Jamie should have known something was off about the church of the Right and the Real from the start, especially when the Teacher claimed he wasn't just an ordinary spiritual leader, but Jesus Christ, himself. But she was too taken by Josh, the eldest son of one of the church's disciples, and his all-American good looks. Josh is the most popular boy at school too, and the first boy outside the drama geeks to give Jamie a second look. But getting her Dad involved in a cult was not part of the plan when she started dating Josh. Neither was her dad's marriage to the fanatic Mira, or getting kicked out, or seeing Josh in secret because the church has deemed her persona non grata.Jamie's life has completely fallen apart. Finding her way back won't be easy, but when her Dad gets himself into serious trouble, will Jamie be ready to rescue him, and maybe even forgive him? (From Goodreads)
I feel like I've read a lot of books that incorporate cults somehow. So I put this one off, because I can only tolerate crazy so much before I go crazy myself. But, after I began reading it I was sucked in so quickly. This was one where I was suddenly on page 150 and it felt like only 5 minutes had gone by. I didn't even realize how into this story I was until it was over.
Despite all the problems in Jamie's life caused by the Right and the Real cult, the cult is merely a circumstance rather than a setting for the story. It wasn't about religion or brainwashing, or crazies. It's very much about a girl who's put in unpredictable and undesirable circumstances and how she picks herself up and puts her life back together. After coming off of this cultish trend of mine, I was intensely relieved. The cult is merely a catalyst and I think what becomes so incredibly beautiful is that Jamie's story is so much larger and more important. She's a true testament to how one person can summon incredible power, even if she's not given anything but a few people to help her along the way.
So let's talk about those people. The cast of characters in Jamie's life are exceptional. From her eclectic fashion obsessed best friend to the huge ex-felon who helps her out they are all so wonderful and well written. I loved Jamie's theater life (This book has awesome layers! The key to a great story...) as well. The future in theater that she is working for is just as unsure as the predicament she's currently in, and I think, in one way or another everyone is unsure. It just all comes back down to having the people in your life to lean on when you need them AND learning to let yourself lean.
Basically, when it comes to contemporary lit, this book is rather exceptional. It's surprising in the best way and there are some beautiful moments to be uncovered in these pages. Jamie is a strong and enviable heroine. While I don't envy her situation (I actually was tempted to thank my father for not joining a cult), I envy the way she dealt with it, because I don't know that I'd be that strong. Anyways, I strongly encourage you to give this book a chance to impress you. If you want more, I helped reveal the book trailer on the blog last week - definitely something to check out!