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.