Monday, August 20, 2012

Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss

When an "unconventially hot" girl invites him to come to her church youth group meeting, Phillip agrees for several reasons: she's HOT!?!; and his cross-country coach thinks it's a fake invitation; plus it'll probably make his atheist Dad unhappy. What more reason does a 15-year-old need?

This is a great, surprising book. Dad cautiously makes the church people out to be the "bad guys," but at the same time, he allows Phillip his own explorations of faith and belief - so while there's a lot of Christianity in the book, it's not all set down pat and handed to you as The Truth.

Phillip's challenges are universally teen - girl trouble, chafing against authority, changes in friendships, struggling with self-identity. And his quest for a belief structure helps him evaluate and work through these problems. I loved that the book's characters are realistically flawed - both Christian and non - making the whole thing very believable, not rhetoric.

I really thought this was a fantastic book - it certainly brings up more questions than answers, a trait I love in teen books. It would be an awesome discussion book for religious or secular settings, so long as there was open non-judgmental conversation encouraged.

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