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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
352 pages
Feb 2011
B&H Books

Words: A Novel

by Ginny Yttrup

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Words, the debut novel of Ginny L. Yttrup, deals with spiritual and emotional healing. Kaylee is an abused mute girl who finds refuge in a dictionary and the woods around her home. Sierra is a woman struggling to overcome the enormous weight of guilt she has placed upon herself. Together they try to find the healing and strength God provides.

Words is written mostly from two first-person perspectives, Kaylee’s and Sierra’s, putting the name of the character speaking at the beginning of every chapter. Kaylee and Sierra have a complicated relationship. Sierra loves Kaylee like a daughter, but Kaylee pushes her away, afraid that loving Sierra would betray her own missing mother. In fact, Yttrup’s portrayal of Kaylee will prove unforgettable by readers.

Kaylee lives alone with a man who is not her father and who abuses her, emotionally and sexually. She collects and studies words from an old dictionary her mother left behind. Sierra used drugs while she was pregnant and has been blaming herself ever since for her child’s death. Their individual, pain-wracked worlds collide when they meet in a Californian redwood forest. When Sierra finds out that Kaylee is abused, she tracks Kaylee to her home and then calls the police to arrest Kaylee’s abuser. After he is taken away, Kaylee goes to live with Sierra in foster care. But that is only the beginning of the journey both take to finding healing and discovering the power of the one Word as described in John 1:1.

Both Kaylee and Sierra are described as resilient people. Both are broken, but both try to find the truth in their lives. Sierra is surrounded by love, both from her parents and her one true friend Ruby. She refuses to let go of her guilt, though, until after she meets Kaylee. Then she reaches out to a poor girl who has been denied true love. Kaylee wants to be free from the effects of being abused. She also wants to find her mother again. This makes their relationship complicated at times as Sierra and Kaylee struggle to relate to each other.

After finishing this book, I was amazed at the depth of the story and characters Yttrup created. She captured the pain of both wounded souls beautifully, at times almost taking my breath away. Women (especially mothers) will relate to the characters extremely well. The writing is poignant, easy to follow, nicely paced, and authentic to the subject and era. I recommend this book with no hesitation. – Nathan Sturgis,

Book Jacket:

"I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. I'd like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. Whenever I wanted, I'd open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can't take them."

Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn't speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.

Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter's death, Sierra's control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.

Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word-Jesus Christ.