Bad Faith by Gillian Philip

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Bad Faith by Gillian Philip

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A blend of love story, political thriller and murder mystery in this dystopian future book about religious fundamentalism. It presses all the buttons, has great tension, and is a rattlingly good read. Gillian Philip was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag. She has some really fascinating things to say!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: August 2008
Publisher: Strident
ISBN: 1905537085

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Cassandra lives a relatively privileged life under the new theocratic regime. Her father is a rector for the One Church, and so she lives in a nice house on a hill, far above the floods suffered by the Anglicans, atheists, and apostates. The violent social upheaval of recent times is calming somewhat, now the One Church has gained control over the government. The militias are just as violent, but they're slowly becoming absorbed into the security forces, and provided you're orthodox, you can get along.

Cass isn't into politics herself, but she's often dragged in. Despite his position in the church, her father has grave misgivings about the regime. There are rumours about her aunt's involvement in all sorts of shenanigans. Her brother hates the One Church, as does her boyfriend Ming, whose atheist parents have suffered greatly. Cass, however, has no intentions of allowing their backgrounds to sour a growing and precious first love affair.

And then, they find the Bishop's body...

There's a blend of love story, political thriller and murder mystery in this book about religious fundamentalism in a dystopian future, and I loved every element. Cass is impetuous, headstrong and quick to judge - in short, she is a typical teenager. But she's also recovering from a serious head injury in a car accident that happened a few years before the book is set, and there's an ambiguity for the reader insofar as how much of her behaviour stems from the usual teenage rebellion over an unsuitable boyfriend and how much from the six months missing from her memory.

The world Philip conjures is chilling, but utterly credible. Christian fundamentalism has transformed itself into a violent, intolerant dogma that clamps down on civil liberties and rattles pointless but dangerous sabres at the world outside itself. It uses mass media as an indoctrination tool and recruits among the young. It's not over-egged at all, but it certainly doesn't take a genius to make the connection to contemporary America. I loved it when intelligent design got a shout out.

As the various layers of secrets gradually begin to fall away, the book gains great pace and tension, and yet the myriad of themes - family dynamics, coming of age, religion, authoritarianism, rough and true justice - blend in wonderfully well with the narrative.

I really liked this one. Can you tell?

They might also enjoy The Cure by Michael Coleman, another look at the road of religious fundamentalism. And of course, Malorie Blackman's Noughts & Crosses series is the ultimate in love stories set in a future dystopia.

Bookinterviews.jpg Gillian Philip was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

Booklists.jpg Bad Faith by Gillian Philip is in the Top Ten Dystopian Books For Children.
Buy Bad Faith by Gillian Philip at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bad Faith by Gillian Philip at



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