You know those times when you want that hopeful ending and a little sugar isn't so bad? Well, that's _Converting Kate_. If you've ever questioned your faith or actually left your family's religion, then you'd probably appreciate this story. Yep, it's YA and as an adult who reads a lot of contemporary YA let me tell you this is no Disney show converted to print. Kate and her mom belong to a pretty strict faith that preaches they are the one true church. After the death of her father (a non-believer), Kate's doubts turn to anger and rejection. It's not a matter of letting her dad die but her questions that have been building as she matures. When Kate and her mom move to her dad's birthplace, Kate meets new friends, new school and exposed to ideas and experiences she had been cut off from previously. The story has a good range of characters including Pastor Browning who is turns out to be agnostic and gay and open-minded. He helps Kate navigate through her doubts and anger. Beckie Weinheimer writes from personal experience that lends an authenticity that strikes a chord with all of us who remember our own crisis of faith.
Reviewed by Marta Morrison for TeensReadToo.com
CONVERTING KATE was a thought-provoking story.
Kate has been raised by a mother who is deeply involved with a church called the Church of the Holy Divine. This church influences everything that Kate and her family does. It comes between her mom and dad and they get divorced. After the divorce, her dad has a heart attack and Kate and her mom move to Maine to live with Kate's Aunt Katherine so her mom can manage the inn her aunt owns.
Kate loves to run so she joins the cross country team at the high school and she makes new friends -- but she rejects her mom's church. The conflict between Kate and her mother, and Kate finding her own beliefs, are the focal point of the story.
The church that Kate belongs to is a church in the extreme. I would have classified it as a cult. It monitors everything that Kate does. I am quite religious and believe that God is my savior, but my beliefs are joyous and my God is loving and kind. Kate's church believes that only the members of her own church will be saved. This is contrary to the belief that there are many branches to the love of Christ.
I liked the journey that Kate went on but I was sad that she didn't realize that God lives in each of us and that a church can be as flawed as the people that attend it, but that doesn't mean that God can't be there in a lot of its members. I believe that the road that Kate takes is the most important, and that most teens take that path and everyone comes to different conclusions.
Please read CONVERTING KATE if you have any questions about your faith or want to find out about different faiths.