rights and controls what food they can eat, jobs they can have, population control through forced birth control and if necessary, enforced abortions. The government in this novel has dictated laws on what is taught in school, what can be discussed in personal and private lives, and most of all the outlawing of Christianity and the Bible.

What did I find most disturbing/interesting in this book? I found it intriguing that the perspective of The First Principle while strongly referring to God, His message through the Bible - salvation, the story's focus was not on the rapture itself. Rather, the focus was on a very realistic version of what life might be like for a teenager living during the end times. It portrayed the government's revocation of it's citizen's personal freedoms ~ the freedom to choose how to live, choices of what we believe and how we raise our children and how many children to have; the right of free speech and the right to religious freedom.

The phrase "in the not-too-distant future" was an eye opener for me. It was rather scary to realize that I could clearly see how today's issues could be the seeds that sprout and bloom "in the near future" into the type of society and government so evident in this book. It most definitively left me feeling unsettled and opened up some very earnest and thought provoking family discussions.

All in all, my family and I highly recommend reading The First Principle!

Many thanks to Kregel Publications for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest and up front review. ( )
  mrsrenee | Feb 13, 2015 |
Vivica Wilkins is a sixteen year old girl living in a futuristic world. Shaped by her mother's ideals for a world where population is controlled, Vivica begins to questions those ideas. She sees another way of life through the eyes of her boyfriend, Ben and his family. He and his family are thought of as the rebels of the government. Their belief is a baby's life is precious and should be preserved at all costs.

As the novel moves forward, Vivica becomes pregnant with Ben's baby. It is an unplanned pregnancy. One her mother will quickly have terminated. In The First Principle by Marissa Shrock, there is a chance to see a hot topic unfold which is one people ponder about in our society. Is it ever good, right to end a pregnancy? If so, when is the right time to terminate an embryo? For this reason, I am sure this Christian Fiction novel about a future time would draw the interest of the young and the old.

Once Vivica decides whether to have her baby or not, her life changes drastically. All of a sudden she finds herself on the run and seemingly causing the deaths of other people. Her problem is a huge one. Whatever way she chooses will change her life, Ben's life, her mother's life and a baby's life.

As I traveled along through the novel with Vivica, I had a chance to see how important a Higher Power is in our life. I also could see that it is not always easy to understand the way God works. Vivica struggles with these new Christian values. Her struggles and questions are easy to understand. Most Christians fight with these questions well after they have chosen to walk with God.

Also, I enjoyed reading about a technological world of the future. Vivica knows how to work within this type of world like our young people do today. It's amazing how she can hack into her mother's home. She can see inside each room and who is in that room. This side of the book made me think about the many ways technology will change our world in the future. Perhaps, many countries are already farther ahead in this type of thinking than society knows. It certainly would or does help the CIA.

The novel is like a John Grisham or Denzel Washington movie. It is full of dangerous adventure, and people working undercover as spies. It is a great novel for young adults and adults. It is a dramatic way to learn that hard choices have to be made in life. Those hard choices do not always have beautiful endings. God's way is not a magical door into Happy Land. It is definitely a struggle. Ask Vivica, her mother, Ben, Drake and the couples with their children that are met along the way.
marissashrock
Matthew 10:34-35 ( )
  Tea58 | Feb 8, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0825443571, Paperback)

In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same--until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she's sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn't long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion--or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother's chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn't ready to face.

Marissa Shrock's debut novel crafts a chilling story of what may be to come if we allow the economic and moral crises currently facing our country to change the foundations on which we built our independence--and of the difference one person can make when they choose to trust God's lead.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:07 -0400)

In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same--until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she's sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn't long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion--or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother's chances at becoming president.A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn't ready to face.Marissa Shrock's debut novel crafts a chilling story of what may be to come if we allow the economic and moral crises currently facing our country to change the foundations on which we built our independence--and of the difference one person can make when they choose to trust God's lead.… (more)

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