What a relief to find a writer with guts. Hautman certainly takes a huge risk by writing a book about a teen who questions his religion. At a time when religion is so often in the news, Hautman's book is especially timely.
Jason Bock, overweight and unpopular, is bored with Teen Power Outreach, a weekly religious meeting his father makes him attend. Jason ruffles feathers when he questions pedophiles in the priesthood. Jason's greater religious conflict is how to know which of all the religions in the world is the right one.
As a joke, he decides to start his own, the Church of the Ten-Legged One, worshipping the town's water tower. He gathers followers to make the climb to the top of the tower, but soon his just-for-fun religion starts to turn awryone member assumes too much power, and one might believe that the whole idea is actually real.
The book is neither anti- nor pro-religion. It simply sets forth ideas around an amusing, entertaining story and lets the reader come to his or her own conclusion, or none at all. A great alternative to the summer fluff publishers often release. (Jun., 208 pp., $15.95)