Monday, May 9, 2011
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.
Read for Contemps Challenge.