What's a heartbroken teen to do when the object of her secret lesbian crush ditches her for a boring boyfriend?
Debbie, who joined the Active Christian Teens to be closer to wholesome Lisa Ashby, is devastated when Lisa cancels their standing Friday-night Full House date to make out with pompous, tiresome Norman Hastings. Then a friend of a friend offers to tell Debbie about her new religion, and, desperate for change, Debbie accepts. So begins a zany, comic, all-in-one-night “holy quest” with Emma and Tim, inventors of the Church of Blue. “Bludaism,” which holds that there are divine “Sparks of Blue” in everyone, emphasizes creativity, silliness and “matters of the heart,” though its grabs from other religions are sometimes trivializing (the pair got “Bluddha,” a painted Buddha figurine that adorns Emma's dashboard, “so we'd have something to pat for luck”). As Debbie, Emma and Tim drive around Des Moines aiming to complete the last three goals on a holy-quest checklist, locate a missing backpack and allow Debbie to declare her love to her best friend, they encounter a funny and satisfying set of recurring motifs and side characters. The final revelations are both surprising and believable, and though one checklist item—“witness a girl-on-girl kiss in which at least one participant has never kissed a girl before”—seems a bit too convenient, its execution is both original and appealing.
A kinetic and well-paced comedy that just might win a few converts. (Fiction. 12 & up)