books and reading · reviews

Book Review: Faking Faith by Josie Bloss

Dylan did a little sexting to make her boyfriend happy, and now she’s a social pariah.  No longer on speaking terms with anyone at her high school–including her supposed best friends–Dylan becomes ensconced in an online world where she discovers the world of homeschooled Christian blogging.  Posing as a fellow homeschooler named Faith, Dylan makes fast friends with Abigail, one of the most popular bloggers.  It isn’t long before Dylan ends up going to stay with Abigail and her family.  It’s there that Dylan learns that her actions truly have consequences.

There was a lot of promise in Bloss’s novel about telling the truth and figuring out who you are, but it never fully develops.  Bloss goes for complete cliches and offensive stereotypes and doesn’t ever ask her readers to ask the hard questions.  Also, it’s not nearly as interesting as it should be.

Part of the book’s problem in being uninteresting is that Bloss doesn’t allow her characters to be complex in any way.  While Dylan herself is fairly well-developed and clearly facing a dilemma, everyone else falls prey to the worst types of stereotypes about Christianity.  All of the men in the world that Abigail (and “Faith”) inhabit are domineering and overbearing.  The women are meek.  Readers get the sense that these Christians are unenlightened.

This is made worse by the fact that Dylan’s life provides a stark contrast with no nuance whatsoever.  While it’s clear that Dylan’s life is flawed, it’s glaringly obvious that her secular life is preferable to the oppressive world in which Abigail lives.  It’s a disappointingly shallow exploration of fundamentalism, and readers deserve better.
Uneven, uninteresting, and overall not worth a read.  Readers would be better to seek out something with a more balanced perspective.

Faking Faith by Josie Bloss. Flux: 2011.  Library copy. Read for 2012 Cybils YA Panel Round 1.

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