A male perspective on sorting love from loss, faith from fear—brimming with humor and romance.
Phillip’s sophomore year is off to a rough start. One of his best friends ditches him. His track coach singles him out for personalized, torturous training sessions. And his dad decides to clean out all of the emergency supplies from the basement, even though the world could end in disaster at any moment...and even though those supplies are all Phillip has left of his dead mom. Not that he wants to talk about that.
But then Phillip meets Rebekah. Not only is she unconventionally hot and smart, but she might like him back. As Phillip gets closer to Rebekah, he tries harder and harder to turn himself into the kind of person he thinks she wants him to be. But the question is, can he become that person? And does he really want to?
Klauss debuts with a thoughtful and often witty novel of a teen's newfound (and intertwined) enthusiasm for a girl and for religion. High school sophomore Phillip meets and falls for Rebekah, an "unconventionally hot" devout Christian. As he gets drawn into her world, the previously atheistic Phillip immerses himself in her faith, attempting to believe both for the sake of his fledgling relationship with Rebekah and as a way to grapple with his unresolved feelings over the loss of his mother (whose exact fate is revealed over the course of the novel). Although Rebekah and other characters offer faith as a way for Phillip to fill an emotional and psychological void in his life, he is conflicted about the message of Rebekah's church. The frequently awkward relationship between Rebekah and Phillip is well-drawn, as are Phillip's tumultuous interactions with his friends, brother, track coach, and outspoken atheist father. Phillip's contemplation of salvation, prejudice, death, and the meaning of life point to the novel's appropriately uneasy footing in agnostic territory. Ages 14 up.