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Riley Unlikely: How One Young Woman's Heart for Africa Is Changing the World

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Riley Unlikely is the inspiring story of Riley Banks, who first traveled to Kenya at age 13, and has been back every year since bringing backpacks of school supplies and hygiene kits for young girls, developing relationships and friendships, and is currently, as a young millennial, raising money to build a complete learning complex in Kibwezi, Kenya for those who have noth ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 22nd 2016 by Zondervan
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  129 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
About this book:

Riley Unlikely is the inspiring story of Riley Banks, who first traveled to Kenya at age 13, and has been back every year since bringing backpacks of school supplies and hygiene kits for young girls, developing relationships and friendships, and is currently, as a young millennial, raising money to build a complete learning complex in Kibwezi, Kenya for those who have nothing.
At age sixteen Riley learned that, because of a rare medical condition, she would never be able to have
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, young
“If anything has become clear to me … it’s the link between love and craziness.”

This is an awesome book. Not only is the subject a great, true story, but the writing is genuine. The voice sounds like a real person--a poised, enthusiastic young lady who is as amazed as anyone else at what a couple weeks in Kenya changed her life … and the lives of hundreds of American and Kenyan children.

“A pencil could be a source of fulfillment and deep satisfaction.”

A fast read; a fun read. Hard to put down. U
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love to read stories of how someone is called to a purpose in life. Riley's story of how she became a missionary in Kenya is fascinating as God slowly unfolds her calling. It is always hard to read about the great poverty of Africa.
Nathan Albright
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Zondervan. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Although the author, who considers herself to be shy and timid by nature, and not the sort of person who desires attention, and therefore an unlikely person to be prompted by the Spirit to live a life of generosity to the people of Kenya, little could be more likely given the ironic sense of humor that God has. Neither is it ironic that such a loving soul like hers would manage to attract a
Emily Thevenin
Mar 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
I didn't even get halfway through this one. It's obviously written by a kid and I got tired of her constant use of the word "I". Perhaps a young person would enjoy this diary style type of autobio, but I would have rather heard more about the mission this young lady was a part of rather than her own feelings all the time.
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Isn’t it awesome to see the ways God works? I love reading stories of God drastically shifting lives for His glory. Plus I love Africa and my visit there is still one of my favorite trips. Since this book combined the two, I couldn’t resist!

“The beauty of watching God work is that His ways are so utterly unlike ours that often his moves seem to come out of nowhere.”

What an encouraging read! I love these kinds of stories. I never tire of hearing the ways God works. This was not only the story of
Amanda (Orandi et Legendi)
This book literally had me laughing and crying. Love it!

First of all, this book is AMAZING! I started this book while sitting in airports (and on airplanes) on my way home from World Youth Day. To give you a hint about how much I loved this book, let me tell you something. I was literally in tears at the Chicago airport while reading this, twice. I guess that could be my first piece of advice concerning this book: Be prepared for tears!

Riley Unlikely is the true story of Riley and Kenya. Riley f
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ein 13jähriges amerikanisches Mädchen, Riley, wünscht sich nichts sehnlicher als einen Besuch bei ihren Verwandten, die in Kenia in einem Krankenhaus arbeiten. Ihre Eltern erlauben es ihr, und ihr Vater begleitet sie auf eine Reise, die einiges ins Rollen bringt.
Die Koffer voller Spielsachen für die armen Kinder dort, ist ein Schlüsselerlebnis für sie ein Tag in einer dortigen Schule. Mühsam versuchen die kleinen Kinder die englischen Wörter von der Tafel abzuschreiben, dabei verbringen sie die
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a 13 year old, Riley traveled to Kenya, accompanied by her father, to visit her aunt and uncle serving as short-term missionaries. Riley fell in love with the people and the nation and returned to the States wanting to go back. For the next several years, some combination of her family went taking school supplies, women’s health kits, or prepared to help with school construction and dedication. Riley is open about the need to trust God to provide the finances and materials. This is an amazin ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book just shows you, you are never too young to understand what is going on in the world and that you are never to little to help. Seems she has made a difference in many people's life. The only thing I didn't agree with was towards the end of the book she talks about interviewing people and how she turns them away because of the religion - wouldn't this give her another opportunity to spread the word of God, this could possibly change their beliefs?

I hope her work continues to help people
Sara Hill
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I came by this book in a time when I really needed it. I had signed on and was starting to fundraise for my first mission trip. I had three fail before this one.
This book helped me remember how if God lead me to this he would provide. It was an amazing story that has inspired me to live on the edge with my faith. On my mission trip I found a purpose for what I am to do in the future and this book reminded me that I can do it and something small can grow.
It is an extremely quick read that will
Amber Kirbey
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Riley Banks-Snyder is truly an inspiration to all. I am so glad I purchased this book because it gives me an even deeper appreciation for Riley and her team. Her dedication to the children in Kenya is a beautiful love story that shows you that anyone can make a difference if they are called to do so. I enjoyed reading how Generation next evolved over the years eventually turning into the organization it is now.
A short and quick read. Riley is so naive but then she is a teenager and you have to remind yourself of that when she makes stupid, obvious mistakes like not realizing she needs a nonprofit to get donations. This book is a good cautionary tale in mistakes not to make when forming a nonprofit. The book is heavy on Christianity and praising God so it's not for everyone.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All I can say is...WOW. Riley truly embraced her God-given calling, and because of her obedience, many Kenyan children are thriving more and more every day. A friend recommended this book, and I'm so glad I read it. My heart was stirred.
After reading this book and traveling with Riley and her team to Kenya this past month, I can say my whole worldview has shifted entirely. So blessed to be apart of something bigger than myself and being able to travel halfway around the world for our sweet Jesus.
Melinda Delamarter
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such an amazing story of God's power and faithfulness. I can't wait to meet Riley one day. :)
Joyce Downing
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I really was moved by how God used Riley to make a difference. I enjoyed reading this book. In a world of evil and sorrow this was so refreshing.
Hannah Mead
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
Beautiful story of how God used a girl to make a difference for him. Definitely recommend!!
Fantastic book about a young lady who loves Jesus and is willing to follow Him wherever he leads. Riley is an enthusiastic, big-hearted young woman who has faced her share of sorrows and trials, but she has chosen to trust Jesus and rise above these things that would get anyone down. She isn't perfect, though, and in this book she is humbly transparent about the struggles. Jesus has used Riley for great things - and He will continue to do so!

This is a perfect book for any Christian young lady to
Victoria W.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Take one teenage girl, add a dream to go to Africa, stir in a lot of faith, and what do you get?
Riley Unlikely.

Riley Unlikely is the story of Riley Banks Snyder teenage founder of Generation Next and teenage missionary who has a heart for the children of Africa and a passion for partnering with them receive to receive the education and medical care they deserve.

I loved Riley's down to earth style and the honest, conversational way she chronicled her own journey from a young, enthusiastic though
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I was so thrilled to have the chance to read this book. Being a part of the Branson community, I have had the opportunity to learn about Riley's efforts and have some friends who have traveled with her to Africa. I wanted to learn more about how this amazing woman started her non-profit organization Generation Next.

Riley Unlikely tells the inspiring story of Riley Banks-Snyder and how at such a young age, she developed a passion for helping the impoverished children in Kenya. Through the book, w
Mazzou B
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the autobiography of Riley Banks who at the young age of 14, founded a non-profit organization called Generation Next. Generation Next seeks to enrich the lives of young people in Kenya in the hopes that they will be better equipped for their futures. Riley was first gripped with the inspiration to travel to Kenya at age 13. When she saw the conditions over there she quickly was filled with ideas of ways to help the poor yet joyous people living there. Riley's world was changed and she d ...more
Maddie Cowley
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book of servanthood and surrender! It reassured my desire to be in the Dominican Republic all the more!

Some great quotes:
"Even though God had proven himself to me many times by now, I had gotten caught up in the circumstances directly in front of me and had forgotten that God is bigger than them all ... His response to my doubt wasn't punishment; it was unmistakable grace."

"you can do something because it's possible, and you can do something because you can't not do it."

Dec 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This is such an encouraging read, full of enthusiasm. It's for anyone out there who has a dream to make a difference in the world no matter how young or old you are.

So many people write teenagers off as lazy and uninterested in the wider world but here is one young person who has seen a real need and done something wonderful about it. It's not all about the successes though as Riley her family and friends come up against many obstacles that can and can't be overcome but carry on despite them.

Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Riley weaves her story so elegantly that you get swept up and forget the world around you. You will feel like you are in Kenya with her. You will cry when she cries, and laugh when she laughs. A truly touching story about how God can take you on the most unexpected of journeys, but bless you with more than you ever thought possible!
Sierra Arredondo
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, christian-memoir, ya
Very inspiring young lady! Good read for sure.
Via Bella
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read the full review here:

A book that every girl needs to read. It is inspiring.
rated it liked it
Jun 21, 2017
Alyssa Foster
rated it really liked it
Nov 09, 2017
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“When you’re serving just because you can, the work is useful and beneficial and good. But you’ll stay committed to it only as long as it stays convenient. By contrast, when you’re serving in a capacity where you feel called, you’ll move heaven and earth if you have to, to see it through.” 5 likes
“The Maker of all things is finding ways to make Himself known to those He has made. Maybe if I lived in a place like Kenya and had to wake up everyday wondering whether I'd have enough to eat and drink, and maybe if I had to wonder those same things about everyone I loved, then it wouldn't take grand, blatant gestures for me to appreciate God's provision. Maybe if I had a little less of what I need, then I would remember a little more how much I need Him.” 0 likes
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