Monday, March 12, 2012

Faking Faith by Josie Bloss

I read Faking Faith by Josie Bloss last night. It's an interesting book, to be sure.

When Dylan becomes a social outcast due to a bad breakup, a viral video, and a sexting scandal, she starts spending a lot of time on the Internet . . . but it's not what you might expect. Dylan becomes obsessed with blogs of homeschooled fundamentalist Christian girls -- the kind who live a quasi-Amish lifestyle, with farms and big families and lots of domestic stories to relate. For months, Dylan reads the blogs . . . then she starts to comment occasionally . . . then she creates her own blogging persona, "Faith." And eventually, Dylan contacts Abigail, one of the most popular bloggers in her new-found community, and arranges for "Faith" to come visit. At Abigail's home, Dylan meets Abigail's family -- a host of cute younger siblings, a homey mother, a controlling father, and Asher, Abigail's handsome, troubled older brother. Abigail's life is pretty much what Dylan had been expecting -- but there are a few dark undertones as well.

The string of bad choices that Dylan makes in the first half of this book is really quite epic -- everything from sending naked pictures to her scummy boyfriend, to lying to her parents and setting up a visit to people she met online.  The author does a good job of making Dylan's character sympathetic in spite of all of this.

I'm a little intrigued by the blogging community that Dylan stumbles across -- a group so conservative, it makes the conservatives that I know seem mainstream. Hopefully, nobody will come away from this book thinking that all conservative Christians share Abigail's family's views! On the other hand, I like the fact that Dylan finds certain things about Abigail's lifestyle appealing -- and I appreciate the fact that Dylan isn't able to swoop in and solve all of the problems she encounters in Abigail's world. From her experience at Abigail's, Dylan takes away a few lessons about the power of forgiveness and the importance of knowing what you believe. There really is a sense that both Dylan and Abigail have grown over the course of the novel, but that they still have some growing left to do, which makes for a nice, realistic ending.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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