by Tasha Harper

"He was right. I am a hypocrite. Maybe we all are. That was the last thing she thought before her eyes drifted shut."

Sophia is a party girl living in unwed sin with her boyfriend Derek. Sophie is a devout Christian, a celebrity religious speaker, and the trusted leader of a church group. If anyone finds out these starkly different women are one and the same, they will know her shameful secret: She is a hypocrite.

Sophia is guilt-stricken by the burden of her double life but not uncomfortable enough to end the duplicity. She preaches about a loving, forgiving God and of gospels written to help people through struggles like hers, but she is unable or unwilling to access these teachings. Instead, the book’s clearest wisdom comes from Sophia’s disciples, who have learned from her teaching and reflect back to her the loving guidance she has failed to use. They puzzle over her failure to reveal herself as a flawed but well-intended Christian.

Sophia’s story is an effective parable for the young adult experience of having beliefs, experimenting, wanting everything, and ultimately making choices and choosing a life. Without the religious component, the story’s quest for identity and authenticity resonates universally. As a Christian tale, Sophia’s fractured existence is more alarming, and the buildup to her ultimate choice more vital. Why Sophia chooses to stay planted in both worlds so long is unclear, as the book focuses more on her guilt than her drives. While she feels deep love for Derek, he is only lightly defined, thus her devotion to him and their life of sin is not as persuasive as it could be. Yet to accept her commitment to Derek begs the question of why she continues her religious life. Still, to sin is human, and to make choices, corrections, and amends shows maturity. If Sophia is a hypocrite, who out there may cast a stone in her direction? She is one of us.

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