My sister Danna recommended this book to my parents, brother and me. If you read her review, you'll see why. The titled "opposite of hallelujah" refers to the protagonist Caro's sister Hannah returning home after spending eight years as a nun in a contemplative order. (Kate, you're going to want to read this one!) The girls' parents are excited to have their dark-secreted daughter back, but 16-year-old Caro...less so.
Caro, a selfish teen, feels that her sister, a teen when she left home, was incredibly selfish and both in leaving and in returning home was destroying their family. It's hard to like Caro through much of the book, which of course I say from the perspective of someone who is around the parents' age, not the daughters'.
Still and all, I found the story of the sisters making peace with each other sweet, and was glad it was gradual and tenuous. I myself have feelings about my other sister, the one who lives a religious life, but since I was an adult when she moved into the ashram, I have an easier time than my younger siblings seeing that her calling had nothing to do with us. I am sad for my younger sibs that they don't have the same peace that I do, that they feel such hurt and anger and are unlikely to have a meaningful conversation with our ashram sister about why she withdrew from the world.
But, getting back to the story, some of my favorite parts of Caro's evolution involve her having conversations with a local priest. She becomes close to him--they share a love for science--but keeps a refreshing distance from Catholicism, as you'll see from this short passage.
"Like, signs. From You-Know-Who."
"You mean signs from God?" Father Bob sighed. He didn't like it when I talked about God like he was Lord Voldemort, which I guess is understandable.
She goes on to say that she uses the word "universe" as the priest does "God" and that they're both okay with that understanding.
I'm marking this as a highly recommended because it was meaningful to me and to my family.