Book Review: The Girl Who Slept with God by Val Brelinski

Ignore the strange title and throw away any preconceived notions you might have about coming of age stories involving sheltered girls from overly religious families- because this book is so worth it. Thirteen year old Jory’s family is strange, even by the standards of their conservative Idaho church community in 1970. So when her older sister Grace comes home from a missionary trip pregnant and claiming the child is God’s, their family doesn’t know how to handle it. Their mother takes sedatives and doesn’t leave her bedroom, and their father moves Jory and Grace to their own house on the edge of town while he figures out what to do with them. While Jory struggles to make friends at her new, non religious high school, Grace takes correspondence courses and descends even deeper into her already consuming religious fervor and the rest of their family continues to unravel.

Brelinski’s writing is marvelous, but where she really shines is in her character exploration of the many and varied personalities present in this unusual story, and her refusal to give in to clichés at any time. I have read my fair share of thematically similar novels, but this one leaves them all behind.

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