Book Review: The First Principle

23 Sep

They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. Luke 12:53 ESV

51nKWx4Ti6L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same–until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she’s sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn’t long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion–or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother’s chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn’t ready to face.


marissa-shrock_about-201x300Marissa Shrock is a writer and language arts teacher who enjoys working with her fun seventh grade students. She is a graduate of Taylor University and has completed the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. She is a member of ACFW.

Marissa has written articles for teens and adults in Evangel and Encounter. The First Principle is her debut novel.

In her spare time Marissa loves spending time with family and friends, shopping for cute clothes, traveling, baking, and playing golf.


My Impressions:

Marissa Shrock’s debut YA novel, The First Principle, is a chilling look at what the world could become — government control of all aspects of our life, including economic, religious and reproductive freedom. A plot-driven suspense, it is also a great starting point for discussions of what we give up for safety and security.

Vivica Williams is the high school-aged daughter of the Governor of a region within the United Regions of America, a nation comprised of the former countries in North America. Following the collapse of world economies and the ensuing chaos and riots, a new order is established to maintain the well-being of its citizens. But government has a hand in all aspects of life, and Vivica starts to question just what is right and wrong with the many regulations that determine her and others’ future.

Told in the first person voice of Vivica (a strong and determined character) the reader is introduced to a world where the class system is firmly in place, a state-sanctioned and redacted religion is the only one tolerated and life choices (from the sugar and fat consumed to how many children one can have) are monitored and strictly regulated. Government knows best and rules with a heavy hand. Shrock has created a world not so far-fetched as once thought. The First Principle is a great book to use to encourage discussions on the value of human life and freedoms, the danger of a watered-down gospel and the necessity to stand for the truth even when it divides families. A plot filled with political conspiracies, assassinations, and double dealings makes this a fast-paced, suspenseful read. It also has some intense scenes and mature subject matter — making it, in my opinion, suitable for high school and above.


Audience: high school and above.

Great for book club discussion.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and CSFF for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read what other participants of the CSFF tour have to say about The First Principle, click on the links below.

Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Megan @ Hardcover Feedback
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Jalynn Patterson
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas
Shane Werlinger
Carol Gehringer


3 Responses to “Book Review: The First Principle”

  1. Rebecca LuElla Miller September 23, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    Good evaluation, Beckie. I think you’ve done the book justice. 😉


    • rbclibrary September 24, 2015 at 6:46 am #

      Thanks Becky! It was hard to distill this book into a simple review.


  1. CSFF Blog Tour – The First Principle, Day 1 | A Christian Worldview of Fiction - September 23, 2015

    […] √ √ Julie Bihn √ Thomas Clayton Booher √ √ √ Keanan Brand √ √ Beckie Burnham √ April Erwin √ Carol Gehringer √ Victor Gentile √ Carol Keen √ √ […]

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