Religion isn’t a theme you often see in mainstream children’s fiction, but books tackling, this sometimes touchy subject, are certainly available. You may think that a book with a religious plot might be boring or preachy, but the opposite is actually true. These books are some of the most provocative and character driven stories out there, and by nature, can be edgy, dark, mysterious, suspenseful, and all within a contemporary setting. So…
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Godless by Pete Hautman
Fed up with his parents' boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god — the town's water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting — and dangerous. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.
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Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
As a pastor's kid, it's hard not to buy into the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reasons to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI, and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town goes missing, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam's personal one, and the already worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel.
The Viper Within by Sam MillsDisillusioned with his childhood faith, Jon longs to restore that sense of belonging to something greater than himself. Enter Jeremiah, magnetic and mysterious founder of the Brotherhood of the Hebetheus. In Jon, Jeremiah finds a willing disciple for his “new” religion, and an eager participant in the Brotherhood’s daring plan: they will kidnap a classmate who Jeremiah believes is part of a terrorist cell. By foiling her plot to blow up their school, the boys of the Hebetheus will command the world’s attention, show a righteous religion as the only real tool to thwart terrorism, and become avenging heroes.
But fate and faith have a twist in store for Jon as the captive girl they call Snake causes him to confront the reflection of what he's become in her eyes. Will the appeal of a blind faith be enough to sustain Jon’s allegiance? Or will he be unable to deny the viper glimpsed within himself?
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt
Sixteen-year-old atheist Simone Turner-Bloom's life changes in unexpected ways when her parents convince her to make contact with her biological mother, an agnostic from a Jewish family who is losing her battle with cancer.