Book: Leap of Faith
Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Abby Lorenzo was never in trouble before the day she stabbed the principal’s son with a Swiss Army knife and got expelled. Now she’s in the local Catholic school, her only option besides homeschooling (which, for her workaholic parents, is no option at all).
While at first she holds herself apart from these crazy Catholics, Abby begins to make friends, participate in drama class, and find a place at St. Catherine’s. She even discovers a kind of peace in the rituals of the Mass. But can you become a Catholic if you don’t, strictly speaking, believe in God?
I always say that I’m a practicing Catholic because I haven’t gotten it right yet. That’s only about 75% joke. Bradley approaches Abby’s conversion with the same spirit. There are no easy answers to be found--even though she’s taking classes and having regular talks with her friend’s mom and the school priest, Abby must find her own way to God and to understanding herself. Even though she makes the initial decision to become Catholic in order to provoke her parents, belief--or more correctly, the desire to believe--sneaks up without her realizing it.
I read the last few chapters with tears running down my face (in fact, I’m tearing up a little now). Much of that was due to my own experiences in the Catholic Church, but I think it’s accessible even to kids who have a different or no experience of religion, because the questions Abby faces about herself and others are so universal. No matter what, or if, you believe, this book is definitely worth your time.