When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.
As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.
READER/DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR LOSING FAITH Title: Losing Faith Author: Denise Jaden Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster Date of Publication: September 2010 ISBN: 978-1-4169-9609-5 This reader guide may be duplicated for classroom, book club discussion group, or related purposes. Author biography: Denise Jaden’s short stories have appeared in various magazines, including The Greensilk Journal and Mississippi Crow Magazine. Losing Faith is her first novel for teens. To find out more about Denise and her writing, or to inquire about author appearances, visit www.denisejaden.com. Discussion Questions: 1. At the beginning of the book, Brie plans to lose her virginity to the wrong guy. If her sister hadn’t inadvertently stopped her, would she have gone through with it? How might her life have been different if she had slept with Dustin? 2. What does Brie gain from her poetry? 3. In one of their talks, Brie tells Alis that Tessa is a good friend. What makes Tessa a good friend? How is she not a good friend? How does Brie’s friendship with Tessa compare or contrast with her friendship with Amy? 4. Brie considers herself a follower in many ways. Discuss what does or does not make her a follower. 5. How did Brie’s spirituality change over the course of the book? How did she remain unchanged? How does Brie’s spirituality compare or contrast with Faith’s? 6. How did Brie’s opinion of her sister change throughout the novel? 7. In what ways are Alis and Brie suited for one another? In what ways aren’t they? 8. Where do you think Brie will be a year from now? Will she still attend youth group? What about Tessa? Will Brie be a leader or a follower? Cross-curriculum Tie-ins: Music - Make a playlist for Losing Faith and describe why you chose each song. Drama - Reenact the cliff scene at the end of Losing Faith. Choose students to play Brie, Celeste, Reena, Nathan, Alis, Tessa, and the two police officers. Write out a short script for this scene. Or, alternatively, choose a different scene and act it out. Activities and Projects: 1. Write an alternate ending for Losing Faith. Here are few ideas to get you started: What if Tessa had shown up on the cliff before the police? What if Alis had gone to the neighbors for help? What if Celeste had backed out and left Brie on her own with Reena and Nathan? 2. Write a poem describing someone in your family or one of your close friends. Try to give each line an equal number of syllables and include events as well as descriptions. 3. Write the newspaper report or act out the TV news about Faith for the day after her death. 4. Create a Facebook account for one of the characters from Losing Faith and friend the author. Find a profile picture of what you think the character would look like. 5. Write a new scene into the book anywhere you want it to appear. 6. Create a book trailer, or mini YouTube video, for Losing Faith. Incorporate pictures, video clips, or music that you think would tell the story of Losing Faith. The author, Denise Jaden, provided this reading group guide. For more information, please visit denisejaden.com.
Denise Jaden lives just outside Vancouver, Canada. When she’s not writing, she can often be found homeschooling her son or dancing with her Polynesian dance troupe. Losing Faith was her first novel. Find out more at denisejaden.com or follow her on Twitter at @denisejaden.
“The conclusion wraps up the loose ends neatly and is satisfying....Overall, [Losing Faith] is a thoughtful book." --VOYA
“This thoughtful first novel explores early grief and shows how it can tear at the structure of a family that cannot mourn together…. [R]eaders are taken on a ride through a secret world of religious zeal gone haywire….With pitch-perfect portrayals of high school social life and a nuanced view into a variety of Christian experiences of faith, this first novel gives readers much to think about.” --SLJ