In the space of a few months, sixteen-year-old Ethan Poe’s life has become a complicated mix of facts, theories, and hypotheses. Things he knows beyond doubt: his parents are divorcing, his older brother Kyle is exhibiting alarming behavior, and his best friend is turning into a spiritual fanatic. Then there are the shifting uncertainties-including his feelings toward his father and his desire to both blend in and stand out in his rural Maine hometown. Most pressing of all, there’s his attraction to Max Modine, a boy he wants to know much better than he does.
Despite Ethan’s initial reluctance, he gets pulled into a heated and sometimes violent conflict about whether to introduce Intelligent Design into science classrooms. Family and friends are turning against each other, school is a battleground, and Ethan will have to take a stand. Because some facts are irrefutable and some bonds unbreakable, even when they can’t be seen. And once Ethan finds the courage to become who he was meant to be, the outcome could be absolutely extraordinary…
Jude Connor’s rural Idaho hometown is a place of strong values and high expectations. For those who fit into the local church’s narrow confines, there’s support and fellowship. For those who don’t, there’s ostracism in this life and certain damnation in the next.
Jude wants desperately to be saved—to believe with the fervor of the charismatic Reverend Amos King, whose sermons are filled with brimstone and righteousness. But every time Jude thinks he’s found the right path, there’s a fork in the road, and Truth seems to be in a different direction. It’s not just the forbidden friendship with his unconventional classmate, Pearl, or the difficulties of being orphaned and in his older brother’s care that challenge him. There are the restrictions governing how congregants should behave, the whispers that follow Gregory Hart, a man who cares for his wheelchair-bound sister and offers guidance Jude sorely needs. And there’s Jude’s burgeoning need to decide for himself how to live, when to question, and whom to love.
When loyalty doesn’t help Jude overcome his own temptations, he must confront the truth behind the church’s façade and his willingness to follow his own path—even if it leads him far from everything he’s known.
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