Side by Side by Jana Kelley | Blog Tour and Book Giveaway

Secrets and risks meet on the streets of Khartoum in the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan in Jana Kelley‘s new book, Side by SideWhat happens when the path of a young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.

Enter to win a copy of Side by Side—five winners will be chosen! The winners will be announced May 12 on Jana’s blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


{More about Side by Side}

Side by Side (New Hope Publishers, April 2015)

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia’s life collides with that of another young woman.

A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family’s business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of a young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.

Part of New Hope® Publishers’ contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader’s eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as 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 pray for the salvation of those who persecute.

Learn more and purchase a copy at Jana’s website.

Jana Kelley

{More About Jana Kelley}

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.

Find out more about Jana at


  • Side By Side gripped me from the beginning. The novel follows Mia as she moves from the US to Sudan with her young family. She struggles to find her purpose on the mission field. Just as she’s ready to give up, God reveals to her His plan.

    Written by This Sweet Life on May 24, 2015


    This novel is a fictional account of a Muslim converting to Christianity against dangerous repercussions that any Muslim may face in their country because they are not allowed to change from the Islam faith to any other religious belief. The novel is lengthy and may have been edited more but an interesting read regarding how converting to Christianity can be detrimental to some. I recommend to readers who wish to learn some of the consequences many face when changing faiths in an extreme religious based environment.

    Written by Ski-Wee’s Book Corner on May 21, 2015
    Read my full review:


    I received this book from Litfuse to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.

    Written by Splashes of Joy on May 19, 2015
    Read my full review:


    This. Book.

    If there is one book you need to read in 2015 THIS IS IT!

    By far, Side by Side is the most compelling novel I have read in a very long time. It was engrossing from the very beginning and I was up very late into the night reading this book.

    To read the descriptions of Muslim girls in Sudan was absolutely heartwrenching. That anyone would be treated the way these girls are is so incredibly sad. However, what warmed my heart in the midst of pain and destruction was the friendship between Mia and Halimah.

    Written by A Mom After God’s Own Heart on May 16, 2015


    I have just finished reading an amazing story about how great our GOD is. Once my eyes were opened I saw Him in everything, and how life itself is a miracle. This is a great thing, and reading this novel, yes it is a work of fiction but written so beautifully that I found myself holding my breath as I waited for God to manifest Himself in Halimah’s deepest, darkest hours. And He was faithful. My heart ached as I learned a little more of how she had to hide her newfound joy from her family, and yet they could not help but see how different her attitude and life really was. It was easier to feel like Mia, leaving home, loved ones, as well as the conveniences we have for a distant land where Christians are not welcome.
    It was impossible for me to put myself in her shoes as she witnessed God’s faithfulness, but I was able to learn along with Mia that He has a plan for each of us where we are, if we are willing to be used.

    Thank you to Chris and Amy at Litfuse Publicity Group, New Hope Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this. I received a free Ebook for the purpose of reviewing. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own.

    Written by Reviewing Novels Online on May 16, 2015
    Read my full review:


    My Thoughts On The Book: When I finished reading the book I felt I needed to sigh. This book was very impressive and at times literally took my breath away. It was so realistic that I had to remind myself over and over that it was fiction. My daughter is a missionary in Moldova at an orphanage and sometimes when we talk about her children I close my eyes and see the ones I teach. They may live halfway across the world, they may dress differently, they may speak a different language but in the end we are all very much alike. I have mailed this book to my daughter because I believe she too will fall in love with the writing style and subject of Jana Kelley. This is a must read book.
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Written by Karen’s Korner on May 13, 2015
    Read my full review:


    The story is told from the viewpoint of Mia, an American who traveled to Sudan with her husband, and Halimah, an Arab girl living in Sudan. Mia follows her husband willingly, knowing they are doing what God wants them to do, but life in Sudan is very different from how she imagined it. She is a stay-at-home mother while her husband works endless hours away from home. She has no friends and feels scared and isolated most of the time. Halimah is a Muslim who is questioning her faith. She begins to get deeper and deeper into learning about the Christian faith until at last she is ready to take that step.

    I think this story is well-written. It will grab your attention for sure. I would love to read more by Kelley in the future.

    Written by The Talbert Report on May 12, 2015
    Read my full review:


    if you have ever wondered about the Muslim world or what it would be like to live in a Muslim Country as a foreigner then this book might be just what you were looking for.

    Written by A Room Without books is Empty on May 11, 2015


    Living a fairly easy life in the United States, I don’t often think about the persecution Christians around the world face. That’s why books like Side by Side are important.

    The danger and persecution Halimah faces when she chooses to follow Christ are foreign to most American Christians. For Halimah, choosing Jesus over Islam makes her a criminal, as conversion to Christianity is illegal. It also makes her an outcast in her family, and her life is immediately in danger. I found the portions of the book that followed Halimah to be completely engrossing as they provided a glimpse into both Islamic culture and the reality of life for Christians in Islamic countries.

    Written by Christian Chick’s Thoughts on May 10, 2015
    Read my full review:

  • Side by Side gave me a glimpse of life in Khartoum, Sudan, both of Muslim women and Christians. It was easy to visualize, with Jana’s descriptions. A very captivating story, and hard to put down. I can empathize with Mia in her feelings of homesickness, as well as her desire to be able to share Jesus with others.

    Written by Life at Rossmont on May 10, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Wow, this is such a intense and heart pounding book! I was definitely on the edge of my seat for this story. It just amazes me what people in other countries endure when they speak out and believe in our Lord and savior.

    Written by cherylbbookblog on May 10, 2015
    Read my full review:


    This was a brave book to write. It was very real, my heart broke for the Muslim girls and how they are treated like property. I loved Mia, her desire to meet and witness to Muslim women was real and encouraging. While this is written as a novel, it reminds me of the Missionary books I read as a kid. It was a good book, filled with great detail about not only Sudan, and the people, but the reality of Americans living there.

    Written by Radiant Light on May 9, 2015
    Read my full review:


    When I first got this in, I was just kind of so-so about reading it. I have read my fair share of biographies and they tend to be slower paced and I hate to say it, some aren’t that interesting. But after opening and reading the first chapter, I was hooked on this one! And then to find out, it isn’t a biography at all? Only a novel loosely based on real life events:) Ahh me, yes this is the life of a book reviewer.

    Written by Giveaway Lady on May 9, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Ms. Kelley does a phenomenal job of bringing first-hand experiences of the harsh realities a missionary faces in an Islamic-based society to her characters. The fact that this book is based on real-life events makes it even more so. The characters of Mia and Halimah bring the reader face to face with the reality of what life is like as a missionary harboring an “infidel,” and the overwhelming cost of becoming a Christian and leaving the Islamic faith in a modern Muslim society.

    Written by Misadventures of the Dynamic Uno on May 9, 2015
    Read my full review:


    What a great story of two women from different parts of the world and different views on religion. This is a great story on GOD having control of all our situations as long as you keep your faith and belief in HIM. This is about a family that moves to Sudan to do mission work and how they survive in a very different culture. You meet the women of this country and learn how much different it is for them then being an American women.

    It is a great book and makes you realize that how blessed American’s have it to be able to believe in the religion of you your choice then in other countries that you have to believe in what your country believes. If you do not follow the countries religion will result in shame to your family and death for you.

    Written by Deb’s Book Review on May 9, 2015


    This book was so interesting and I love learning about the Sudanese culture and customs. I really feel like I understand now why they have tried to escape their country and why they dress like they do and so much more.

    This book helped me broaden not only me reading horizons but my cultural horizons and I feel like a better person after reading it. It was really well written, told a great and interesting story of two women from different cultures coming together because of Jesus and their faiths. Truly a moving story and one that will not leave you the same person as when you started it! Living your faith and standing up for what you believe will never look the same again to me!

    Written by The Review Stew on May 8, 2015
    Read my full review:


    The more impactful thing, for me, was to realize that this story is based on the author’s real-life experiences as a missionary’s wife. I have MUCH to be thankful for when I think that God has allowed me to support missionary work in many ways, and to know that He is using me on the job and within my family just as much as those on the “mission field.” God is sovereign over all of our lives, and Side by Side is a beautiful testimony of how God uses all of us to lead others to the foot of the cross! Rejoice with me and enjoy this incredible story of God’s grace!

    Written by Window To My World on May 8, 2015
    Read my full review:


    This is a work of fiction, but this is also a work of truth. This novel is going to change your life and how you view the Muslims. It’s also going to bring the Christians who are fighting for their lives in the Sudan more up close and personal to you.

    If you can read this book without crying I want to know. They may be tears of anger or tears of sadness or both, but I think you’re going to cry. This is a very poignant tale with a deep meaning.

    When you are reading this book you totally forget that it’s fiction. You are there. This is HAPPENING around you, right now. The author is a missionary who has traveled extensively and witnessed much which I think is what gives her this edge to her writing. A must read book. You are not going to look at the world the same any longer.

    Written by For Him and My Family on May 8, 2015


    Inspired by real-life events, this book is not only a good story, it’s also an important message: Pray for Christians being persecuted in Muslim countries and around the world. Don’t forget them.

    I enjoyed this book because it was one that pulled me out of my comfort zone–that forced me to think about how so many people around the world aren’t living the cushy American-Christian life that I enjoy.

    Written by WordSmith on May 8, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Side by Side by Jana Kelley is the most compelling, exciting, and powerful read of 2015 in Christian literature. It centers around two women that come from different backgrounds and faiths and how they soon come to depend on each other. It shows from beginning to end how God brings them together and uses them. It asks the question: “how far would you go to pursue your faith in God?” Would you be willing to follow Him even when your family, friends and even your own country seem to be against you? Side by Side is a blending of real-life events and real heroes that creates a story that should be on everyone’s “to be read” list.

    Written by Taylor Reid Reads and Breathes on May 7, 2015


    Side by Side is still a spiritually and culturally worthwhile read. Stories like this one are important to know in this day and age, and for any reader interested Christianity in Islam-controlled areas, it is a great option. I would recommend it.

    Written by Book by Book on May 7, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Side By Side is an amazing book weaving a beautiful tale of God’s love for everyone. This book was inspired by real life events that have happened in the authors life. Jana Kelley truly has a way with words.

    Written by A Simple Life, really?! on May 7, 2015


    What I loved most is how both Mia and Halimah discover God’s divine purpose for both of them being precisely where they are despite the odds facing them both. It is difficult at times to fathom how violent a family can be against their own daughter when professing a faith in Jesus contrary to their Muslim upbringing and how degraded women are treated in that culture. Truly eye opening in that it showcases how truly blessed we are in the United States to have the freedom to worship and not face any retribution from our country or our family

    Written by Reviews From The Heart on May 7, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Jana does an excellent job with writing this book as I was immediately drawn into it and the scene was set that I was felt as if I was experiencing the story as well. It is so easy to forget about the struggles that Christians living in other countries may be dealing with on a daily basis and also how other cultures may be treated. This book will help all of the readers to expand their worldview and develop a deeper understanding of life in other countries and become more culturally aware.

    Written by Moments on May 6, 2015
    Read my full review:


    The description on the back cover doesn’t do justice to Jana Kelley’s Side By Side. When I first signed up for the book tour, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy it. However, one page in and I was hooked. Mia, an American Christian wife and mom to three small children, moves to North Sudan with her husband. Halimah is a young girl who becomes a Christian in a country where an Islam who becomes a Christian can be put to death.

    Written by I am believing God on May 6, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Side by Side has a great combination of setting, characters and plot. The dusty streets, crowded markets and the exotic scents became real as I read. I certainly identified with Mia as she fought feelings of loneliness, inadequacy and doubt. She gave me greater insight into what aid workers and missionaries experience when they leave their families and familiar surroundings behind. Halimah was truly inspiring as she gave up everything for her new found faith in Jesus. Their stories kept me turning the pages; the element of suspense making me hold my breath.

    Great fiction for the missions-minded! Recommended!

    Written by By The Book on May 6, 2015
    Read my full review:


    What I want to say first, and what I’d like most remembered, is that this is a book worth reading. Side by Side is, more than most, a novel of timeliness and relevance for today’s American Christian. Because, despite its increasing dominance in current events, the Islam religion remains veiled in mystery for most of us. Yet more and more, we are discovering Muslims as our neighbors, both in the U.S. and abroad. And this, coupled with the rise of Christian persecution worldwide, leads me to conclude that we have a responsibility, now more than ever, to educate ourselves on the Muslim faith and lifestyle….

    While the story itself is fascinating, many of the characters and conversations tend to be simplistic and one-dimensional. Mia was particularly difficult to relate to….

    Written by Story Matters on May 5, 2015
    Read my full review:


    More often than not, I do not remember to keep the persecuted Church in my prayers. However after reading Kelley’s description of the Christians who live in Sudan, I believe I will be much more likely to remember to pray for them. Kelley’s writing transported me to the other side of the world. The characters in this novel were very easy to connect with and relate to. I also appreciated the details and descriptions about Muslim life and their culture. While some of the details are a bit gut wrenching and graphic, Kelley really force the reader to experience what it would be like…as much as one can when reading a book.

    Written by Adventures of D and V on May 4, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Side by Side is a book that I won’t forget very easily. It is an interesting book that is definitely eye-opening.

    Written by Reading Corner Reviews & More on May 4, 2015
    Read my full review:


    I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. This book will change your worldview, give you first hand knowledge of the dangers of missionary work and give you information on how to pray for missionaries. Side by Side is a must read for all Christians who would like to know how better to minister to Muslims.

    Thank you to the Litfuse Chicks and New Hope Publishers for a free copy of Side by Side in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

    Written by Simple Harvest Reads on May 4, 2015
    Read my full review:


    This is a perfect read for families who are headed to the mission field, already on the mission field and who are ministering to the unreached people or hard to reach people of this world.

    Written by Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews on May 4, 2015

  • There was a lot of information shown about the culture as Mia learns about it and we see a different view of it through Halimah’s eyes. The spiritual content of the story was wonderful as some of the characters share their faith while Halimah learns and reads on her own, too. There’s a suspenseful feel to the story as you don’t know if or when Halimah could be found out or the risks Mia and Halimah take in sharing their faith. I would recommend this book if you want to know more about the situation many persecuted Christians find themselves in or what living in an Islam-controlled country would be like.

    Written by Veronica’s ‘Views on May 3, 2015


    Impressive book, though fictional it’s realistic and puts your focus on how much alike people are although we may be thousands of miles apart in distance and lifestyle. An inspiring story and written so beautifully… Jana Kelley is a talented writer. The trials experienced by a girl after accepting Jesus as her Savior are difficult & dangerous to say the least living in a land where that is strictly forbidden.

    Well done Jana!

    Written by Deco My Heart on May 3, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Jana Kelley has written a book that is so relevant for the times in which we live. Side by Side is a story of the great cost of lives surrendered to Jesus Christ. Kelley gives readers a picture of Muslim life in Sudan. Kelley flawlessly weaves important facts about Muslim life among a fictional account with characters that come to life and jump off the pages of the book and into your heart and mind.

    Written by Mother of Three on May 2, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Side by Side is a book that I will not forget. The risk, the secrets, and the rules all lead to the tension in this book. There were some parts of this book that I was completely shocked by. I had no idea that certain things happened in Sudan, Africa.

    I admired Mia being able to set aside her fears to move to Sudan for the gospel. I have talked with several of my missionary friends who are moms and they have shared with me the same feelings that Mia expressed in this book. I think that I would feel that same way when it came to taking care of my family.

    Written by When life gets you down…read a book on May 2, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Side by Side is an unusual story, filled with hope, entertaining and compelling at the same time. I don’t see how anyone could not be impacted in some way by this story. As a result of reading Side by Side, the Muslim people are on my heart and I am more committed than ever before to praying for them and for those who share Christ with them. Jana says that she wanted “to write a story that would grab the hands and hearts of women in both of my worlds and bring them together” – and I believe she has done just that with Side by Side. I hope we see more from all the characters in this book. Highly recommended to all readers.

    Written by The Power of Words on May 1, 2015
    Read my full review:



    It is worth the read for mature older girls if you want to get a true understanding of these people. well written and hard to put own. Be warned will make one cry! Side By Side is an excellent fictional account of how many Christians are living in Sudan. Muslims who convert to Christianity many times have to keep it a secret from their family and live with the knowledge that if found they will be disowned or worse. I really loved Side by Side, and it really impacted me. I know it won’t be one I will soon forget! I highly recommend it.

    I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Lifuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review

    Written by wisdom in books on May 1, 2015
    Read my full review:


    This is a powerful novel. It really gives a full picture of what it is like for a family from the US to live and work among Muslims. Kelley really brings us into that world with wonderful descriptions of ceremonies, clothing, and even the food eaten. We really come to understand what a Muslim gives up when they convert to Christianity. The family reaction can be deadly. This is a great novel!

    Written by Book Reviews from an Avid Reader on April 29, 2015
    Read my full review:


    Side by Side by Jana Kelley was a very unique book. I have never read a book like this one before and I have to say that I think more people should write books like this one. I didn’t want this book to end because it was so interesting watching the characters grow and learn about other people and their personal beliefs.

    Written by The World As I See It on April 29, 2015
    Read my full review:


    I was very impressed by this book. I love missionary fiction type books, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one – it was all excellent though! So deep and inspiring, and heart-tugging all at the same time.

    Jana Kelley writes beautifully, talentedly, and very realistically. As the cover says: “inspired by real-life events” – Mrs. Kelley shares about the truths of it all….(continued on blog)

    Written by God’s Peculiar Treasure Raechel on April 29, 2015
    Read my full review:


    The book impacted my emotions on so many levels because the stories are true to life and the meaning is so powerful. The characters are painted in my mind and it was very easy to connect with the different women who were not all that different.

    Written by Cassandra M’s Place on April 28, 2015

  •  I was blown away by this book! I can imagine that it made it all the more realistic that it is based on real life events, since the author has been a missionary to several different countries on several continents. Her characters come alive with their struggles against the culture in present day Sudan. This book is a must read!

    Written by Amanda on April 28, 2015


    Read Side By Side today, and have your eyes opened to the horrors that can face people, not living in the west.
    Difficult subjects are sensitively covered.
    A compelling read from Jana Kelley. Read Side By Side, and then thank God for the freedom we have to openly praise and worship Him.

    Written by Avid Reader Reviews on April 27, 2015
    Read my full review:


    I just finished reading Side by Side. This is the story of 2 different women who come to realize that they are really more alike than they think. This novel is based on events that really take place everyday in other countries. . The story is one of courage, hope and an undying faith. I held my breath as I read their story. I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book by Litfuse Publicity Group and all opinions are my own.

    Written by 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!on April 26, 2015
    Read my full review:

  • Emily McKay says:

    I look forward to reading your book! To be honest, I’ve never read anything like it before, but I am looking for a fresh new writing style.