Leap of Faith
Leap of Faith
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Annotation: Forced to attend a Catholic middle school because of her conduct, Abigail discovers a talent for theater and develops a true religious faith.
Catalog Number: #18938
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
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Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Dial
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: c2007
Pages: 185 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-8037-3127-2 Perma-Bound: 0-605-15131-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-8037-3127-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-15131-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2006021322
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Abigail has been kicked out of sixth grade for attacking the principal's son with a knife. That leaves her with only a few schooling options, and her parents pick Catholic school. Angry that no one seems interested in how bullying pushed her to the assault, Abigail thinks she'll teach her workaholic, nonreligious parents a lesson by feigning interest in Catholicism. Predictably, Abigail starts to find her religious studies intriguing, yet even she is not sure what she really believes or how much of a commitment she's ready to make to faith. This works well as a depiction of a child's one-step forward, one-step back approach to religion. But where Abigail comes across as a real kid, opening herself to new and somewhat scary ideas, her parents are strictly one-dimensional,  stereotypical to the point of unbelievability in their pursuit of job status. Other supporting characters, including the school priest and Abigail's potential godmother, are more rounded, though also out of central casting. Despite the book's pat ending, this is meaty for a middle-grade novel and may lead readers to think about what they believe.
Kirkus Reviews
Expelled from public school and forced to attend parochial school, a skeptical pre-teen finds friendship as well as faith. Sixth-grader Abby had always been a good girl with no track record for trouble until she stabs classmate Brett McAvery in the school lunchroom with a smuggled knife. Abby had warned everyone, including her clueless parents, that the popular Brett was sexually harassing her, but no one believed her. After "the accident," Abby's detached, workaholic parents enroll her in St. Catherine's Catholic School. Angry with her parents for not trusting her, Abby selects drama as her elective to spite them, but is surprised when she discovers she has acting talent. Just to spite them, she tells her agnostic parents she's converting to Catholicism, but finds she doesn't mind the required religion classes and services. As her baptism and confirmation approach, however, Abby must confront her lack of faith and learn how to forgive. Abby's gradual transformation from religious non-believer into one willing to take a "leap of faith" proves credible and compelling in this sensitively drawn drama of individual free will. (Fiction. 10-14)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 6-8-Only days into sixth grade, quiet, studious Abby is expelled from school for pulling a pocketknife on a classmate who has been sexually harassing her for a year. Her friends, teachers, and parents will not believe that popular Brett McAvery would do such a thing, and the fact that his father is the principal does not help Abby's case. Her parents, workaholics who cannot fathom the idea of homeschooling Abby, enroll her in a private Catholic school, although they are devout nonbelievers. Abby is filled with anger at their lack of involvement and support and resolves to convert to Catholicism in an effort to irritate them. While her initial decision is impulsive and provocative, she finds that she is drawn to Christianity's comfort almost in spite of herself, and she ends up taking her studies much more seriously than she had anticipated. As she delves into the traditions and beliefs of the Church, Abby finds that forgiveness of the people who have wronged her is the most difficult barrier to overcome. Bradley does not pull back from the questions and confusion that adolescents face when it comes to religion, and packs a lot of power into this slim novel. There are no pat answers, and the tension between Abby's doubts and her desire to believe in a higher power will resonate with many readers.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates
When Abigail (Abby) is expelled from her public school for stabbing a boy in the arm, no adults bother to discover her motivation. It was in self defense after two years of sexual harassment from the boy. She receives no help from her career-minded parents, teachers, or principal of the private Catholic school where she is enrolled. She takes drama as an elective and begins to find a place to belong with two new friends, Jenna and Chris. Taking religion class makes her question much about her life, her parents, and the incident. Her newfound and burgeoning faith has her asking lots of questions about God and his relationship with her and getting advice from Father Micah and Mrs. Brashares, Chris's mother. She decides to study for conversion to Catholicism to make her parents angry enough to pay attention to her. This story, with its discussions of the Catholic faith, is refreshing, especially because so much inspirational fiction for teens focuses on Protestant belief. Its discussion of faith through a Catholic focus is not intimidating or overbearing. Abby's relationship building and finding reconciliation and forgiveness with her past is heartwarming. This novel gives young readers an engaging story with a strong lead female character. It shows readers how tough middle school life and early teenage years can be socially and how strained relationships with parents can be devastating but that they can be improved. This book is definitely recommended for purchase in public libraries and is an essential addition to inspirational fiction collections.-Karen Sykeny.
Word Count: 38,797
Reading Level: 4.2
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 116019 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.5 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q41990
Lexile: 630L

Abigail is starting a new middle school, a Catholic school, because she?s been expelled from her old one. She?s sure that this place will be just the same as the last, and no one will listen to her here either. Even her parents don?t seem able to really hear the truth about what happened at the previous school. But now she finds herself in a community of people who do listen, who want to be her friends, and who help her discover a talent for theater that she never knew she had. Converting to Catholicism began merely as a way to annoy her parents, but quickly it becomes more. Could she be developing real faith?

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley masterfully tells the tale of Abigail?s spiritual journey and the faith that comes to those who need it.


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