Saturday, May 5, 2012

Girl Power: Misfit

Finally I finish another Cybils books, a YA finalist in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Jon Skovron's Misfit disappeared with my seventh grader for a while, and he returned it with a strong recommendation. I didn't find the cover all that appealing though, so I procrastinated on the start and let myself get distracted along the way.

Cybils2011-Web-ButtonBGBut the cover fooled me; it's not misleading, because the book does deal with Catholic fears of demons and exorcisms; Jael's father, an ex-priest, keeps her enrolled in Catholic schools for good reasons, but the story isn't a simple one of priest=good, demon=bad (or vice-versa).  Instead, everyone is an individual and makes individual choices, whether they are human and bound to Earth, demon and bound to another plane, or a half-breed with access to both worlds. And Jael is not just a kid with superpowers, she's an adolescent whose father isn't sure how to know when she is grown up, a motherless child whose father still hasn't figured out how to talk about the wife he lost, a Catholic schoolgirl figuring out what she believes and who she can trust. I liked the variety with which people dealt with faith; some people believed foolishly and shallowly, others with heart and soul, and still others dealt with skepticism and questions.

At the end, the book made me look at the roles of a parent and an almost-grown child, the strengths of love in family and friendship, and the worth of loyalty. It's a book that affirms the important things about being human.

For religion month, this book shows a good variety of beliefs among the characters, from devout Catholics to crazed religious zealots through questioning youths and cynical atheists. But for all of them, religion is a real and powerful force in the world.

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