The Word

Page Street YA. May 2024. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9798890030146.
Gr 9 Up–When she was seven years old, Lisa climbed out her window to be with her father, and they’ve been on the run ever since. Members of a small sect of Christianity that most would consider a cult, the two spend several years with the Citizens of the Word. But, after her father is banished, he and Lisa end up homeless and preaching on the street for a year, before finding a home thanks to Carlo, who became Lisa’s brother in the Word. Now, at 16, the law has finally caught up with them, and Lisa is returned to her mother, who according to Lisa's religion, is supposed to be dead to her. The story is told in alternating chapters, some in the present, and some from all different points and places in Lisa’s past, which helps to reveal information at the perfect time. The real focus is on Lisa’s struggles to make sense of the contrast between things she has been told and things she knows are true, and ultimately learning to trust the latter even if it means losing her place in the Citizens of the Word and the family she has built with them. Lisa’s inner conflict is portrayed very well, especially as the stakes are raised, and will likely resonate with this age group, also learning to question what they’ve been told. All characters read white.
VERDICT A unique story about the turmoil of leaving a religion or any body of thought that you grew up with; a general purchase.

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