How to live for real when you're tempted to fake it

from 5 reviews

How to be free from the pressure to pretend

Part of the Turn upside down series.

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  • Also available in 2 other languages
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“Short, punchy, dignified, well-written, and full of silly but interesting Wimpy-Kid-style illustrations, Faker is an excellent little book”
Tim Challies
Blogger and author
Also available

Have you ever felt like a faker? Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow us to paint beautiful pictures of our lives. But many of us feel like fakers. If people really knew who we were, what would they think? Would they still care?

What would life look like if we stopped pretending?

This book not only explores that question, but provides the thrilling answer found in a short story told 2,000 years ago.

This richly illustrated book for teens and older brings the power of this exciting story to bear on our modern lives.

Product details


  • Introduction
    1. The problem of being a wallflower
    2. The faker roller coaster
    3. Dangerously good
    4. The walking dead
    5. Looking under the hood
    6. Unfreezing a frozen heart
    7. God’s love: “real”


Age range: 13+
Contributors Nicholas T McDonald
ISBN 9781909919433
Format Paperback
First published June 2015
Dimensions 128mm x 198mm x 4.5mm
Weight 0.09 kg
Language English
Pages 80
Publisher The Good Book Company

Also available in


Brian Cosby

author of Giving Up Gimmicks: Reclaiming Youth Ministry from an Entertainment Culture

Nicholas McDonald's Faker is a fast-paced and humorous exposure of how many of us live every day--faking it. It will make you both uncomfortably honest and honestly comfortable as he takes you through the dangers of pretending and performing as well as the balm of gospel remedies. If you want to be challenged and encouraged in the freedom of living 'real,' take up and read!

Jonty Allcock

Pastor of Globe Church, London; author of Lost, Hero and Fearless

This is a great book. I love the fact that Jesus sets us free from a constant life of pretending to be something we are not. And I love the fact that this book helps us see it more clearly.

Richard Lints

Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

This is a terrific little book. What makes it so helpful is the sheer honesty with which McDonald writes. It's got such a light touch that disarms the defensiveness that inevitably arises when we start trying to be honest about ourselves.

Independent reviews


Stephen Altrogge, The Blazing Center, 15 Sep 2015

Nicholas MacDonald’s new book, Faker: How to live for Real When You’re Tempted to Fake It is a fantastic little resource for students, either high school or college. I say little because it’s only about 70 pages long and completely not overwhelming or intimidating. He writes personably and shares plenty of anecdotes to connect well with readers.... continue reading


Are You a Faker?

Mathew Sims, The Gospel Coalition, 11 Apr 2015

In his book Faker: How to Live for Real When You’re Tempted to Fake It, McDonald tackles the core issues of identity and being real. He does so in a way that’s approachable for your average preteen to early college-age youth.... continue reading


Tim Challies,, 15 Dec 2015

Short, punchy, dignified, well-written, and full of silly but interesting Wimpy-Kid-style illustrations, Faker is an excellent little book and one your teens (or perhaps even you) will benefit from.... continue reading

Customer reviews

16 Sep 2022

“This book is written like a personal face to face conversation”

Easy quick read written for teens as a personal testimonial/sermon. The language is simple enough for middle school aged kids as well.
Nick is a brilliant, articulate speaker who is well equipped to teach the love of God to anyone who is willing to listen. Imagine he's sitting across the table telling you his story and that's how it reads.

10 Aug 2015

“Churched and Non-churched will benefit”

So grateful young people, who grow up in church/youth group, can read Faker and grow in their faith life, and then pass it on to a non-church friend, who may very well be drawn in to appreciate this unique gospel presentation.

8 Aug 2015

“Easy read full of challenging truth”

Faker is a book that left me excited to return to each time I put it down. McDonald's honesty and vulnerability with his own past and present invites readers to consider how they might be "faking" it. Faker brings depth and life to the well known parable of the pharisee and tax collector, in such a way that forced me to consider Jesus' truth in my own life. While eating breakfast and enjoying Faker, I was cut to the heart with McDonald's words; "he [the tax collector] sees that his true crisis was God's holiness vs. his sin." McDonald magnifies the significance and hope of the gospel for all fakers who lean on Jesus Christ.

I'm excited to share Faker with young teenagers. McDonald interweaves humor and cultural references that captures the reader's attention with the ultimate intention of focusing it on the truth of Jesus. The book is a reminder of the power, relevance, and excitement of God's word, and I believe it could spur teenagers on to read the bible for themselves.

6 Aug 2015

“An Easy in Depth Read that Meets readers where they are at!”

Faker is an easy read that certainly packs a punch and challenges readers to see the disguises they attempt to portray to the world. Faker does not just stop there though; the book digs to the heart of the problem with portraying ourselves in a variety of different ways in hopes of personal fulfillment. McDonald centers his books on a parable Jesus told about people praying to God.

The book is lined with insightful, yet simple quotes from contemporary icons and illustrations that allow the reader to better picture the scenarios McDonald portrays. Ultimately Faker is a great read for everyone, and is a down to earth representation of the everyday challenges that face all people as they seek identity and fulfillment in things,achievements, and their social media portrayals. The book is short, effective, and real, with actual stories from McDonald's life and admissions to His personal struggles that anyone can relate to. The book digs deep and engages the reader with a clearly unpacked picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ. McDonald does not just stop there, but continues on to explain that humility and soaking in God's Word is essential to leaving the state of a Faker and enjoying the freedom that comes from Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

27 Jul 2015

“V. little readable and funny book on authenticity, self-righteousness and the gospel”

Faker is humorously laced with McDonald's own story, including typically teenage struggles (as well as present battles), but the heart of his book sees him explain and apply the short parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, which Jesus tells in Luke 18:9-14. His conviction is that much 'faking it' is rooted in both fear and self-righteousness, and it is only an encounter with Jesus that confronts these.

Every chapter begins with a quotation from a contemporary film or book, from Tony Stark in Iron Man through to Gaga and The Hunger Games, with McDonald illustrating how the issues the parable raises are weaved into our culture and world. The clean font and blog-style paragraphing, along with quirky little line drawings by André Parker all mean Faker is a pleasant and easy read. The style and tone means McDonald is definitely writing for a 'youthful' reader, but that could feasibly be anyone from 14-30, and even beyond that.

However, don't read any of that as suggesting Faker is 'light'. McDonald isn't afraid to unpack concepts that he considers critical to understanding Jesus' parable, even when they aren't necessarily everyday concepts. He shows why the tax collector's cry for "mercy" is actually a plea for propitiation, and what that word means anyway (and why it matters)! He reflects on why a God of love is not at odds with a God of holiness, and how that can be. He's a clear and engaging teacher who can tell a good yarn, and evidently he has a real passion for seeing young people engage with the gospel in such a way that its embedded into everyday issues and currents.

If you're looking for a short but stimulating summer read, something to give to a young friend or relative, or even something for a camp bookstall, Faker is a worthy choice.

Full disclosure: The author sent me a copy of the book for free, but I hope this is still a fair and honest review!

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Faker | Nicholas T McDonald |