Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?, by Kari Kampakis
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I would like to state at the outset for all who are not aware of it already that this book is not directed to thirty-something bachelor guys in any way, shape or form. With its profusion of pink colors, hearts, and its relentless focus on the famewhoremongering tendencies of selfie-taking amateur instagram models and the relentless pressures on teenage girls, this is a book squarely aimed at teen girls and their moms. As is the case with books of this type , I am likely one of the few men who will dare to read it, but even so this is a book that I think will be of great use in encouraging the better angels of the natures of teen girls who feel the tension between the desire to follow God and to be obsessed by their follows and likes on social media, and I must admit that I know quite a few people who this book is squarely targeted at and who would likely find much to appreciate here, even if I am hardly the ideal person to recommend this book. And, for those of us who this book is not aimed at but who may happen to read it anyway, despite the insufferably girly graphic design of the book there is a lot that people in general can relate to here.
This book, which at under 200 pages is a pretty quick read that should be undemanding for its target audience, is squarely focused at presenting a stark contrast between aiming for temporary and empty success according to the world’s standards and aiming at eternal success by seeking to become a daughter of God. This contrast is established through ten chapters that deal with different areas of concern to contemporary teen girls: identity, confidence, kindness, character, commitment, connection, wisdom, humility, courage, and direction. Each of the chapters begins with a vignette about a teen girl faced with some sort of ethical dilemma that shows the tension between maintaining popularity and developing godly character, contains a chapter that explores the biblical and relational issues at stake, and ends with half a dozen questions for the reader to answer about the chapter’s subject material. For those who wish for additional space, there are lined pages at the back of the book for further writing, and besides the main material of the book there is a lengthy and appreciative acknowledgements section at the end and a short collection of endnotes for further reading, for those so inclined.
Will this book be appreciated by teen girls and their mothers? I am probably not the right person to ask, for a variety of reasons, but at least from my perspective, I could see a great deal of value in this book and did not see the author talking down to her audience or assuming that they did not need to know the reasons why parents and other adults behave as they do and seek to encourage certain behaviors and discourage others. This is the sort of book that is easy to appreciate and would be one I would wholeheartedly recommend to read for those young women who want to follow God and are aware of the pressures faced to be popular and conform to a corrupt youth culture. Sometimes all of us, regardless of age or gender or any other factor, need to be reminded that we are loved by God and accepted by God even on our worst days. Sometimes it is hard for all of us to remember that in the face of feeling as we are invisible and rejected and that our lives are going to waste and that the best years of our lives have nothing worthwhile to show for them.
 See, for example: