Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Katie Henry comes to the blog today with a clever exposition of one teen’s struggle to find the ‘bigger answers’ in his road to discovering and defending his own opinions in

Heretics Anonymous

We’ve all heard the refrain – one doesn’t discuss politics or religion in polite company. For me, that has always meant that people are uncomfortable with differing opinions and difficult questions that truly mean they have to examine their own whys and hows of their faith (or support of a candidate). Personally, I think this book couldn’t have come at a better time – to give a smart and often hilarious set of arguments and struggles with faith, and why / how / who one actually believes in and why.

Michael is a self-professed atheist, and he’s feeling much like a fish out of water as his father’s new job meant they’ve moved from all he knew, and now he’s at St. Clare’s, an upscale Catholic school. Aside from the usual shocks (new people, uniforms, rather strict code of conduct, religion class) he’s also finding that there are many students who are ‘ultra religious’, taking dogma and faith with their morning cornflakes, and he just doesn’t see it. He’s got questions, and none are easy, particularly when everyone seems to be on the same page. Oh well, there is Lucy, a serious believer BUT with one large hiccup – she wants to be a priest – far too radical for the current church. Through Lucy, he starts to discover the kids on the fringe – and the fact that everyone there is questioning, often with hilarious results, organized religion, beliefs, practices and taboos.

Calling themselves the Heretics Anonymous, this little group is smart, funny, tolerant of other’s beliefs and ways of expression, but take the time to actually delve into the bigger questions – why we believe this, where are these beliefs the same or different and just what purpose is served by discriminating against one group or another because of what they believe, or are. Surprisingly enough, these kids manage to explore with humor and respect – it’s a clearly defined search for answers and how one comes to find their faith in something ‘bigger’ than us all – no matter what path one chooses to adopt. Not a title for those who are uncomfortable with questions directly related to the proclamations on everything from the pulpit, but a smart and clever way to view one’s faith, and that of others, in ways unexpected, with plenty of opportunities for further thought. Michael, as a narrator is rather bland and wanting to find a ‘fit’ in this new environment, and as such, he is a wonderful center point for all that surrounds him as questions are asked, debated and examined, giving them all the perspective of one who is, if not adamantly a non-believer, perhaps more unfamiliar with the whys and comforts of a belief in the often nebulous concepts of spirit, God and souls.

What Henry has done here is started a discussion: a smart and cleverly couched discussion, that doesn’t provide THE answer, but a series of options for readers to take off on their own to discover more. And isn’t that just what we want for everything- the ability to have discussions, questions, answers and options to the issue that seems to be preeminent – why am I here, what is my purpose, what do I truly believe in. A read that is smart, clever and wholly engaging as it makes readers think, shows point and counterpoint, and offers a solid grounding in tolerance.

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Title: Heretics Anonymous
Author: Katie Henry
Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary YA Fiction, Humor elements
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN: 0062698877
Published on: 7 August, 2018
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 336
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 4 minutes
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo IndieBound GoogleAudible
See this Title on Goodreads

Put an atheist in a strict Catholic school? Expect comedy, chaos, and an Inquisition. The Breakfast Club meets Saved! in debut author Katie Henry’s hilarious novel about a band of misfits who set out to challenge their school, one nun at a time.

When Michael walks through the doors of Catholic school, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow atheist at that. Only this girl, Lucy, isn’t just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.

Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism.

Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies one stunt at a time. But when Michael takes one mission too far—putting the other Heretics at risk—he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

About Katie Henry

Katie Henry is a writer living and working in New York City. She received her BFA in dramatic writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a published playwright, specializing in theater for young audiences. Her plays have been performed by high schools and community organizations in over thirty states. Heretics Anonymous is her first novel.

 

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