Rapture Practice: A True Story
Rapture Practice: A True Story

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Annotation: Describes the author's coming of age in a fervently religious household that believed Jesus's return to Earth to take the faithful to heaven was imminent, recounting his growing doubts and how the sacrifices prompted his transformation from a conflicted do-gooder to full-fledged teen rebel.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #80328
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition Date: 2013
Pages: 390 pages
Availability: Indefinitely Out of Stock (Limited Quantities Available)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-09465-X Perma-Bound: 0-605-80350-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-09465-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-80350-3
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2012028746
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Jesus is coming back. That's what Aaron's family believes, and as a boy, so does he. But by the end of this memoir, Aaron isn't sure of much, other than he wants the freedom to be himself. Heartfelt and humorous, this book introduces Aaron; his strict but devoted parents; his grandmother, whose love is unconditional; and the classmates at his Christian schools, instrumental in shaping him. Hartzler writes with a keen eye for detail, whether it's the early scene in which his grandfather crochets (while he makes pot holders) or the description of what it feels like to make out with a girl for the first time. He is equally sure-footed describing his inner turmoil as he does the opposite of what's expected of him, all while maintaining the good-boy facade. One of the best things, however, is how lovingly Hartzler portrays his parents, even as they anger him. Aaron's attraction to other boys is hinted at, but one has to read the acknowledgments to find out more. Readers will hope for a sequel to learn how his family dealt with the news of his sexuality.
Horn Book
All his life, Aaron Hartlzer's ultraconservative, evangelical Christian parents exhorted him to live to honor the Lord. But as he begins to listen to secular music, drink, and experiment sexually, he struggles to reconcile his secret lifestyle with his parents' expectations. This is a captivating, honest, and relatable memoir about a teen's search for his true identity and for love.
Publishers Weekly
Hartzler makes his debut with this accessible memoir about coming of age in a very strict Christian family. Aaron, the oldest of four children, has always been a stellar son, following his parents' edicts to the letter-no television, secular music, or movies-even when he doesn't fully understand them. He's also a joyful soldier of the Lord, happy to help his mother lead their neighborhood Good News Club, or lend accompaniment to his preacher father at church services. But when Aaron turns 16, his natural desire to explore the larger world outside his faith, including listening to pop music, dating and experiencing sexual attraction, and experimenting with alcohol, is perceived as rebellion, stirring up big trouble at home and at his ultra-conservative Christian school. Many readers may find the circumstances of Aaron's sheltered upbringing hard to believe. What rings very true, however, is the author's thoughtful search for answers to his heart's biggest questions, and his pragmatism and sense of humor on the journey. Ages 15-up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; Hartzler grew up in an Evangelical Christian home, where he was taught that the Rapture might happen any minute. As he grew into his teen years, he began to question this belief and to be drawn to more worldly things-movies, rock music, plays, literature, and kissing. To a secular audience, Hartzler's parents' rules about whom he can befriend and how he can live his life may come across as draconian, but the author is open and fair about how they lived their beliefs and how they always loved him, even as their rules drove him away. Hartzler is honest about his sexual encounters with girls (and boys) and about underage drinking that happened at parties he attended. His memoir is appealing because of his honesty, and forthrightness. When writing about Evangelical Christians, he never takes on a condescending tone. He shows where his own questions led him, even as he shows how his parents saw things very differently than he did. His style is clear and lively, and he makes readers see how the questioning of his faith began, and how it grew. Readers will want to spend time with Hartzler to find out how he became true to himself and what choices he made on that journey.&12; Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
An eye-opening, autobiographical account of growing up waiting for the rapture. Since birth, Hartzler has been taught that any day, Jesus could scoop his family off to heaven. To prepare, his mom leads his youth group in a song called "Countdown," in which they sing "BLASTOFF!" at the tops of their lungs and jump as if they're being taken into the sky. Religion shapes every aspect of Hartzler's life, but love is also at the heart of his work. That's what's at stake when he starts making left turns in both his activities and his belief system in high school. He sneaks to movies his parents would never approve of, illicitly listens to popular music, and plans wild, drunken parties. He has his first kiss, and eventually he begins to think that he might like boys (but that's not the main point). His story emphasizes discovery more than rebellion, and the narrative is carefully constructed to show and not judge the beliefs of his family and their community. That said, he's constantly under close surveillance, and readers will wince in sympathy as they experience his punishments for what they might deem trivial actions. Hartzler's laugh-out-loud stylings range from the subtle to the ridiculous (his grandmother on wearing lipstick: "I need just a touch, so folks won't think we're Pentecostal"). A hilarious first-of-its-kind story that will surely inspire more. (Memoir. 14 & up)
Word Count: 91,550
Reading Level: 5.2
Interest Level: 9+
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.2 / points: 14.0 / quiz: 157784 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:22.0 / quiz:Q60295
Lexile: 850L

Sometimes salvation is found in the strangest places: a true story.


Aaron Hartzler grew up in a home where he was taught that at any moment the Rapture could happen. That Jesus might come down in the twinkling of an eye and scoop Aaron and his family up to heaven. As a kid, Aaron was thrilled by the idea that every moment of every day might be his last one on planet Earth.

But as Aaron turns sixteen, he finds himself more attached to his earthly life and curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn't want the Rapture to happen just yet--not before he sees his first movie, stars in the school play, or has his first kiss. Eventually Aaron makes the plunge from conflicted do-gooder to full-fledged teen rebel.

Whether he's sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can't be found in the Bible. He discovers that the best friends aren't always the ones your mom and dad approve of, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.

In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey to find the person he is without losing the family that loves him. It's a story about losing your faith and finding your place and your own truth--which is always stranger than fiction.


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