Review: Losing Faith

A terrible secret. A terrible fate.

When Brie’s sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie’s world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don’t line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night…a secret that puts her own life in danger. –From Goodreads

Denise Jaden, one of The Contemps, shows that she belongs with the group of realistic fiction writers in her debut novel Losing Faith. Jaden’s book explores the aftermath of a sibling’s death, religion gone to the extreme, and touching friendships and romance between characters with impressive psychological depth.

Faith’s sudden fall off a cliff is a mystery, and despite the strained relationship Faith and Brie had in life, Brie can’t let go after Faith’s death. The police claim it was a suicide, but nobody who knew Faith believe that she could have done such a thing. Brie and her new-found sidekick Tessa explore the religious group Faith was spending time with before dying, getting themselves involved in something darker and more dangerous than they expected. As the mystery unfolds, Brie loses her old, popular friends and watches her family apart, but discovers new friendships with some unexpected outcasts who turn out to be lifesavers in more ways than one.

I’m wary of books with much religious content because while I don’t mind being exposed to new ideas, I hate being preached at. If you have similar concerns, rest assured that Losing Faith explores the spectrum of religion, but does not cross over into the realm of “Christian Fiction,” per se. This is a no sermon, no pressure examination of how a healthy sense of faith can turn into something much more dark and obsessive if taken to the extreme.

This is a wonderful book with one of my favorite covers of the year. If you liked Losing Faith and are interested in reading more contemporary realistic fiction–you know, the kind without lots of paranormal creatures–you should check out The Contemps, a group of 21 authors who will be discussing books and adolescence on their blog and on Twitter. Jaden is just one of the fabulous authors in the group, and if you are willing to commit to reading 18 books as part of The Contemps challenge, you can earn a chance to win all 21 of the authors’ books as they are released.

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