The Right & The Real by Joelle Anthony Review

Monday, March 26, 2012

Title: The Right & The Real
Author: Joelle Anthony
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date: April 26, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher
Jamie should have known something was off about the church of the Right and the Real from the start, especially when the Teacher claimed he wasn’t just an ordinary spiritual leader, but Jesus Christ, himself. But she was too taken by Josh, the eldest son of one of the church’s disciples, and his all-American good looks. Josh is the most popular boy at school too, and the first boy outside the drama geeks to give Jamie a second look.

But getting her Dad involved in a cult was not part of the plan when she started dating Josh. Neither was her dad’s marriage to the fanatic Mira, or getting kicked out, or seeing Josh in secret because the church has deemed her persona non grata. Jamie’s life has completely fallen apart. Finding her way back won’t be easy, but when her Dad gets himself into serious trouble, will Jamie be ready to rescue him, and maybe even forgive him?
Jamie's life is on the brink. There is beauty in first loves, but there is also that touch of hidden danger in taking the plunge and diving headfirst into a maelstrom of emotions. When Josh gives Jamie a second glance, Jamie is smitten, and the wheels of her young teenage life start turning. Piece by piece, she watches as her family is drawn into a world of deceit and lies surrounding the Church of the Right & the Real. It's a church where they not only worship Christ, but the head of the church claims to be the second coming of Christ, himself. Her world is crumbling around her, and when Jamie realizes she has to step out, she finds herself on the outside, watching the inevitable collapse of all she holds dear. Can she fix it in time, or will all be lost forever?

Oh, hello, issue book! The Right & The Real is only the second book I've read with cults, and I have to say that it certainly is one heck of a no-holds-barred account of life within the confines of a strict, fanatical cult. Author, Joelle Anthony, has painted a haunting backdrop in which her teenage MC must learn to survive by all means necessary. Baring the heart and soul of a teenage girl in the clutches of the dark and twisted nature of a dangerous church, The Right & The Real holds nothing back. Giving the readers everything from love, to loss, to the very roots of forgiveness, this is one novel that promises the true art of human nature in its most basic form, and we're invited to share in the journey.

There is something so very, very troubling about The Right & The Real, and I found myself thinking about that fact long after I closed the book. It's simple, actually. This book could very well be real. In fact, there are most likely people out there in the world going through somewhat similar circumstances, and it's both painful and terrifying to think about. Through Jamie's eyes, we see just how very barren her world becomes with the Church of the Right & the Real throws her out. Left to her own devices, Jamie is helpless but to watch as her father continues in his path to self-annihilation within the church. Her father was a complex character whom I felt myself alternating between hating and pitying. He was a weak man, and the church clearly preyed on his need to find a sense of belonging. Yet, there was a part of me that wanted to kick his teeth in for overlooking the fact that his teenage daughter was struggling simply to make it from day to day. The throes of young love were sweet and dark, twirling through the mess of the story as we watch as Jamie attempts to somehow put her life back together. I have to mention above all else though, that The Right & The Real is one of those books where a secondary character steals the show. When you meet a LaVon, a caring, kindhearted and true man, you will understand the true nature of human compassion. It's incredible. Were a few things in the story a bit unbelievable? Sure. Overall though, the pieces fit together seamlessly.

All in all, I was, yet again, blown away by an incredible issue book. There's something to be said for horror stories that are scary simply because they could be real. I give it a 5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to both adult and YA audiences, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction and issue books.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Hmm...this sounds fascinating. It doesn't sound that good to me right now, but I think that's more because I'm not in the mood for an intense issues book. What was the first book on cults you read?

  2. Oooooo a 5 from you means I need this book asap! Issue books usually aren't my thing, but if you tell me to read something I'm going to read it:) Plus, now I really want to meet LaVon. Stunning review as always Melissa:)

  3. It's always good for me when a secondary character steals the show hehe :)))

  4. OH MY GRACIOUS ALIVE. I don't always love issue books, but when they are religious issue books, I love them like a duck loves water. That is because I'm firm, firm, firm in my own faith, my dear. This sounds like a winner in my book. AND A 5/5? Sign me up. Now. I'm sold. 

  5. You do find the best issue books. You are quite the should make an issue post ;)

  6. I was originally planning to skip this one, but now...I'm going to have to pick it up! I've never read a book dealing with cults; I'm glad Joelle Anthony does a great job handling the subject. Yay for issue books! Fabulous review, Melissa. :)

  7. Definitely picking this one up when it comes out. Thanks for the review, Melissa!

  8. I definitely think you need to read it! It was totally a great read, and SUPER deep!

  9. haha I'm totally going to make it a Let's Talk topic now ;)

  10. I really think you should give it a go. It was a huge surprise for me and, frankly, I think those are the best books!

  11. Wow, this one sounds powerful! There's always something that is both disturbing and fascinating about the psychology of cults. I'm glad to hear this is a "no holds barred" kind of approach!

  12. I don't know what it is about cults, but they always manage to scare me more than any horrific supernatural creature could. Maybe it's because they're just a little too close to reality? Anyways...this is the first I've heard of this book, but a 5 from you always equals a new to-read book for me! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Melissa! :)

  13. Oh yes this looks like a book right up my alley....:D Thanks for sharing Melissa


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