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Winter Book Club Selection: Faking Faith


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#1 admin_ann

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 10:20 AM

Hi Everyone,

This is the thread where we'll be discussing Josie Bloss's fun, sexy book, Faking Faith. Meg and I LOVED this book and you will too.

If you are still reading it, I won't give too much away. I'll just say that it's about a girl, Dylan, who makes a really bad mistake with a boy. (It might have something to do with nakedness and texting, but I'm not telling!) As a result, she basically hides in her bedroom for weeks on end and does what any of us would do in that situation: she becomes obsessed with the blogs of home schooled Christian girls! These girls blog about how much they love to pray, cook, clean and wear long, modest dresses. They also can't wait to become submissive wives and mothers themselves one day. IT IS AWESOME.

OK, then (and this is the really good part), Dylan decides that just reading about these girls and their lives is not enough. She figures out a way to actually get a very up close and personal look at one girl's life. How does Dylan do it? I can't tell you. You'll have to read and find out.

Also, one home schooled girl just might have a hot brother who isn't exactly the perfect Christian son that his parents always wanted, if you know what I mean. (Let's just say that reading Faking Faith might have helped me vicariously fulfill my secret desire to be kissed in a barn!)

So go forth and read Faking Faith and discuss it here. Meg and the author, Josie Bloss, will both join us when they can. And, at the end of our discussion, we will be giving away copies of Faking Faith. Obviously, because we love you.
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#2 MegCabot

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 03:20 PM

I'll admit I'm a fan of Josie's books but this one was HANDS DOWN my favorite of hers. And now I want a sequel.

I used to volunteer to read the "inspirational" Christian romance category in the Romance Writers of America RITA award contest every year, because I was always hoping to get a hot Christian romance that would "inspire" me, but I never got one that was as hot (or inspirational) as FAKING FAITH. This book had EVERYTHING--a heroine who is completely damaged and broken, seeking some kind of redemption; a hero who is just as broken, but SO HOT, both of whom are totally fighting their feelings for each other. And then a completely happy ending (except that, like I said, we need a sequel because I HAVE to know what happens to Asher).

I will admit ... I sort of went through a stage where, like Dylan, I started following some fundamentalist blogs, but NOT because my boyfriend broke up with me in a crushing, humiliating way, like Dylan, and I got suspended from school (this was awesome, by the way. I loved the whole beginning of this book).

In my case I did it because I, like Dylan, was trying to understand what motivates these girls to have such blind faith. How can they not even question the life that they've been born into? I was raised Catholic but that's a whole different ball game than the girls on the blogs Dylan is reading about! They aren't allowed to go to school and are expected to marry a guy their dad picks out for them! Like Dylan, I can see how this kind of life might be easier in a way . . . you never have to worry about submitting a job application!

But like all the girls in the Duggar family, you can never go to college or use birth control! YUCK!

Of COURSE after what Dylan goes through, I could see how a simple fundamentalist life would appeal.

BUT OH MY GOD. How hot was Asher? As soon as I was done with the book, I wrote to Josie and was like, "How did you create a hero who was completely the opposite of Edward Cullen in every way, not being a controlling vampire, but a super modest CHRISTIAN, but still totally and completely HOT???"

I still haven't gotten over Asher.
But like I said . . . the only problem is now I want a sequel.

OK, squee over. READ FAKING FAITH NOW SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT.
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#3 DianaSF

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 03:51 AM

Nooo!!! I refuse to accept that this is the end of Dylan and Asher's story. That would break my heart! Josie, please say that there's a sequel!!! More on Asher later.

Wow, what an intense read! As someone who grew up in a non-religious household and has always been skeptical of organized religion, Faking Faith was definitely an intriguing, eye-opening read. The little that I knew about fundamentalist Christians was always disturbing to me, so it was interesting to read a story where the religious family, while holding beliefs that I don't agree with, wasn't as crazy and off-putting as I thought they would be. Abigail's situation with Beau really made me sad, though. I hope that she takes Dylan up on her offer.

Meg, I have to disagree with you that this book had a completely happy ending. Yes, Dylan was in a much better place with her family, friends, and herself at the end of the story, but every time I read the note that Asher wrote to Dylan, it made me cry. Thinking about it makes me want to cry. While I'm happy that Asher's no longer under his father's thumb and is finally doing something for himself, it saddens me to think that these two damaged people, after having found each other, were ripped apart so suddenly. They didn't even get to say a proper goodbye. I had no idea that I'd come to care so much about a fundamentalist Christian guy in a book. So Josie: please, please, please consider writing a sequel!!!

P.S. Besides the note, this kills me: "'You're amazing,' I whispered into my dark room. 'And you deserve to be happy.'" Sob! :(
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#4 lakewallywhat87

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:21 AM

Holy smokes. This book was EPIC! Meg, thank you for recommending it, I never would have picked it up on my own, but I couldn't put it down. I'm ow hooked on Josie Bloss. Her voice and her storytelling style are captivating. I felt like I was sitting next to my best friend while she was telling me a story instead of reading a book. During the holidays while traveling over the river and through the woods back and forth from Grandma's house. I was even reading it in between galleries at the Art Museum. SO GOOD!!

I loved how the plot was totally different from the whole Twilight/Hunger Games/Mortal Instruments genre. I love all of those books, but I definitely needed a break. One of my favorite parts of the whole story is that Bloss didn't judge or give an opinion on religion. She left it completely up to the reader to decide if the conservative beliefs of Abi and her family are out of over the top extreme, or something to be admired. Personally, I've often wondered if it would be better to live in "simpler" times, do this chore, take care of this sibling, marry this boy. Instead there are a million options and a million paths and a million possibilities for making mistakes. But I wouldn't trade any of that for the ability to live in 2012, including a million job opportunities, Bravo TV, countless career options, the ability to choose any guy I want to marry, and Cosmo Magazine. Girls have it pretty great nowadays. But again, Bloss does not criticize or judge, which was also refreshing. I like it when an author let's me make my own opinion.

I also loved the subplot about Dylan's friendship with Kelsey and Amanda. First off, what great friends, I love that they were trying to protect Dylan even when she thought they hated them. Sometimes your friends lose themselves a little bit, or you yourself can't see the great friends sitting right in front ofyou or how you might be hurting them. The example given by Dylan, Kelsey, and Amanda about understanding and forgiveness was excellent. I think too often nowadays people dismiss the important relationships in their lives: friends and family. It's sometimes easy in the world of Twitter and Facebook to forget who your real friends are and which relationships really matter. Relationships are hard work, totally worth it, but still you need to be able to communicate with your friends, admit when you messed up, say you're sorry, and most importantly, forgive them if they mess up. We're all human after all.

Finally I am also jumping on the sequel bandwagon. Dear Josie, PLEASE don't leave us hanging. I need to know that Asher is alright, that Dylan will be able to handle going back to school (kids are so mean), and that Abi can find a way out of her pending nuptials. I care about her way to much to see her get stuck with that creepazoid Beau. Also where is Asher? And can I find an Asher for myself please? haha. I loved Josie's line about all the Ashers of the world being hidden away and all of us girls being left with the Blakes.

Thanks again Meg for the great recommendation!
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#5 admin_ann

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 02:28 AM

Great post, lakewallywhat87! I agree Josie raised big questions about religion and gender equality, but she let the reader answer them. I loved the relationship between Dylan and her parents, her mom in particular. They're not always the best parents. In fact, they border on neglectful some of the time. But they're just people and they're doing the best they can trying to balance family and careers. The final scenes between Dylan and her mom were so sweet!
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#6 DianaSF

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:58 PM

Josie talks about Faking Faith on her blog:

http://josiebloss.co...d-faking-faith/

More about the original inspiration for Faking Faith:

http://www.thecontem...osie-bloss.html
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#7 admin_ann

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 05:48 PM

Hi! We're giving away copies of Faking Faith! If you want one, you can reply to this thread. Winners will be chosen randomly. Have you read Faking Faith yet? Discuss the book here or, better yet, ask the author a question. She just might answer.
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#8 lakewallywhat87

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 11:30 PM

Thanks Ann! There's so much good stuff in the book I almost forgot the part about Dylan's Mom. I love how they got close at the end! Even when they weren't communicating I thought it was so important that Dylan never lost respect for her mom, and never doubted that her Mom loved her. Soooo important!!!!

And thanks for the links Diana! Especially the one about the inspiration for Faking Faith.

Josie, if you're reading, where did you find the inspiration for the relationship between Dylan and her Mom? Particularly, where did you find the inspiration for her mom's career and her mom's decision to take a break? Were you working in something before writing and finally had enough? My 2012 resolution is to find a better work-life balance and believe it or not Dylan's mom was a reminder to keep that balance, leave work at work, and actually take some time for myself and my family, so thank you! And thank you for the awesome story!
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#9 yabooklover76

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 11:03 AM

I have not been able to find this book anywhere! My local bookstore has closed and my library does not have it. Any suggestions of where I may be able to buy it?
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#10 Bookworm47

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 11:20 AM

Hi, I have not read Faking Faith but after reading all these great comments, I really want to. But I just searched the title and author at my library and nothing came up! This sounds like a very inspiring, yet fun novel. And I would love to find it. This probably isn't the right thread, but can anyone tell me ware I can find this book?
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#11 DianaSF

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:32 PM

Josie, here are some questions for you.

1. Will there be a sequel to Faking Faith?

2. While researching for this book, have your thoughts on religion and women's roles in religion altered?

3. Why is Asher made of so much awesome? ;)
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#12 DianaSF

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:35 PM

yabooklover76 and Bookworm47, I ordered my copy from Amazon. It's available on the Barnes and Noble website, too.
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#13 JosieBloss

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 02:38 PM

Hi everyone! Thanks so much to Meg and the admins for having me and for all your great comments (and the Asher love). It's been so wonderful to see how readers are connecting to this story because, while I was writing the book, it was very much an "is anyone else going to be interested in this kind of weird topic??" sort of situation. I'm so happy to see that yes, people ARE interested and that it's sparked some great discussions. I firmly believe that the more attention paid to this subculture, the better.

Also, every writer likes to hear that her love interest character is hot. It's just a fact.

So, I'll try to answer some questions (and keep them coming!)...

lakewallywhat87 - My initial inspiration for the mom's career was the fact I used to work in big Chicago law firms. At the time, I was just out of college and trying to decide if I wanted to be a lawyer. It turned out working in the firms was a hugely valuable learning experience for me - it showed me a life I really didn't want. The workaholic culture was overwhelming and depressing, and you could see people being gobbled up by their jobs, and no one had time to do outside things they actually enjoyed or found fulfilling because everything was about billing and winning and money. So, I used that as a jumping off point for Dylan's parents. What would two people who bought into that culture look like after 20 years of it? What would their children think of it? What would their kids miss out on and how would they rebel? And what would I do if I had found myself in the position of Dylan's mom, realizing I wasn't living the sort of life that I wanted? And I took it from there.

Good luck on your 2012 resolution! That's a tough one.

DianaSF (and everyone else who asked) - Unfortunately, there are no current plans for a sequel. I certainly have the ideas/plot for one - it would DEFINITELY involve Asher and Dylan meeting back up again when they're both in better spots, and possibly going to get Abigail out of a horrible situation - but a sequel is just not in the cards right now. I'm not completely shutting that door, though! Honestly, I didn't want to end the story in a neat bow with them together because I wanted this leg of Dylan's journey to be about her, not necessarily about how she found a nice boy, if that makes sense. Also, at the end of the story, I think both her and Asher have a bit to go before they're ready to be together.

While researching this book (and the majority of research in this case consisted of reading blogs for like eight years), I'd say my awareness of women's issues, feminism, fundamentalist religions and modest dressing has increased tenfold. My upbringing was much like Dylan's - my family didn't attend church and none of us seem to have strong personal feelings about spirituality. So I approached religion with the interest of an outsider and knowing I had a lot to learn.

In my internet travels, I realized the main thing I found difficult about this particular fundamentalist lifestyle is how all choices are taken away from the children. Oftentimes, the parents had quite mainstream upbringings, and then they chose, as adults, to adopt the sort of lifestyle I showed in Abigail and Asher's family. But their children don't have that luxury of choice. Their parents decide these kids don't get conventional schooling, college of any sort is absolutely out of the question for most of them, and they hardly even get to meet people who have different beliefs. I find that really problematic, especially for the girls who are told it's downright evil and unnatural to want anything other than wifehood and motherhood.

I remember reading this really sad comment on one of the blogs - a teenage girl who was always taking fantastic pictures of her family was asked if she wanted to study photography, and maybe even work as a photographer someday. She replied that all she wanted, her entire goal for her whole life!, was to be a "helper" for her dad and then her husband, and how their dreams are her only dreams. She wasn't even allowed any hopes of her own (or at least she couldn't publicly admit to them). Argh, so upsetting!

So, I'm not sure if that answers your questions, but basically it's still an endlessly fascinating topic to me. And this fundamentalist movement is pretty frightening, if you get right down to it, and everyone should be aware of what's going on and what these groups really believe.

(For further reading, I recommend the Free Jinger forum: http://www.freejinger.org/)

And thanks for your nice comments about Asher...I really, really, really wish he actually existed. He's my favorite.

Thanks again for all your questions! Even if you haven't read the book yet, please comment because there are copies to give away!
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#14 admin_ann

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 03:09 PM

Thanks for these answers, Josie!

To the forum members, don't forget to reply to this thread if you want to be entered into a drawing for free copies of Faking Faith!



Hi everyone! Thanks so much to Meg and the admins for having me and for all your great comments (and the Asher love). It's been so wonderful to see how readers are connecting to this story because, while I was writing the book, it was very much an "is anyone else going to be interested in this kind of weird topic??" sort of situation. I'm so happy to see that yes, people ARE interested and that it's sparked some great discussions. I firmly believe that the more attention paid to this subculture, the better.

Also, every writer likes to hear that her love interest character is hot. It's just a fact.

So, I'll try to answer some questions (and keep them coming!)...

lakewallywhat87 - My initial inspiration for the mom's career was the fact I used to work in big Chicago law firms. At the time, I was just out of college and trying to decide if I wanted to be a lawyer. It turned out working in the firms was a hugely valuable learning experience for me - it showed me a life I really didn't want. The workaholic culture was overwhelming and depressing, and you could see people being gobbled up by their jobs, and no one had time to do outside things they actually enjoyed or found fulfilling because everything was about billing and winning and money. So, I used that as a jumping off point for Dylan's parents. What would two people who bought into that culture look like after 20 years of it? What would their children think of it? What would their kids miss out on and how would they rebel? And what would I do if I had found myself in the position of Dylan's mom, realizing I wasn't living the sort of life that I wanted? And I took it from there.

Good luck on your 2012 resolution! That's a tough one.

DianaSF (and everyone else who asked) - Unfortunately, there are no current plans for a sequel. I certainly have the ideas/plot for one - it would DEFINITELY involve Asher and Dylan meeting back up again when they're both in better spots, and possibly going to get Abigail out of a horrible situation - but a sequel is just not in the cards right now. I'm not completely shutting that door, though! Honestly, I didn't want to end the story in a neat bow with them together because I wanted this leg of Dylan's journey to be about her, not necessarily about how she found a nice boy, if that makes sense. Also, at the end of the story, I think both her and Asher have a bit to go before they're ready to be together.

While researching this book (and the majority of research in this case consisted of reading blogs for like eight years), I'd say my awareness of women's issues, feminism, fundamentalist religions and modest dressing has increased tenfold. My upbringing was much like Dylan's - my family didn't attend church and none of us seem to have strong personal feelings about spirituality. So I approached religion with the interest of an outsider and knowing I had a lot to learn.

In my internet travels, I realized the main thing I found difficult about this particular fundamentalist lifestyle is how all choices are taken away from the children. Oftentimes, the parents had quite mainstream upbringings, and then they chose, as adults, to adopt the sort of lifestyle I showed in Abigail and Asher's family. But their children don't have that luxury of choice. Their parents decide these kids don't get conventional schooling, college of any sort is absolutely out of the question for most of them, and they hardly even get to meet people who have different beliefs. I find that really problematic, especially for the girls who are told it's downright evil and unnatural to want anything other than wifehood and motherhood.

I remember reading this really sad comment on one of the blogs - a teenage girl who was always taking fantastic pictures of her family was asked if she wanted to study photography, and maybe even work as a photographer someday. She replied that all she wanted, her entire goal for her whole life!, was to be a "helper" for her dad and then her husband, and how their dreams are her only dreams. She wasn't even allowed any hopes of her own (or at least she couldn't publicly admit to them). Argh, so upsetting!

So, I'm not sure if that answers your questions, but basically it's still an endlessly fascinating topic to me. And this fundamentalist movement is pretty frightening, if you get right down to it, and everyone should be aware of what's going on and what these groups really believe.

(For further reading, I recommend the Free Jinger forum: http://www.freejinger.org/)

And thanks for your nice comments about Asher...I really, really, really wish he actually existed. He's my favorite.

Thanks again for all your questions! Even if you haven't read the book yet, please comment because there are copies to give away!


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