Monday, March 6, 2017

Review: Door to Freedom

Door to Freedom
By Jana Kelley
Sequel to Side by Side
New Hope, 2017


It's rough and it's smooth. It's dark and it's light. It's a masterpiece. It's us. Here in Sudan. We are scared of it and drawn to it. There is an open door, and there is much opposition.

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister's sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedom, the freedom that only comes when you trust God's sovereignty more than manmade security.

Part of New Hope Publishers' line of contemporary missional fiction, Door to Freedom, the sequel to Side by Side, opens the reader's eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Door to Freedom also reveals some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as for the salvation of the persecutors.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My thoughts

Door to Freedom is a thought provoking and eye-opening book, even convicting. It’s written in a style appropriate for YA readers, yet its themes are serious. Door to Freedom takes up where Side by Side ended, and is drawn from Jana Kelley’s personal experiences while living in Islamic Sudan and the Middle East, making it extremely relevant.

Michael and Mia live in Sudan, where Michael works for a humanitarian organization and Mia is a stay-at-home mom. The feel of Sudan is vividly conveyed – the dirt, oppressive heat, food – and insight is given into the Islamic culture. I especially enjoyed the scenes with 16-year-old Rania, whose sister became a Christian in Side by Side – and the way Islam’s strict legalism and intolerance is contrasted with Rania’s spiritual journey. It was also great to see the deepening of Mia and Michael’s faith and the eagerness to share their beliefs.

The strength of Door to Freedom is the glimpse it gives us of religious realities for Muslim and Christian faiths alike – and the resulting challenge to the reader’s personal faith. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Door to Freedom gives new meaning to the command of Jesus that we “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” In spite of changes taking place in America, being a Christian is still relatively comfortable. But how many of us, especially those who don’t find sharing our faith easy here at home, could do so under the very real threat of persecution?

Door to Freedom has given me an even stronger burden to pray for Christians and seekers in the Muslim world. When asked in an interview about the effect of her story on readers, Jana writes: “I hope that when my readers turn the final page of my book, they will not be so scared of Muslims. I hope they will find a spark of love for the lost and a desire to pray for and reach out to those who don’t know the truth. Then, I hope they will act on that spark!”


I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Author of the captivating novel Side by Side, Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated, and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After 13 years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.



  1. Being a fan of YA fiction and being a Christian really finds this book in a genre that is need of more Christian/clean material. I am also drawn to the fact the story centers around two female lead characters within the Islamic world that seeks to silence women.

  2. Great review, Carole! I enjoyed Side by Side. I look forward to reading this one.