Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-Since her younger sister Claire's death from cancer the previous year, Del has had no use for God or religion of any kind. Her home life is a nightmare: her father has fled, her mother has retreated into an almost zombielike state, her often absent brother barely speaks, and Del feels guilty about Claire. When Del's coworker Andy discovers an image of a swaddled infant imprinted in a Babybel cheese, Del scoffs at the hysteria it provokes in her tiny Texas town. Suddenly people start seeing religious signs everywhere, and pilgrims come from far and wide to bear witness. Enlisting the help of her best friend Gabe, the protagonist sets out to prove the whole thing a hoax. When she learns that the latest "miracles" were created by Gabe's preacher father in a desperate attempt to save his dwindling congregation and church finances, she fears she has gone too far. Nevertheless, the reverend's insistence on admitting his guilt helps Del to confront her own demons. Neither pro- nor anti-religious, Davis's debut novel is a humor-filled look at serious issues: integrity, self-acceptance, and the importance of facing the truth. While some secondary figures are complete stereotypes, Del and Gabe are strong, well-developed, determined characters, true to themselves and to each other, even as their worlds are breaking apart. The fast-paced plot, though based on a bizarre premise, moves to a logical if not picture-perfect conclusion that will attract teen readers. VERDICT Purchase for collections looking for funny YA and works featuring teens struggling with faith.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
What a friend the tiny town of Clemency, Texas, has in Cheesus, a Babybel snack cheese bearing the image of the baby Jesus under its waxy coating. When pictures of Baby Cheesus go viral, and a miracle is attributed to it, Clemency becomes a media and tourist magnet. Delaney Del Delgado doesn't believe in the miracle cheese, however, and she's not shy about saying so. Much of her negativity stems from the death of her younger sister, Claire, from cancer, and the destructive impact it had on her family. Del also struggles with her changing feelings toward Gabe, her best friend and son of a pastor in town who is losing his congregation to the Baby Cheesus. Del's feisty spirit carries the first-person narrative with assurance and authenticity; much of the humor is of the laugh-so-you-don't-cry variety, which tempers the loopiness. Readers will be firmly on Del's side, even when she admits to pushing everyone away in her grief and guilt. Only one thing is certain; neither Clemency nor Del will ever be the same.--Scanlon, Donna Copyright 2017 Booklist