Olivia’s Gift by Nancy Carabio Belanger

Olivia’s Gift is Nancy Carabio Belanger’s delightful sequel to Olivia and the Little Way. It continues the story of Olivia Thomas and her family. Again, each chapter starts with a beautiful and relevant quote from St. Therese of Lisieux. Olivia, now 12 years old, continues to find it challenging following St. Therese’s “The Little Way.”

The novel begins with Olivia noticing an ad in the newspaper about a little poor girl in Guatemala. She resolves to count her pennies, be more frugal and do whatever she needs to do to save money to sponsor the girl. Olivia and her family are given an opportunity to stay at an expensive beach house in North Carolina for an entire month of the summer. Her grandmother and her friend, Hayley, join the family on their trip. On the first day there, Olivia and Hayley meet new acquaintances: Brooke, Brandon and Abby. Much to Hayley’s dismay, Olivia tries to impress her new friends by lying about a variety of things.

Olivia soon becomes a mother’s helper for the next door neighbor, Mrs. Duggan, who is pregnant and has a young toddler son named Danny.

Circumstances cause Olivia and Hayley not only to re-evaluate their friendship with their new acquaintances, it also helps them to more deeply understand and appreciate the beautiful gift of life.

The climax which involves little Danny, Grandma and Olivia was so exciting that I was quickly turning pages to see what would happen next.

Again, Nancy Carabio Belanger has gifted the world of fiction with this gem. There are so many things I love about this wonderful book. Not only is it filled with pro-life metaphors, it also illustrates the sacred gift of life. It deals with many relevant issues pertinent to pre-teens and teens. I highly recommend Olivia’s Gift to everyone, especially children and pre-teens. It would make an ideal Christmas gift!

copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

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