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My Hands Came Away Red

4.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  627 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Cori signs up for a mission trip to Indonesia during the summer after her senior year of high school. Inspired by happy visions of building churches and seeing beautiful beaches, she gladly escapes her complicated love life back home.

Six weeks into the trip, a conflict that has been simmering for years flames to deadly life on the nearby island of Ambon. Before they can l
Kindle Edition, 398 pages
Published (first published September 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,179)
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Jan 11, 2008 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
One of the best books, Christian or otherwise, that I've read in a long time. One of those stay-up-late-to-finish-it, convince-others-to-read-it kind of books. A gripping adventure, an exotic location, and a believable heroine with very relatable struggles...what are you waiting for?
Nov 22, 2007 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book! I am not one to LOVE "Christian" fiction, but this one was so well written, and the plot was very interesting, not one I had ever read about before. It is the story of a group of teens on a mission trip that goes horribly wrong. I thought the narration was excellent and it ended without tying up every loose string, which seems so sitcom-like. The characters each reacted a different way to tragedies, especially what they believed about God. I highly recommend this to anyone who ...more
Mar 16, 2014 Elevetha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elevetha by: Anne
3.5 stars.

I must admit, I was a little scared. Christian fiction is dangerous business, finding good ones and avoiding the heavy handed "PRAISE SWEET LORD JESUS HALLUJAUH GOD BLESS AMEN!!!" every other sentence. The very beginning had me a wee bit wary of what the rest would be like but it soon evened out and had a good balance for the rest of the book(about 95%).

The characters were well written and believable as well as being thoroughly likable. Cori and Kyle were my favorites but I liked them
Wow. That was my first thought upon finishing this story. As much as I enjoyed Ms. McKay's memoir, this book.....well. It stayed in my brain for hours afterward, even amongst the craziness of airplanes, airports, baggage, seeing my family, etc., and didn't turn off until I fell asleep that night. Even almost two weeks later, this story haunts me. I think I'm going to have a hard time putting it into words, it was that amazing! I'm really going to try to not spoil much of this story, as it truly ...more
Feb 12, 2008 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great fictional book on the lives of a handful of teenagers who endure a traumatic experience together. As the teenagers are on a missions trip overseas, their world becomes forever turned upside down by a quasi-civil war. I thought the author did an excellent job portraying the likely responses of any individual put in this situation. The symbolism between the psychological issues the teens in the book encounter and what any individual who has been involved in mission or foreign aid work is app ...more
Megan Parisian
I picked this book up after reading the back cover and thinking it looked really interesting. It's about a girl who leaves her friends and family behind to go on a mission trip of sorts in Indonesia. What starts out as a great experience (making new friends, building a church, relationships with the local Christian villagers, etc) turns into a religious war of sorts between the Muslims and Christians in neighboring villages. The main character, and the others are forced to flee the village, and ...more
Feb 02, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Christian fiction, armchair travelers
Shelves: gentle-reads
What a great book! So often I will hear news stories or read about violence in other countries and, although this is horrible, not even pay attention. Sometimes those stories are coming from so far away that it is easy to gloss over the real pain and suffering that occurred. This book, although fictional, really made the violence, fear and confusion of those upheavals seem real.

The characters' struggles to understand what they are seeing and experiencing was beautifully presented. Their question
Nov 01, 2007 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants God to speak to them about world missions
Wow! I finished this book at 6:15 am after staying up late reading it and then getting up at 5 am to finish. Best book I have read since A Thousand Splendid Suns. It is about a group of college-age students on a missions trip when things go horribly wrong. I laughed, I cried, and most of all, I was moved to consider how much I take my life (and my ability to worship freely) for granted. God definitely spoke to me through this book. Read'll see what I mean!
Jan 26, 2008 Robynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robynne by: found it in the library
Wow - this was a heart-wrenching book, but SO GOOD! If there were 4 1/2 stars I'd give it that. The characters are great (and so real and relatable, I felt like I was one of them!), the writing is great, the story is great (but as I said, heart-wrenching), what else can I say? I definitely recommend it!!!
Sep 19, 2015 Kara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back in 1992 I went on a Teem Missions trip to Israel and attended the very same boot camp as the girl in this story went to.

I found out about this book on a Facebook page for Former Teem Missions Members. I had always wondered if someone had written a book about their own experience or a fiction based on a Teem Missions summer. Low and behold here it is.

This story is about a girl who decides to go on a mission trip to Indonesia but first has to go through a boot camp in Florida, which I as I
Jill Williamson
Dec 26, 2008 Jill Williamson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review by Gigi Hoffman

Eighteen-year-old Cori wanted to get away after her high school graduation. Things were complicated and confusing with her boyfriend, Scott, so she signed up to go on a ten-week missions trip to build a church on a small island in Indonesia.

After several weeks on the island, the church is completed, but an event leaves the group of teenagers away from their team leader and his wife for a few days. No biggie. However, during those couple days, a conflict that has been fester
Apr 30, 2008 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this fast-paced, thought-provoking debut novel, McKay, a psychologist who works with humanitarian relief, explores injustice, religious reconciliation, suffering and faith through the eyes of an 18-year-old girl whose mission trip goes tragically awry. For Cori and a team of Christian teens, building a church in Indonesia sounds like a fun project. After an overly long prologue, McKay describes how they journey to the island of Seram and bond with the Indonesian villagers. However, even as th ...more
Dec 01, 2012 Danielle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: waste-of-time
Mediocre writing, great plot, poor diction, average character development. If you are looking for a human rights book to bring awareness to violence in 3rd world countries, this book is for you; but if you are looking for a spiritual growth bildungsroman (coming-of-age story) about turning to God in desperate times, you will be sorely disappointed. This book is everything that's wrong with the Church. In this book, God is a background object that is used as a prop when convenient; there is no gr ...more
TheReadingKnitter/ Kasey
Apr 18, 2009 TheReadingKnitter/ Kasey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: 2009, favorites
I started this book on 04/12/2009. I finished this book on 04/18/2009.

WOW is the best word to describe this book. I actually gave it five stars and I'm very picky with what books get my five stars...It's that good. It's amazing and although the characters are fiction the fighting in Ambon is so real. Through the whole book I was just amazed at the choices this group of teens had to make. Although I wished Cori and Kyle had of ended up a couple it was okay in the end. This is one of the few books
Apr 22, 2013 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sis-and-me, favorites
This is a wonderful book. If you are a Christian teen who wants a good story without a message that sounds like it came out of Reader's Digest, then this is for you. The author could have you laughing one minute and crying the next. It is a great story. I loved the characters. Their personalities, emotions, hopes and fears, etc. came across in such a way that they were completely believable. Very well done. For those who have already read the book, my fave scenes are " Kyle's Wild Pig", "Mark, T ...more
I was very interested when I heard about this book, but I saved it until right before I left on my own mission trip. This book is about a mission trip gone horribly wrong, where they’re attacked by Muslims and flee into the jungle with the local pastor’s son and everything is at stake. I knew it would be a rush right before my own trip, and it was!

The story itself was great because it was so different. I’ve never read anything like that, it was truly brilliant in its originality. I think I woul
Mar 20, 2015 A.J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anne-me, favorites
This is my favorite book. I have easily read it 20 times and I could quote half the book. It is an amazing story. Even though it is very sad, it still made me laugh out loud in parts. I really like the characters, there are so many good ones I can not even pick a favorite. I recommend it to anyone and everyone! :)
Olivia Noack
When I picked this up, I was really confused with the way that it was being told. Basically, the prologue starts with a girl named Cori in the present day. Then the first chapter starts almost six months earlier, and Cori is telling the story of her 'real life' events. Then with less than five chapters left, the story returns to present day. I was not really expecting to like this, especially because I basically knew nothing about the plot line. In the end though, I really did like almost everyt ...more
Havebooks Willread
The author sucked me right into the story of a group of teenagers who took a mission trip to Indonesia to build a church building in a remote village. As conflict between Muslim and Christian populations increased, the teenagers escaped into the jungle.

I liked the simultaneous conflict in the story of man vs. nature and man vs. self. Not only did these teenagers have to learn to survive in the face of malaria, wild animals, and foraging for food, but they also were forced to dig down deep into w
Cousin Leah
Nov 20, 2007 Cousin Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is an excellent book about kids on a mission trip in Indonesia when religious conflict breaks out and their adventure of trying to get home with only a seventeen year old Indonesian boy as their guide. Excellent, thought provoking.
Nov 20, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this one is a little disturbing and violent. Just warning you. But suspenseful.
BRandy Thomas
Jan 04, 2014 BRandy Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved, favorites
This book was incredible, as in blew me out of the water I'm going to be telling everyone in the world to read it. Obviously, if you aren't looking for a book with a strong Christian influence you won't like it, but McKay is so accurate in portraying this teen girl's faith. It keeps your attention and has every element you need in the story. The romance in it, while very minimal for the most part was perfect. Many Christian authors tend to write cheesy books that do no one any good. This one wil ...more
Oct 28, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! Could not put it down!
Jan 14, 2014 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally got to read this book which was on my 'to read' list for a long time. Although I liked it overall it took me until nearly half way through before I became really engaged in the story. Cori is a likeable enough narrator, her reactions and emotions are relatable and the story is interesting so maybe just chalk that up to me waiting for things to start happening.
The characters go through much stress and trauma especially Cori. However in the beginning and at the end the focus is on the aft
Jennifer Nelson
This book is solidly written, beautiful, soulful, and palpably real - the author obviously threw everything into it. But, I was left empty-handed in the end. The reason for this being, I believe, the author's utter failure to present a realistic view of God. She portrays the human experience with great skill, but God is way off in the distance, an unknowable, mysterious being.

Does God feel distant when we go through times of sorrow? - Yes. Does it have to stay that way? - No. As we throw oursel
Sep 10, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By and large, what is most gripping about this book is the setting. It focuses on a group of teenagers on a missions trip in Indonesia and they get caught up in fighting between Muslims and Christians. Maybe I don't read enough, but I haven't personally come across fiction that delves into such a subject in this way. I had a hard time sometimes with the teenage characters, as they seemed a bit flat, but maybe that was because they were teenagers. But the story propelling the book was this fight ...more
Trinity Rose
Jan 31, 2012 Trinity Rose rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I’ve read by Lisa McKay and I really loved it. It was just astonishing. I was completely engrossed in My Hands Came Away Red. If I didn’t know better I would have believed this to be a true story. It was so captivating.
This book was published in 2007 and the next year it was a Christy Award Finalist. Even though it is an older book it still is of great magnitude and needs to be read. It makes you think about your cozy little life and you realize so many people are fighti
Feb 15, 2013 Shyla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Shyla by: read it with my bookclub
Just finished this book. I would have given this book a 4 1/2 stars if I could have but since I can't I have to give it five since I think it worth more than just four. I really enjoyed this book.

It is about 6 american teens going on a mission trip to Indonesia to help build a church in a small village. Once they arrive they meet Mani a local native their own age who's father is the pastor, and he helps them build the church and show them the ways of the village. The story is told from Cori's p
Jan 26, 2012 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"My Hands Came Away Red" is a very well-written Christian suspense/general fiction novel. The details were so vivid and rich that I was immersed in the story, and I'm still half-convinced these events really did happen. The characters were vividly real, complex, and acted in very realistic (and varied) ways to the situations they faced.

The high level of suspense was mainly from the physical danger they were in but also from relationship tensions. The main characters were Christian teens, and the
Apr 23, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It had well developed characters that I could really relate with and learn from. This book was written based on true events from recent history, but the voice of the main character Cori (who's perspective the book is written from) is so authentic, that it almost seems like this book is somebody's journal. For anyone who's ever been on a mission trip, this story is especially moving, and I like that it is real as the characters confront conflicts within their faith and ...more
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General 2 6 Aug 10, 2012 12:24PM  
Missions 1 15 Feb 27, 2009 11:06PM  
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Lisa McKay is an author and psychologist specializing in stress, trauma, and resilience. She is currently living in Laos.
More about Lisa McKay...

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“I was surprised to learn that there was yet another type of tired. On Seram we'd had physical tired. The type of tired when a thousand muscles are screaming at you to quit walking, sweat's running off you, and only the energy you manage to generate from gritting your teeth helps you take the next step. That type of tired can keep the emotional tired safely at bay-the tired when sadness is a physical weight, a thick smothering, aching thing. That was the dangerous type of tired we couldn't afford on Seram. That's the type of tired that makes you want to sit still and listen to despair.” 1 likes
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