When I saw that THE CALL OF JEREMIAH MCGILL was set in the early 1970s, I jumped at the chance to read this title. Not many MG books are set in a decade that shares similar problems to what we have in the present. Jeremiah narrates his coming of age story set in Cape Creek, Missouri:

Eleven-year-old Jeremiah McGill is at a cusp in his young life. It’s 1971 and America is in a historical transition with sons in the Vietnam War, fundamental changes in civil rights, protests, and political tumult. As the young boy wants only to pass his time reading comic books and galivanting with his friends, his preacher father has a different divine destiny in mind for him. Feeling removed and uncertain about his connection to his faith, Jeremiah’s not sure where he fits in.

As Jeremiah begins his discovery of who he is, the boy has a whirlwind of questions troubling him: confusion about his new friendship with a white boy at school, navigating the relationships that he has with some of his questionable friends, and defining his place within his faith-driven family. Jeremiah is at a crossroads, trying to figure out his place in the world. And though it may be evident to others in his life, it’s something the boy must do on his own.


Jeremiah’s inner thoughts cover everything from being the Pastor’s kid (his father makes him carry a bible to school) to thinking about how he will ever approach Christine, his first crush. The Vietnam War also comes in to play when a friend’s brother returns from fighting in the war and has trouble readjusting. But the heart of the novel lies in Jeremiah’s faith, dealing with racial tension among friends, and trying to figure out the person he will become. It’s a heartfelt look at a boy’s spiritual journey at being recognized in a confusing world.


  1. With religion the backdrop to this engaging story, some may stay clear, but I found it to be reminiscent of my own childhood where I grew up in a strong religious family. Always being good and trying to understanding the teachings of God are not easy when you’re 11 years old.
  2. Family connections are so important both 50 years ago and today. Jeremiah’s loving parents and an older brother are always there to give him advice–Although that brother charges him 50 cents for each pearl of wisdom!
  3. Colton, the only white boy in Jeremiah’s group of friends, has to deal with racial hate directed at him and it is handled beautifully.
  4. The cover will draw new readers in as Jeremiah contemplates his life. Looming in the background is the church that is trying to pull him closer to God.
  5. Although the ending wrapped up all the crucial plot points, it begged to be continued. The sign of a writer who knows his craft.


MG author Joseph L. Moore has been a storyteller since childhood. His inspiration comes from listening to his parents and their friends on Sunday evenings talk about their times growing up in the church as young kids, their joy reminiscing, and the adventures they had. Joseph wanted to share their rich history and has woven that into his new coming of age novel, The Call of Jeremiah McGill, a historical fiction story with a Christian backdrop.

Joseph believes a good book is one with honesty, that shares the truth of a situation whether good or bad, and one where the reader can find themselves in the story. In The Call of Jeremiah McGill, a young boy is discovering who he is called to be in life. Joseph hopes his young readers come away from his book learning a bit about history and asking questions about Jesus and their own spirituality, and that it starts a conversation that lasts long after the book is closed.

When he isn’t writing spiritual and enlightening books for young adults, Joseph is a musician and singer and enjoys listening to soft worship music as he writes. Having grown up in the church and in faith, Joseph currently serves as a minister of music of House of Prayer, World Outreach Mission. An educator for nine years, Joseph lives in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, south of St. Louis. The Call of Jeremiah McGill is his debut novel.



About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Historical fiction, Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. It sounds a good story, and I like that the hero has a spiritual journey too, which is rare in MG stories, thanks for sharing!

  2. Glad you enjoyed this book. I agree with you that spiritual journeys aren’t brought up much in middle grade stories. Thanks for the sharing this story this week.

  3. writercarolb says:

    I will definitely look for this book. It hits many points in what I look for in a good read. Thanks for highlighting it.

  4. sounds intriguing. I think every kid can identify with the “what should I be/what could I be” of growing up

  5. Brenda says:

    Sounds like a delightful story, and I had to chuckle over his brother charging for “pearls of wisdom.” Exactly what an older sibling would do. Happy MMGM

  6. I am particularly interested in Jeremiah’s spiritual journey — something you don’ot see in MG books. But, I like the context you put it in. I also like books about the 70s because things were changing so quickly with activism. I found it an interesting time. Sounds like there will be a sequel. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I am happy to see religion being treated as a part of life in middle-grade and YA fiction. This sounds like a great read.

  8. I’m putting this one on my list. You make it sound great. I love your line, “Although that brother charges him 50 cents for each pearl of wisdom!” Hahahaha. I’ll bet he’s a fun character. Thanks for the reveiw.

  9. This looks good! I look forward to getting my hands on it… I love that there’s a historical element to it.

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