Published: 11 April 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Category: Young Adult/Contemporary/Humor
Sixteen-year-old Delaney Delgado knows miracles aren’t real—if they were, her kid sister wouldn’t be dead. So when the image of baby Jesus appears on a Babybel cheese wheel, she’s not buying the idea that God’s got a dairy obsession. Soon, religious signs begin turning up all over Del’s hometown, tiny Clemency, Texas. Overnight, news vans fill the streets and religious pilgrims start searching for God in the discount aisle of the grocery store.
Hell-bent on proving the so-called miracles are fake, Del convinces her best friend, Gabe, to help her find the truth. While Gabe’s willing to play detective, as a preacher’s son he’s more interested in finding evidence that supports the miracles. But when the whole town becomes caught up in religious fervor and even the late-night talk show hosts have stopped laughing and started to believe, finding the truth might cause more trouble than Del can handle. This novel is neither pro nor anti-religion, and will appeal to fans of contemporary YA novels that explore deep themes with an element of humor. The voice and characters are funny, strong, and full of heart. This is a book for anyone who loved Saved!
Rating: 4 Stars
What starts as a small town with two gas stations and a combined elementary/middle/high school becomes a whole lot more when something miraculous happens in the form of a religious image on a wheel of cheese. Or does it?
More than a book about potential miracles, Cheesus Was Here has underlying themes of grief, acceptance, and belief in multiple forms.
In the beginning, the main character Delaney already has a lot of feeling bottled up: the death of her younger sister, the desertion by her father, and her mother, stuck in her own grief, checking out of her life and the lives of her two remaining children. From this place of stern acceptance in order to live, Delaney is confronted by possible religious events in her small town in Texas, miracle fever growing as time passes since the discovery of Baby Cheesus, a wheel of Babybel with a supposed image of the infant Christ.
She’s of her own mind and believes it’s just a hunk of dairy product and is determined to prove it, along with her best friend Gabe, son of a pastor who believes in miracles. As we watch Delaney and Gabe move throughout their town, experiencing all that happens in the at times painfully small populace, it’s striking to realize how authentic J.C. Davis’s voice in writing is. Living in a rural town myself, albeit in NJ, I felt almost at home a lot of the time; not always a comforting thing, but I thought that I understood Delaney’s overwhelming feelings of suffocation and the people that she met. Their views, their ideas of what life is meant to be, and so on.
The pressure Delaney faces from the congregations in her small town and the people of those churches is fierce. A small town with not much too it finally has something to attract tourists and she’s questioning everything, from Baby Cheesus to the other “miracles” that begin to happen. Is her questioning the right thing to do or is it a reaction to the tragic death of her sister? Is she angry at God or should she be blindly accepting that some things are unexplainable except as acts of an invisible deity?
Within the novel itself there are characters and actions that make one think about not only their situations, but about the events in your own life. What is belief? What is faith? The funny dialogue, the authentic characters, the bigger picture, all combine in Cheesus Was Here to make a fascinating, enjoyable novel.
J.C. Davis, author of Cheesus Was Here, has graciously offered a signed copy of her novel and a swag pack to one lucky winner. Follow the link below to a Rafflecopter where you’ll have the chance to enter. Open INT through 12/31/17 at midnight EST. Happy New Year!
I received a copy of this book from the author as part of the Debut Author Bash in exchange for an honest review.