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The Horton family packs into their aging minivan for an annual summer tour of revival meetings at the beginning of this swift, gripping debut novel. A year and 304 pages later, nothing is the same, including the memorable young woman at the heart of this story of magical realism. Miriam is 15 years old, daughter of a famous faith healer and a grieving mother, sibling to a preacher-in-training brother and a special-needs sister. The women of Baptist churches, tent revivals, and soul salvation are often relegated to silent, supporting roles, but in Revival Season, Monica West puts them at the center of her narrative. 

When Miriam begins to doubt her father and her whole world, she turns to these women to help her make sense of it all. Miriam’s faith is a given in this novel; though she may question her parents and doctrine, she never questions God. Her love is abundant and matter-of-fact, especially for her troubled mother and the sister whose care is often Miriam’s responsibility. Walking with Miriam as she comes of age in Revival Season is a pleasure. –Aileen Gallagher

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Revival Season: A Novel
By Monica West
(Simon & Schuster)

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2021 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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