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The Eighth Ransom Review by Renee Knoblauch

Given Hoffman
Fiction For Teens

The Eighth Ransom by Given Hoffman is a fictional action-packed suspense novel for teens. The Eighth Ransom is a stand-alone book. The book can be purchased as a paperback or an eBook. Seven children are targeted and kidnapped because of their parent's skills or economic influence. However, an eighth teenager Trent is taken when he notices a strange vehicle and investigates it. He ends up being kidnapped with his young stepsister, who is one of the intended seven kidnapped. The children all vary in age, have entirely different family dynamics, and live all over the United States. The only common factor is that they have a powerful and wealthy enemy whose intent with the children is unknown. The parents and the children have nothing in common, and the reason why the seven children are taken is a baffling mystery at first. Once the children can get over their personality differences and realize that the only way they will survive is to work together. Their unity is fragile at first as temperaments flair. However, they all have skills and strengths that may help if they can put aside their differences and self-pity. Their talents, knowledge, and training are key to staying alive. They deduce that some of the kidnappers are Russian and Arabs and that their ransom will be used in an international terrorist plot. The terrorist plot depends on their parents paying their ransom. Is the ransom worth their freedom? The odds against them getting out alive is slim as they realize that they are no longer in the United States and expendable once the ransom is paid. The security is tight with electric fences, electric roofs, and the location is not an easy place to get out of with cameras everywhere. In addition, the guards are brutal with the slightest insubordinate. The development of the characters is interesting as they learn to trust and work together with purpose. You have two teens who are Believers, an extremely rich kid, and other interesting personalities. As they get to know one another, they learn about each other and their issues which vary from parents who do not have time for them, anger, sadness, divorced parents, the death of a parent, and one with the only issue is deciding on what she wants to go to college for. The eighth teenager, Trent, quickly finds out that he is of no use to the kidnappers and must find himself helpful to the kidnappers to stay alive. Trent is an angry and rebellious kid who only cares about himself. He hates his stepfather and has nothing but disdain for his stepsister. But, in the end, they all find that life does have a purpose. They all contemplate their eternity, salvation, family, and friendship. The book has a few surprises and plot twists. All the characters were well-developed and had some depth to them. Some characters had more focus than others with their development in the story. The book is for older teens due to the content dealing with kidnappings, guns, violence, disobedient and rebellious behavior, unplanned pregnancy, abortion, drinking, drug, and cigarette use, relations before marriage, vandalism, mentioning of characters cursing (no words are used). There is violence throughout the book but nothing too gruesome. This is a faith-based book, and everything is done tastefully. My son and I enjoyed this action-packed book. We both thought that some of the scenarios boarded on being unrealistic. However, that did not take the fun and interest out of the plot. We are both plethoric readers, and this was one memorable book. It is well written and kept us intrigued to the very end. The book has a solid closure as the group comes together as young adults with a purpose.

Product review by Renee Knoblauch, The Old Schoolhouse®, August 2021