Welcome to my stop on the FFBC Blog Tour for Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl! I am so excited to share with you my thoughts on the book, and a chance to win a copy of this lovely book!
Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl
Published by Page Street Kids on September 3, 2019
Pages: 336
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review

"Saved!" meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that takes a meaningful look at consent and what it means to give it.

When CeCe’s born-again ex-boyfriend dumps her after they have sex, she follows him to Jesus camp in order to win him back. Problem: She knows nothing about Jesus. But her best friend Paul does. He accompanies CeCe to camp, and the plan—God’s or CeCe’s—goes immediately awry when her ex shows up with a new girlfriend, a True Believer at that.

Scrambling to save face, CeCe ropes Paul into faking a relationship. But as deceptions stack up, she questions whether her ex is really the nice guy he seemed. And what about her strange new feelings for Paul—is this love, lust, or an illusion born of heartbreak? To figure it out, she’ll have to confront the reasons she chased her ex to camp in the first place, including the truth about the night she lost her virginity.

Do… do you see those comps? “‘Saved!‘ meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? Like seriously how was I not going to pick this up, those are straight up two of my favorite things in this world. But then I was scared because come on, could this really live up to two of my favorite things in this world? Why, yes, yes it freaking can, because it did.

What I Loved:

  • The discussion/commentary on religion was handled really well. So, CeCe is pretty solidly anti-religion at the start of the book. Obviously, she’s upset that her crappy boyfriend dumped her, citing religion as his reason. Add to it that religion has never been an important part of her life, and she’s thinking pretty poorly of Christians as a whole. But here’s the main thing: the author doesn’t vilify religion or Christianity. Does Ethan, the ex-boyfriend, suck? You bet. And yes, he happens to be Christian. But the author introduces so many wonderful examples of Christian people that it makes CeCe think twice about her views, which is a pretty great message.Likewise, she doesn’t shy away from some of the more dangerous messages that religions (and often Christianity) can spread, especially to young women. Because shaming women for existing is simply not okay. In one example, CeCe is shamed for not wearing a “proper” swimsuit, because god forbid she owns a stomach. Ethan feels perfectly justified in painting CeCe as some kind of temptress, when clearly they were both consenting participants. He is welcomed back as “reformed”, while CeCe basically has a scarlet letter painted on her.Essentially, through CeCe’s journey, the author showcased that there are fabulous faith-driven people, while still acknowledging that there is work to be done in many religious organizations, especially in terms of women and LGBT+ communities.
  • Frankly, it’s funny as hell. The whole book was just beyond compulsively readable because it was just so damn charming. CeCe cracked me up, her best friend Paul cracked me up, and some of the instances they found themselves in were hilarious. It’s heartwarming as well, but the humor was just done so well that it brought the characters to life.
  • Sex positivity FTW! Obviously it’s clear that sex is going to play a role in this story based on the synopsis, but I think the author handled it so, so well. She addressed consent and protection, as well as simply making it clear that it’s okay to ask about stuff. That it’s cool to have experience and it’s equally cool to not have experience; fine to be ready and fine to not be. There was no shame in any choice whatsoever, as long as the character(s) in question was comfortable. It was great that the author was able to shine such a positive light on the topic while still making clear that it’s not for everyone at every time.
  • Such a focus on friendships! One of the highlights that I wasn’t expecting was CeCe’s blossoming friendships with the other girls in her cabin. They all came from such different backgrounds, and yet they still came together and bonded. It’s absolutely a highlight of the book, as proof that one can find their people in the least expected of places.
  • Romance and relationship talk abound! Look would this even be a book about a summer camp if there was no love drama? Well, there was and it was really fun. Some people I shipped together, a lot. I will keep it vague but. I was rooting for certain people from the start. And so many of the girls were discovering their own needs and desires from relationships, and it was just a really refreshing perspective.

Bottom Line: This one lived up to my expectations and then some. It’s fun, it’s witty, it’s heartwarming, and I flat out couldn’t put it down. You need this book in your life.

About Sonia Hartl

Sonia Hartl is a YA author who calls Michigan home, even though she’s lived in several different states. Her debut novel, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME is forthcoming from Page Street Publishing. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s enjoying pub trivia, marathoning Disney movies, or taking a walk outside in the fall. She’s a member of SCBWI and the communications director for Pitch Wars. She has been published in The Writers Post Journal and Boston Literary Magazine. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two daughters.

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Have you gone to summer camp? I did once. I cried until my dad picked me up. 🤷‍♀️

Posted September 3, 2019 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review / 9 Comments

9 responses to “Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl: Review & Giveaway!

  1. YESSSSSS! This book was so good! I think I pretty much highlighted everything you did. I am all about a book that makes me laugh and this one often had me in stitches. Hartl was respectful of religion and pointed out the obvious – there are always those people, who will weaponize it, but not all people do that. The girls of cabin 8 and their unlikely friendship was wonderful. Paul was a beautiful soft-boy, but what really impressed me, was the way she tackled the emotional side of a sexual relationship. That is so important. *clapping* So glad I am not the only one, who adored this book.

  2. I want to read this one so badly, although I’m a bit intimidated by it having religion as a center themes – as I’m not religious – and, if I’m honest, I hate the cover. *hides* I didn’t even know what this was about for a good while after it started to appear on blogs, because I skipped the post because of the cover haha. Anyway, I’ve since read lots of great reviews, and I love everything you said as well. I’m mostly excited to hear that it’s funny, sex positive and that there is a focus on friendship.

  3. Beth W

    I was a little wary of this one, just because the premise is pretty close to what I experienced when I lost my virginity, but from your review I’m definitely going to buy it. Thanks!

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