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My Hands Came Away Red

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4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  584 ratings  ·  109 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
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Kindle Edition, 398 pages
Published (first published September 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,059)
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Laurie
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?
Beth
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
Elevetha
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
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Kara
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
Brandon
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
Kimberly
Feb 02, 2008 Kimberly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Michelle
Nov 01, 2007 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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 it...you'll see what I mean!
Robynne
Jan 26, 2008 Robynne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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!!!
Jill Williamson
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
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Renee
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
Danielle
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Anne
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
Melissa
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
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A.J.
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! :)
Joselle173
It was OK, a bit slow moving at parts. I thought it odd, though, that as Cori writes this memoir and searches for the meaning of why God would allow this to happen to her and her friends, that she never really grasps it (and as the reader, I see it.) Was it just me who didn't see her "getting it"?
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
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Cousin Leah
Nov 20, 2007 Cousin Leah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
BRandy Thomas
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
Kathy
Excellent! Could not put it down!
Eileen
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
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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
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Lisa
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
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
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Shyla
Feb 15, 2013 Shyla rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Debbie
"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
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Katie
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
Dana Kennedy
This story is about Cori, a teenager who goes on a mission trip in Indonesia. While there, she and 6 others, are thrust into the middle of a conflict between Christian and Muslims. The pastor's son, Mani, watches his parents masacured in the village. Cori and the others flee into the jungle to escape. The story centers on the characters and their struggles during their journey home. There is a romantic element to the story, too. Cori has planned the mission trip to sort out her feelings about he ...more
Lucinda
So far only on page 34 and have a favorite quote: If boot camp was what could happen when we got something we asked for, I resolved to be a darn sight more careful about what I prayed for in the future.

This was an absolutely wonderful read. Good writing, wonderful characters, and dialog worth reading. This would get 4.5 stars if it was available.

Muslim and Christian fighting occurs while Christian kids are on a humanitary mission in Indonesia. They witness first hand the horrors of religious wa
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Lisa McKay is an author and psychologist specializing in stress, trauma, and resilience. She is currently living in Laos.
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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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