Lara Zielin's first novel Donut Days was lots of fun, even though it covered serious issues. Emma's life is in turmoil because her mother, who is a pastor at an evangelical church along with Emma's father, is in danger of losing her job because an outspoken member of the congregation doesn't think women should preach. To complicate matters, there is some romantic involvement with the man's son. As for the donuts, Emma is desperate to go to a secular college, instead of a religious school as her parents want her to, and since the local paper is offering money as a prize for the best article about the camping out of cult followers of the Crispy Dream donut shop soon to open in her town, she wants to absorb this atmosphere and win the contest. Throw in a best friend who has issues, a cute little sister, and the overwhelming feeling that maybe God doesn't speak to her the way he speaks to the rest of her family, and Emma has a lot going on.
I like Emma a lot, and the book was breezy rather than overwrought. It is irreverant, so anyone who believes that questioning one's faith is not a good thing should avoid it. The ending is realistic, with many questions and problems still unresolved.
Thanks to all who commented yesterday. My existential crisis about collection development was abated by the end of the day when I had so many books returned that I had to go get another cart to put them on! Whatever I have in the collection, the students are certainly reading it!