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Losing Faith Paperback – September 7, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Faith was the good sister: perfect voice, devout Christian. When she dies in a mysterious fall from a cliff, her irreligious sister, Brie, and their parents are left to cope—or not—with the devastation. This thoughtful first novel explores early grief and shows how it can tear at the structure of a family that cannot mourn together. Brie's parents pull apart, into their own self-contained worlds of anguish. But Brie does not want to mourn alone; she feels angry, guilty, and confused, and she wants answers. She stumbles through her days at school, observing her pariah status with former friends and everyone except the rebel Tessa and a mysterious homeschooled boy, both of whom know loss and grief firsthand. The more questions Brie and Tessa ask about Faith's death, the more they are stonewalled by those who knew her well, and the more they suspect that her death wasn't an accident. Once Brie uncovers the breakaway Christian study group that her sister belonged to, the story becomes a mystery thriller. It wraps up neatly, but not before readers are taken on a ride through a secret world of religious zeal gone haywire. The fault lies not in the religion—an earnest Christianity—but in the fanaticism that can happen when people follow a charismatic leader with a personality disorder. With pitch-perfect portrayals of high school social life and a nuanced view into a variety of Christian experiences of faith, this first novel gives readers much to think about.—Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
“The conclusion wraps up the loose ends neatly and is satisfying....Overall, [Losing Faith] is a thoughtful book." --VOYA
“This thoughtful first novel explores early grief and shows how it can tear at the structure of a family that cannot mourn together…. [R]eaders are taken on a ride through a secret world of religious zeal gone haywire….With pitch-perfect portrayals of high school social life and a nuanced view into a variety of Christian experiences of faith, this first novel gives readers much to think about.” --SLJ
Top customer reviews
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Losing Faith could probably be best described as Realistic YA 'Fiction. It is the sad story of a young girl who gets caught up in a supposedly harmless youth group at her church. This involvement gets extreme and deadly. The heart of the story is this young girl's sister...Brie. She is determined to find out what really happened to her sister. She is facing this and the sadness and despair of her parents while trying to deal with her feelings about the loss of her sister. Brie is steadfast and determined to understand what happened to her sister and is relentless in her quest for the truth.
Brie is not the best and kindest person before she loses her sister. As she works through the tumultuous aftermath of this tragedy everything in her life is forever changed. She loses old friends and gains a new friend in someone she would never have bothered with before. The book is not at all preachy but is just an awesome accounting of one of life's tragedies and how one young girl deals with it.
It has lots and lots of teen angst, some dark gothic characters, young love...and a bit of a surprise ending...all in all a yummy little book. I sped through it sort of nonstop!!!
As for characters, Brie was self-involved at the beginning, but while mourning her sister, and trying to get to the bottom of what really happened, she changes into a much more likable character. Faith and her friend Candace were the goody-goody, sweet religious type, but just good people that you just can't help but like. Amy and Dustin were the type of "friends" that make you think of the saying "with friends like these who needs enemies". Snotty and popular and the exact opposite of loyal. My favorite character, Tessa, who is the scary goth girl that everyone steers clear of unexpectedly becomes Brie's new best friend. She's tough as nails, but also loyal and has a really good heart. She cracked me up several times through the book. And last but not least Alis, he ends up being a great romantic interest for our MC. He's a home schooled boy whose a little quirky but so sweet and cute.
I recommend this one to YA and adult fans alike. Mysterious, action-packed with romantic, and religious aspects, but all rounded out nicely to form a great read. I'm excited to see what Denise Jaden comes up with next.
But first-time author Denise Jaden doesn't allow her main character to wallow in uncertainty and grief. Before long, Brie is trading in her faithless boyfriend for friendship with an oddly attractive, home-schooled stranger. She finds herself shadowed by the decidedly out-of-the-mainstream, goth-like Tessa. With their help, she throws herself into a dangerous, disturbing search for the truth about the beliefs and actions of her lost sister, Faith.
Jaden's writing is convincing, nuanced, and lively. Young people will love the conflict, mystery, and romance of this winning first novel.
Simon Pulse, 2010
I was excited about this because a. I love a good contemporary and b. I love sister stories. This doesn't entirely fill either criteria. Yes, it is about Brie coping with the sudden and mysterious death of her sister Faith; yes, it explores questions of religion and faith; and yes, it's set in the contemporary world. But the whole didn't gel for me.
Brie has some qualities of a sympathetic main character but often she was annoying. She's dating a loser who only wants to sleep with her and her "best" friend Amy isn't much of a friend. Thus when her sister Faith dies, Brie finds herself foundering. Her parents are similarly shocked and withdraw to extremes: her mother hides in the house, her father throws himself into work, leaving Brie very much alone. I felt so bad for her but her interests in clothing, makeup, and popularity as well as her assessment of her locker neighbor Tessa made her seem superficial.
However Tessa is one of the few people able to connect with Brie, having suffered her only tragedy when younger. I loved Tessa-she had attitude to spare and took no prisoners, encouraging Brie to investigate her sister's death even as the police officers seem content to deem it a suicide. The other character Brie meets is Alis, a mysterious boy whose sister Reena may know more about Faith's death. He also helps them investigate, turning the story into a detective novel.
As they investigate, they come across a cult, whose leader has twisted scripture to encourage branding and martyrdom as ways of salvation. This leads to a very dangerous situation for Brie, filled with suspense but ultimately answers about Faith (and faith). I had expected a novel slightly more preachy but there is no preaching so if you were worried about that, no need!
Remember how I found Brie kind of annoying? Well, part of that was because I wanted to know more about her grief for her sister. I guess she expressed that in part by investigating her sister's death but I didn't feel it; I just read it.
Overall: An average contemporary about grief and faith.
Cover: The whiteness is so stark and surprising-I feel like usually YA novels eschew white backgrounds but this cover makes effective use of it.
Most recent customer reviews
Brie hasn't been close to her sister Faith for several years.Read more