This past Monday night, book club members gathered to discuss Alex Sanchez's The God Box, a realistic/contemporary fiction title in which Paul, a born-again Christian in a small-town, struggles to reconcile his devotion to his faith with his growing attraction to the new boy in school, Manuel, an openly gay Christian.
Our conversation was respectful and thoughtful, ranging from censorship (one book club member attends a private school, and after a curious teacher read the book's summary, he told the student to leave the book at home), to self-acceptance, tolerance and 'loving thy neighbor', and finally, to fictional grandmothers (Paul's Abuelita was COMPLETELY charming).
Though we did agree that The God Box got a little preachy/pedantic at times (the text includes a LOT of Bible verses, causing several of us to check the book against family Bibles while we read), and relied on a couple of very stereotypical, flat characters, overall the group liked it, giving it an average of 6 on a scale of 1-10.
Looking for other books that deal with struggling with one's faith, sexuality, or with homophobia? Try these titles, all suggested by Kearsten's Book Club members!
The less-dead by April Lurie. (Teen Fiction) Sixteen-year-old Noah Nordstrom, whose father is the host of a popular evangelical Christian radio program, believes that the person who has been killing gay teenagers in the Austin, Texas, foster care system, is a regular caller on his dad's show.
Shine by Lauren Myracle. (Teen Fiction) When her best friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover the culprits in her small North Carolina town.
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker. (Teen Fiction) High school junior Lacey finds herself questioning the evangelical Christian values she has been raised with when a new boy arrives in her small town.
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. (Adult Fiction) In the future, abortion has become a crime as a series of events threatens the existence of the United States. One woman wakes up to discover that her skin color has been changed to red as punishment for having the procedure done. Now she must embark on a dangerous journey in order to find refuge from a hostile and threatening society.