Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Yesterday after I finished reading this, I tweeted: “If more contemporary YA was like LOSING FAITH, I’d read more of it.”
Contemporary YA doesn’t make up a lot of my reading. Mostly because I tend to be drawn to high-concept premises, but also because contemp YA novels seem to be so focused on high school drama or the high school experience. This of course CAN be done well (see Courtney Summers’ novels) but just gets so tiring after awhile.
LOSING FAITH is about a girl in high school, but it’s not ABOUT high school, and that already endeared it to me considerably. Brie is a realistic mix of self-absorbed and self-aware – clueless about what her ultra-religious sister is up to, but savvy about her precarious place in the social order. Faith’s demise alienates Brie from her peers, but Jaden wisely skimps on the pity party to really delve into Brie’s feelings about her complicated relationship with her sister.
While Brie’s parents are sidelined with grief, Brie finally picks up some clues that Faith’s church life was not what it seemed, and gets help in her sleuthing from an unlikely source – tough girl Tessa.
Tessa had quite the outlandish back story, but somehow came off as one of the more believable characters of the bunch. (If I have to get nitpicky, I’d say homeschooled love interest Alis(stair) was perhaps too sweet to be real while his sister Reena felt exaggerated at times.)
Now, I don’t want to give the impression that this is a fast paced mystery read, because it isn’t. Jaden often takes her sweet time to get from one plot point to another, and it takes a looong time for any cult activity to be uncovered (and cults are what originally sold me on this story, so I was looking for them.) But once I settled into the novel’s rhythms, I was undeniably entertained.
LOSING FAITH is available in paperback now. Find out more about it at the author’s website.