If you are going to read one book this year about teens worshipping a water tower, then I suggest you read Pete Hautman’s novel Godless. This unique book follows Jason Bock. He is not particularly happy about having to attend a church group called Teen Power Outreach.  At one meeting he announces that he’s a member of the Church of the Ten-Legged One, mostly to mess with Just Al, the group’s leader. What starts off as a joke about worshipping the local water tower soon gains a following, including Jason’s obsessive friend Shin, a girl named Magda who Jason has a crush on, and Henry Stagg, the town’s leading juvenile delinquent.

Keeping the events contained within the characters’ town rather than having them explode into a nationwide sensation helps the book’s believability. In addition, Godless is the rare book that explores heavy subject matter without ever feeling heavy. In an entertaining and often humorous way, Hautman explores how people come to have or not have faith and how one’s faith can change over time. Highly recommended.

John

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