Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Judas Ride

Honestly, I don’t like giving a bad review, but I feel I MUST be honest and I pray that my words will not hurt anyone especially the author.

The Judas Ride was one of the most difficult books I have ever read. One of the main characters is Pastor Manny. I have never known a pastor who behaves in the way this one does. Drinking beer at church while ministering and hanging out with the young men in his church is far from what I would call acceptable. The majority of the characters in this book are teens. The young girl in the story is pregnant but doesn't know who the father is out of two young men. One, is a new Christian and wants to help raise the baby and support her while the other is an abusive young man who also is a drug dealer and gives the young pregnant girl all the drugs she desires. She plays both of them to her advantage, which could be normal for a young girl but it becomes quite ridiculous. The family issues in the story are ones we see unfortunately, far too many times in life but the issues in this book are very dark, deep rooted and very disturbing. That being said, there are times when the characters are in the middle of very strong abuse and then in the next sentence they are acting as if they know Jesus and what HE would say. I don’t understand how this can be and honestly I found myself asking over and over as I discussed this book with my husband how this was able to be labeled as a Christian book. Jesus is with us, beside us, full of Hope, Strength and Love ~ NOT giving up, nor abusive. Yes, these issues are very real and happen everyday but I felt as if this book portrayed more condemnation than it shared HOPE and for me no matter what we face when we have Jesus there is ALWAYS HOPE to face any stronghold ~ NO MATTER WHAT.

After having read this book, In my humble opinion, I don’t feel comfortable recommending it.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Judas Ride

Tate Publishing (December 8, 2009)


Peggy Sue Yarber


Peggy Sue Yarber, PhD in psychology, lives in central California with her husband, two daughters, six turtles and two dogs. She works in the field of education.

The Judas Ride was inspired by her current and previous students. She has seen and experienced and seen similarities between the students and Jesus’ traitor, Judas Iscariot. She has always been fascinated with Judas. Yarber went to a catholic school when she was young and Judas was always portrayed like a mysterious rebel.

She ventures to say, “I guess he was my James Dean of the Bible. But in a good way! In the way that…he did something so wrong so that the entire world could be saved. He had to betray Jesus in order for the rest of the story. I have always wondered what it would be like to not do that one bad thing that would lead to that one great thing. So I had the Vader character sort of run through the paces of Judas.”

Redemption and reality are the two distinguishing features about Yarber’s writing. Not all teens find redemption in The Judas Ride. Yarber considered trying to show the negative outcomes as much as the positive. She wasn’t thinking in terms of positive and negative but she did try to balance the two sides. Yarber says she often sees people daily that , “…have even more screwed up lives than these characters.” Yarber admits sometimes there is not an ending to the madness unless someone dies and then even after the death the ripples still linger. She has written another novel TARE and a children’s book Rocketships to Heaven and the SOS Fuel Station. She loves to run, read, shoot guns and watch her daughters play soccer.


An unwed (and unwanted) teen pregnancy with two possible fathers. Abusive relationships. Drug and alcohol addiction. Rape and molestation. The struggle to understand grace, forgiveness, and free will versus predestination. The Judas Ride hits the road running in the opening pages, where Sonia and Xavier argue explosively about whether Sonia should have their unborn child and about who the father is: Xavier, a struggling Christian, or Vader, an abusive and abused drug dealer. As the pages turn, readers continue to meet a hodgepodge of troubled teens and eclectic characters, including Pastor Manny, a quirky immigrant pastor infatuated with John Wayne. Pastor Manny desires to help the tortured souls in his community but finds that it takes more than unconditional love to reach them. Secrets literally kill in The Judas Ride, an edgy, in-your-your face Christian novel that boldly explores the struggles of modern-day young people.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Judas Ride, go HERE


christy rose

Thanks for the honest review Loren!

Cherie Hill

It is wonderful that you are so honest Loren. I have been greatly disturbed by the books that are being labeled "Christian." Specifically in the fiction genre. It is sad. I find myself having to make a stand for true faith in Christ in some of the reviews I post as well. Perhaps it is a way that our faith can become stronger! :)
God bless you sister!


I really appreciate your honest review of this book, love you.



I think you did this book review well. You provided what I think we would all want to hear, which is what is the book about, why didn't you like it, and possible recommendations for how it could have been improved. With all that said, well done!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Kathy C.

Loren, I've never heard of the book. I appreciate that you were honest in your review of the book, lest someone pick it up. Now they don't have to waste their time reading it. Blessings to you my friend!

He & Me + 3

I'll bet that was a hard review to write. Good for you being honest though.


Well you did it! You may have given this author and book too much space. LOL


I'm not familiar with the book but I love and appreciate your honesty

Beautiful pear tree lane

Thanks for sharing this review, I agree with you with Jesus there is always HOPE. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have that hope as life seems to always be throwing stones our way.
I have been out of commission lately due to illness, i ask for prayer as I have been under attack with my health..


WOW...I have not heard of this book, and I appreciate the heads up. There have been sooo many Christian fiction novels that I have read that have soo blessed me, it is too bad some of them stretch things like this. Thanks for this. Debbie

Warren Baldwin

Good job, Loren. An honest book review can be tough to do, when it requires giving it a thumbs down, but it shows the character of your heart.

I read a novel last year about a minister who drank when pressure at the church got to heavy. I can understand that - ministers are only human. But, if the novel had in some way indicated that this was not the appropriate response to pressure ... but it didn't. It made it look like that was just a fairly normal response to pressure - leave your wife and kids and your church, go into another town and drink too much. I know it happens, but I also know it shouldn't.


Bravo!! Taking a stand. I know it's got to be hard to write a negative review, but you did it with tact and class!! Bravo, Loren, Bravo!!

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