Die Young is by Michael and Hayley DiMarco and published by Crossway*. Haley is the best-selling author of over 30 books, including God Girl, Mean Girls, and Die Young. She and her husband, run Hungry Planet, a company focused on producing books that combine hard-hitting biblical truth with cutting-edge design in Nashville, Tennessee.
Crossway describes the book this way:
In a world that entices people to chase happiness and be self-centered, Hayley and Michael DiMarco take a stand for the truth. Living for yourself, they say, will destroy you. The only path to real life is through death—a death to self that frees people to live with the fearless love and rock-solid hope that Jesus intended.
Overall, I liked the book. I would give it 3 stars out of 5. The book has a familiar ring to it. It’s organized around the idea that everything you think is wrong. “You have heard it said…but I say unto you.” Death is the New Life. Down is the New Up. Less is the New More. Weak is the New Strong. Slavery is the New Freedom. Confession is the New Innocence. Red is the New White. Basically, the Gospel turns the world and life upside down. I felt like the DiMarco’s did a good job of exploring each of those areas to look at how the call to follow Jesus changes everything in our life. No area of life is left unchanged or unchallenged. All must be surrendered. All is required. The old must die.
While I enjoyed the book and think the core of the material is solid, I did have a few critiques of the book. First, the Gospel is only used to talk about personal salvation from sin. While I’m still learning much about this, the Gospel is more than that. The good news is not just about me avoiding hell and living this rich life that is promised. It’s the all-encompassing fulfillment of Kingdom of Christ. It’s the good news that those who have competing kingdoms can lay down their arms, abdicate their thrones and join the Kingdom of God. I think that the book could have been made even stronger if the theme of the Kingdom had been woven into the book’s core. Second, I found the book very repetitive at times. I found myself saying at times “Okay, I get it…let’s move on.” Finally, I found the layout of the book a little distracting. Throughout the book, both Michael and Hayley interspersed their personal story of coming to grips with the truths they are talking about. However, rather than weaving those stories into the prose of the book, there are these pages that say “Here lies Michael” or “Here lies Hayley” and there the authors share their personal stories. I found this distracting. So distracting that I began skipping them after the first chapter.
I did feel as if the authors wrote the book with a younger audience in mind. Even though they say in the book that you can “die young” at any age, the way the book is written, the authors are clearly targeting the younger generation (teenagers and young adults).
Overall, I think it’s a solid book that would be suitable for new believers, especially teenagers, even with the few critiques I mentioned above.
*Crossway provided me with a free copy of the book in exchange for a review. I was not required to provide a positive review.