Hautman delivers a captivating character study, studiously demonstrating the reasons why some people are drawn into cults and quietly revealing how unquestioned power turns rotten. Jacob is a realistic and relatable protagonist and his complex relationships with those around him—and himself—ring true. Eden West is both quiet and loud, understanding and judging, and absolutely engrossing. Readers will be quick to judge the Grace but may find themselves looking inward to their own beliefs as they move through the story…. A heartbreaking, uplifting, and fantastic read.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
While projecting a unique and expressive voice in Jacob, Hautman sensitively and gracefully explores powerful ideas about faith and church communities, keeping a deft balance between criticism of religious fervor and deep respect for faith and belief. Thought-provoking and quietly captivating.
—Booklist (starred review)
In this novel that cuts to the core of adolescence, Hautman walks the line between those of pure faith and those who stray, creating full-blooded characters who feel real and flawed. Jacob must sort out his own relationship with the God of his understanding—no one can teach him what that looks like.
—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
Hautman captures the cultish mind-set easily while showing just how fragile its foundation can be.
Pete Hautman is not afraid to tangle with religion and faith at a personal, thoughtful, and vital level. This book travels some rough country, but it crosses it with respect.
—Blythe Woolston, author of "Black Helicopters" and "The Freak Observer"
Jacob, genuinely torn between his faith and his desires, is a compelling character, and his experience will resonate with readers…Readers who appreciate novels with a sturdy amount of moral ambiguity will find much to mull in this one.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Hautman is an excellent writer, so it is no surprise his newest book is easy to get into and grips readers from start to finish.
Hautman’s portrayal of Jacob’s emotional turmoil is hauntingly believable, and the story’s examination of religious faith and fervor is wholly absorbing.
—The Horn Book
As always, Hautman’s insight and precise prose are rewarding.