Confessions of a Closet Catholic, by Sarah Darer Littman

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Three and a half stars, read January 2012.

It was cheesy—really cheesy—but I loved the premise of this book.

The protagonist is eleven-almost-twelve, a Jewish girl who decides to give up being Jewish for Lent. Her best friend is Catholic, and Justine really wants to be, too—so she sets up a confessional in her closet with her teddy bear priest (Father Ted), a contraband rosary, her Hail Mary cheat sheet, and matza and grape juice for communion.

Her exploration is mixed in with the typical trials of childhood—feeling less loved as the middle child, thinking she’s ugly (of course, because she has curly hair), having a crush on her best friend’s brother—and I think would be really great for older kids and younger teenagers to read. The religious questions make it interesting for adults, too, and the age of the protagonist makes the process heartwarming rather than painful, like it often is when the questioner is older. If nothing else, I think it’s always important to get to know other religions, and since I’m neither Catholic nor (religiously) Jewish, I really enjoyed this.

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