When Kim Harlinger - 18 and spoiled - arrives on a mission trip to Mexico and discovers to her chagrin that she'll be doing construction in a remote village without plumbing and electricity, rather than evangelism in a medium-sized town with a fast food joint...she has only two choices. "Rough it" (which isn't exactly what Kim had in mind when she signed up for this trip) or turn around and head home.
Well, Kim stays and the Kim that returns home is not the same Kim who arrives in the small Mexican town that has been totally destroyed by a tornado.
The book is masterfully written, and from a writer's perspective I was awed by the prose. One example that really impacted me comes toward the end of the story. Kim has been on site for almost two weeks and will soon be going home. God has done a powerful work in her through a small daughter of one of the surviving villagers and an awesome African American girl who is part of the mission team and Kim's best friend since the first day on the mission field. Speaking about her suitcase Kim says:
I got it (her Bible) out and laid it on my sleeping bag, and closed and latched the suitcase. Most of the other things in the suitcase didn't look familiar. They'd belonged to a different Kim Harlinger in a different world, and I didn't know if the new Kim would ever need them again.
I think this tale will be greatly enjoyed by the young people it's targeted to. The first person voice is funny at times, serious at times, and profound a lot of the time. Kim Harlinger will make an excellent role model for any teen reader.
There are some places in the book I feel could have been tightened, such as several dream scenes. Also there is a letter at the end of the book written by one of the villagers that someone translates into English for Kim. I found the cognitive thinking of the letter writer to be higher than I would expect for someone who had been characterized as an uneducated woman. But those are two very small bones to pick in this excellent book.
You can purchase Found in Translation on line at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or at your favorite Christian book store at the mall. However you buy it, I highly recommend that you do!