Title:  The Yada Yada Prayer Group
Author:  Neta Jackson
Release date:  September 1, 2003
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Pages:  400
Genre:  Christian fiction
Source:  Personal copy

When Jodi Baxter agrees to attend the Chicago Women’s Conference with her acquaintance, Avis Johnson, she doesn’t know what to expect.  What she finds is a group of women, of different nationalities and experiences and backgrounds, who are to form a prayer group during the conference.  And after the weekend is over, these twelve women realize they have more in common than meets the eye and they agree to continue their prayer group through email and monthly meetings at one another’s homes.  Jodi went to the conference thinking she’d have a full weekend experiencing Christ, and once the Yada Yada Prayer Group was born, she suddenly had eleven new sisters in Christ to call her friends.

I purchased this novel at a library book sale about a year ago when I was trying to find Christian fiction books that I’d enjoy (still trying, btw, if you have any recommendations).  I finally got the chance to pick it up, and I’m happy that I did.

What I most enjoyed about Yada Yada is the portrayal of Christian women that the book offers.  So often in real life, I find Christians to be judgmental, hypocritical, and even discriminatory.  Many of my friends and acquaintances are not this way, but as a Christian I have personally encountered it time and time again so I can understand why non-Christians are turned off by the religion.  But the women in Yada Yada are honest people with real flaws but they love God with all their heart and they do their best to live as Christ lived.  And what is so delightful about the novel is that none of these women do this perfectly – in fact, they all slip up in one way or another.  But the effort is there, the love is there, and the way these ladies are with each other and with the world is how I would like to be too (and sometimes I am… but only sometimes).

I also loved that the book is set in Chicago.  Go Chi-town!

Having said all that, I did not love the novel.  I think because there were so many characters, I found it hard to connect with any of them.  And I never emotionally connected with the story, even when I knew I should have, when things got pretty heavy toward the end.  I definitely liked it, and I’m glad I read it, but I just can’t see myself reading six more books exactly like this one (it is a series of seven books, I believe).

So, in conclusion:  great message, okay book.

For those of you familiar with this series – does it get better?  Should I read the second book or just give it a pass?