Staffer: Tara D. McKinney, correspondent.
What I read: "Faking Faith," by Josie Bloss.
Synopsis: Dylan Mahoney is persona non grata at her high school because of a sexting scandal involving her ex-boyfriend.
Her best friends have ditched her. Her ex-boyfriend humiliated her. Everyone else ignores her (when they aren't making fun of her).
With so much free time on her hands, Dylan doesn't quite know what to do with herself and she starts spending her hours online.
She quickly becomes fascinated by the lives of homeschooled, fundamentalist Christian girls and starts lurking on their blogs. She decides to create an alter ego named Faith and starts her own fundamentalist Christian blog.
Through her new online spiritual self, she becomes friends with another blogger, Abigail. Abigail invites "Faith" to visit for a week and Dylan reinvents herself as Faith in the flesh, complete with long denim skirt and bible, and immerses herself in Abigail's fundamentalist Christian world.
Can a person choose their own path if it always has been enforced by their religion?
If someone loves the culture of a religion, but not the faith itself, are they considered religious?
Can good acts erase past errors?
Is physical affection before marriage wrong or a human right? In today's world, should a forced arranged marriage be considered lawful?
Stats: Published by Flux in 2011, 240 pages.
What I thought: Religion is a bit of a tricky subject to write about without bias, but Josie Bloss manages to do it, and do it well.
The beginning of the book was a little boring for me, it outlined how Dylan came to be such a social pariah. I felt like I could have been reading any sob story about any foolish, infatuated teenage girl that gets tricked by a bad boy.
Once she started her blog, however, I was hooked. I felt like I was researching fundamentalist Christian religion along with Dylan and riding on the bus with her when she goes to visit Abigail.
The portrayal of Abigail's family, especially her father, seemed very true to life. The women in the family obey their patriarch and fear him as well.
The roles for men and women are cut and dried with no room for an overlap. And yet, everyone appears to be happy.
I found this to be simultaneously inspiring and depressing.
Abigail has an attractive older brother who attends community college for a short time with jarring results.
Their parents fear the outside world will corrupt their children and are suspicious of anything not in keeping with their views.
Dylan becomes attracted to Abigail's brother, but their budding relationship comes with unsettling consequences.
I usually read young adult fiction with some element of science fiction or fantasy, but this was a refreshing change of pace for me. I've grown a little weary of all the books that have jumped on the "Hunger Games"-"Twilight" bandwagon.
I often like to visit new worlds I find in the books I read and "Faking Faith" brought me to the world of fundamentalist Christians. It left me engrossed, confused and hoping for a sequel.
What I'm reading next: "If I Stay" by Gayle Forman.