Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl

Hilarious and heartfelt, I absolutely LOVED Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl, devouring this contemporary YA in a single sitting. Chock full of romance, powerful female friendship, and a healthy look at sex, sexuality, and consent, this book is both important and impactful, while also remaining wildly entertaining.

“Saved!” meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that takes a meaningful look at consent and what it means to give it.

When CeCe’s born-again ex-boyfriend dumps her after they have sex, she follows him to Jesus camp in order to win him back. Problem: She knows nothing about Jesus. But her best friend Paul does. He accompanies CeCe to camp, and the plan—God’s or CeCe’s—goes immediately awry when her ex shows up with a new girlfriend, a True Believer at that.

Scrambling to save face, CeCe ropes Paul into faking a relationship. But as deceptions stack up, she questions whether her ex is really the nice guy he seemed. And what about her strange new feelings for Paul—is this love, lust, or an illusion born of heartbreak? To figure it out, she’ll have to confront the reasons she chased her ex to camp in the first place, including the truth about the night she lost her virginity.

Have a Little Faith in Me covers some serious, significant subjects that are incredibly timely and important to teens (like sex, faith, personal responsibility, and empowering girls to feel strong and confident in their bodies & in their sexuality) — but in a way that feels fun and lighthearted. The author never downplays the seriousness of these topics — but she tackles them in a way that feels fun and natural to the narrative of the story.

And the story itself is just GREAT. I mean, I love a fake relationship trope and a friends-to-lovers trope in romance — and the way Hartl uses these tropes in this YA story is just excellent. I loved Cece and Paul, and the girls of Cabin Eight. Cece faces some ridiculous but believable obstacles at Jesus camp (like being shamed for wearing a bikini and told it’s up to HER to stop boys from being tempted by her body) — and yet, she’s also surprised by discovering true and meaningful friendships, and learning valuable lessons from the people she meets there. Plus, there’s her BFF turned fake boyfriend Paul. OH PAUL. I love Paul. Cece loves Paul. We should all love Paul.

This book kept me laughing constantly, while also pulling on the ol’ heartstrings (yes, I still have some) and making me wish this book had been around when I was a teen. Look for this gem in stores September 3rd.

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