Heretics Anonymous
Michael is an atheist. So as he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s—a strict Catholic school—sporting a plaid tie, 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 nonbeliever at that. Only this girl, Lucy, is not just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.But 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. After an incident in theology class, Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies. 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.

Heretics Anonymous Details

TitleHeretics Anonymous
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 7th, 2018
PublisherKatherine Tegen Books
ISBN-139780062698872
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, Fiction, Religion, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult Contemporary, Lgbt, Novels, Humor, Glbt, Queer

Heretics Anonymous Review

  • Emma Giordano
    January 1, 1970
    Heretics Anonymous6/5 Stars. Heretics Anonymous is a fascinating and humorous examination of faith and tolerance. This novel has quickly become an all-time favorite of mine. Check out my non-spoiler video review!: https://t.co/77hRxWGmPDCW: slut shaming, homophobia (both challenged in text), various jokes about religionThe humor in this book is UNREAL. I was crying of laughter almost from the first page. I feel that young adult books have been recently focusing on contemporary novels featuring d Heretics Anonymous6/5 Stars. Heretics Anonymous is a fascinating and humorous examination of faith and tolerance. This novel has quickly become an all-time favorite of mine. Check out my non-spoiler video review!: https://t.co/77hRxWGmPDCW: slut shaming, homophobia (both challenged in text), various jokes about religionThe humor in this book is UNREAL. I was crying of laughter almost from the first page. I feel that young adult books have been recently focusing on contemporary novels featuring dark and serious topics, so it was a breath of fresh air to read something so laughable! Michael’s sarcastic narration was the perfect fit for this story and I feel it is one of the most compelling aspects of the novel.I’m smitten with the characters in this novel. Following an atheist, a Columbian catholic, a gay jew, a pagan, and a unitarian (who loves to break the dress code), Michael, Lucy, Avi, Eden, and Max are a flawless band of misfits to stir up some much needed discussion in their conservative school. Michael is wonderfully flawed; He’s rash and obnoxious but still loveable and learning how to be a better person. Lucy has endless layers in the way she proudly presents herself as an intelligent feminist, has to take on additional responsibilities at home, and remains loyal to her faith while also challenging the unjust parts of it. Avi is snarky and confrontational in the best way. Out of all the characters, Eden and Max are the least developed, but they remain enjoyable and valuable participants of the story. I love the dynamic of these friends. They act (mostly – I’m looking at you, Michael) in solidarity but are still able to disagree and challenge the beliefs and motivations of one another. It is a very equal, healthy relationship between them all and such a charming story.Heretics Anonymous follows quite religious themes without infringing on the freedom of it’s characters AND readers. The main message of this story is tolerance. Despite their differences, these friends from all different forms of belief can come together for one purpose and achieve it. There is no “conversion” story. There is no push to follow one belief system. It is about the beauty of coexisting with one another and following what you personally believe in.I would recommend Heretics Anonymous to absolutely anyone. Whether you want to explore different perspectives of organized religion. Whether you want a story following a strong friendship. Or you just want a reason to laugh. I would highly recommend picking up this immensely unique debut and observing how it changes you. This book was sent to me unsolicited and for free by Harper Collins. I had no obligation to review this book and all opinions are my own.
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    It’s first period and only one person definitely wants me dead. Things are going better than expected. Heretics Anonymous is one of the few (actually the only one I can recall) YA books that talks specifically about a lack of religion. The protagonist - Michael - is an atheist who is forced to attend a Catholic high school and he, along with some new friends, attempts an amusing challenge of religious hypocrisy and inadequate sex education (read: outright lies).As an atheist who attended my own It’s first period and only one person definitely wants me dead. Things are going better than expected. Heretics Anonymous is one of the few (actually the only one I can recall) YA books that talks specifically about a lack of religion. The protagonist - Michael - is an atheist who is forced to attend a Catholic high school and he, along with some new friends, attempts an amusing challenge of religious hypocrisy and inadequate sex education (read: outright lies).As an atheist who attended my own Catholic high school, I related to a lot of this. My school was definitely more liberal than St Clare's, public not private, and with regular teachers instead of nuns, but I remember having a lot of questions and issues similar to what Michael has. Also, this is the latest blog update from my old school: http://www.st-wilfrids.bkcat.co.uk/of... 🙄It's a funny book, not one for those unwilling to laugh at some of the more ridiculous aspects of religion, but it's also respectful of anyone's beliefs as long as they agree everyone has the right to believe their own thing and love who they want. Michael is an atheist but his friends range from devoted Catholic to practicing pagan, with the ultimate message being tolerance and understanding. At the same time as unpacking some of the misconceptions about safe sex, Michael's own arrogance and dismissal of other beliefs is challenged. “I’m Sister Joseph Marie. You can call me Sister.”Sister. Father. It’s like getting a whole other family I don’t want to spend time with. The humour worked well for me and I laughed out loud a few times, but I think this book follows the pattern of a number of other quirky humourous books that have a weak story and weak characters. Underneath the hilarious and quotable lines, the meat of the book is lacking. The characters are forgettable and read more like a bunch of quirks shaped like a person than fully fleshed-out individuals.While some of the funnier quotes remind me of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the characters are far less memorable. I think this book will work well for readers who enjoy funny lines and jokes, and are willing to sacrifice plot and character development in exchange for said jokes. I think comedy usually translates well to audio, so I'd also be interested how audiobook readers find this.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.One of my favourite things is reading about experiences I’m not familiar with so I can participate in them vicariously through the characters. For example, I never attended a Catholic private school. And even if my middle school had a ‘‘Religion’’ class, I was placed in the ‘‘Moral’’ one with the other students who weren’t Catholic. I liked it. We talked about what it means to have morals and be a decent human being. But Michael is now attending such a school, because his father uproot 3.5 stars.One of my favourite things is reading about experiences I’m not familiar with so I can participate in them vicariously through the characters. For example, I never attended a Catholic private school. And even if my middle school had a ‘‘Religion’’ class, I was placed in the ‘‘Moral’’ one with the other students who weren’t Catholic. I liked it. We talked about what it means to have morals and be a decent human being. But Michael is now attending such a school, because his father uprooted their family to a new city for his job and enrolled him at a prestigious school that happens to be thoroughly Catholic. I say ‘‘thoroughly Catholic’’ because St. Clare’s has a ‘‘Father’’ as principal and ‘‘Sisters’’ as teachers.And guess what? Michael is atheist. His classmates are… not. They pray in class and go to mess and discuss saints and such. Things that Michael is not interesting in. Not at all. However, the moment he thinks he will never fit in and make friends, he meets a group of people who call themselves the ‘‘Heretics Anonymous’’ and bonds with them like he never did with anyone else. This story reminded me of the book Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. While Moxie and Heretics Anonymous focus on different topics, they both feature a high school whose rules are questionable and strict and whose student body deserves to know the hypocrisy of the institution that is supposed to educate the future leaders of the world. So the goal of the Heretics Anonymous is to push students to think critically about issues quickly covered up by authority figures, the different regulations enforced that students are expected to follow blindly as well as the wrong information given by the school, especially when it comes to sex education. FYI, that specific part is hilarious. It seems like such a serious story with heavy themes and a cast of characters that wish to revolutionize the way their school functions in general. All of that is true and the characters’ intentions certainly are noble, but they also make mistakes before realizing that nothing is either black or white; there are shades of gray everywhere, and although we all want to be right and for our opinion to be the one that matters most, we have to consider other people when we plan to change how things work in a community, and a school is a community of a sort.Surprisingly, their mistakes are very entertaining and the ideas they come up with to influence the student body to think differently quite interesting, though not particularly original since some are similar to those featured in Moxie. I found myself smiling while reading about the friendship dynamics between Michael and his crew, the Heretics Anonymous, seeing that they discuss not only the school and Catholicism, but also their own particular beliefs that shape who they are as a person. Lucy especially is a wise, if not a little stubborn, young woman who’s not going to try to convert you, but will show you how important it is to believe in something, anything, and not necessarily God. It can be love. It can be friendship. It can be family. In sum, this is light-hearted enough to make you smile and laugh during certain parts, but undeniably realistic, meaning that other scenes will hit you hard with their raw emotions. I would have given it more, and certainly wanted to, but except for dear Lucy, we as readers are not particularly connected to the Heretics Anonymous members. We get a sense of their personalities and what matters to them most, but they seemed to exist for the purpose of this group alone, whereas Lucy is still Lucy whether she’s part of the group or not, and because she becomes very important to Michael. Still, quite enjoyable. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Tatiana
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars A very rare YA novel that dares to talk about religion. It challenges Catholic dogma, while being understanding and respectful of faith in general - not a small fit.I found the YA part much less compelling, the main characters felt like carriers of traits rather than full personalities, especially the narrator - a 16-year boy of a very bland, self-insert kind who eventually is involved in an equally bland romance, although with a significantly more interesting girl. Which made me quest 3.5 stars A very rare YA novel that dares to talk about religion. It challenges Catholic dogma, while being understanding and respectful of faith in general - not a small fit.I found the YA part much less compelling, the main characters felt like carriers of traits rather than full personalities, especially the narrator - a 16-year boy of a very bland, self-insert kind who eventually is involved in an equally bland romance, although with a significantly more interesting girl. Which made me question why he was the narrator at all.
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  • Matt Carton
    January 1, 1970
    I will preorder this book from a local bookseller when the time comes. Amazon will not get my money for this. I will pay full price, dammit!
  • Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
    January 1, 1970
    ~I received an eARC~I cannot think of another book that I have associated with as much as Heretics Anonymous. The cast is so wonderfully diverse--and made a particular effort to give representation and/or mention to every group I can think of when it comes to religion and spirituality.The comedy! I laughed out loud at least once a page. Michael has absolutely identical level and style of sarcasm. As someone who was an atheist and went to Catholic high school, I vividly remember noticing, thinkin ~I received an eARC~I cannot think of another book that I have associated with as much as Heretics Anonymous. The cast is so wonderfully diverse--and made a particular effort to give representation and/or mention to every group I can think of when it comes to religion and spirituality.The comedy! I laughed out loud at least once a page. Michael has absolutely identical level and style of sarcasm. As someone who was an atheist and went to Catholic high school, I vividly remember noticing, thinking, and saying things he does. He also has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth for the first half of the book which was just...so incredibly hilarious (and oh so relateable)While I most related to Michael, I found Lucy so incredibly interesting. I know so many people in their 20s and 30s who are not atheists or agnostics but they struggle identifying with official religious institutions because they have not modernized or refuse to acknowledge history.The ragtag group in Heretics Anonymous was so well done and I loved all the debates and conflicts they have. It's realistic with all their different perspectives and personal priorities.I cannot find a single thing about this book I didn't like. It did such a good job of presenting conflicts and a diverse cast without villainizing anyone. This is absolutely going to be a book that I reread (which shocked me since I am not a big fan of contemporaries). I read this in a single seating and can see myself doing that again in the future. Even higher praise: it's my second favourite stand alone of all time.
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  • ⚔ Silvia ⚓
    January 1, 1970
    Will someone please give this humble atheist an ARC of this book where the word atheist is actually mentioned on page instead of glossed over just like in every YA book
  • queen0f_hearts
    January 1, 1970
    I sincerely hope this book won't let me down and will be more than critique of christianity, religion, or faith in general
  • Adrienne Young
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely hilarious and honest look at faith and identity. Loved this book!
  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really interesting read, and I really like that a lot of the focus was specifically on whether or not religion can and does evolve. It's neither an unfair indictment of religion nor a perspective of unwavering faith, and I particularly like how no one's view of their own religion (or lack thereof) is really changed or even challenged. This is not a conversion story, nor an attempt at one, and that's something I really respect in a book with religion at its core.I'd be really curious t This was a really interesting read, and I really like that a lot of the focus was specifically on whether or not religion can and does evolve. It's neither an unfair indictment of religion nor a perspective of unwavering faith, and I particularly like how no one's view of their own religion (or lack thereof) is really changed or even challenged. This is not a conversion story, nor an attempt at one, and that's something I really respect in a book with religion at its core.I'd be really curious to know if the really basic, kind of maddening errors about Judaism/the Bible were corrected for the finished printing (I read an ARC), but I'm not even gonna let myself look. (For example, we do not sit shiva for grandparents.) One thing I do love about the Jewish inclusion is that it never falls into the trap of conflating it with Christianity; even when forgiveness takes on a significant role in the end, no one acts like "forgiveness is a virtue" or "turn the other cheek" is a universal religious moral, which is one of my biggest peeves. If you're interested in reading more on religion in YA, I definitely recommend adding this one to your reading list.
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  • Jenni Frencham
    January 1, 1970
    Michael, an atheist, has been sent to a private Catholic school. His dad keeps getting promoted within his company, which has sent Michael and his family traveling across the country, and Michael has been promised that this is the last move. Michael ends up making friends with other "heretics" at his school: people who, for various reasons, do not fit the mold of a Catholic school student. They meet together as a sort of unofficial support group, until Michael challenges them to begin changing t Michael, an atheist, has been sent to a private Catholic school. His dad keeps getting promoted within his company, which has sent Michael and his family traveling across the country, and Michael has been promised that this is the last move. Michael ends up making friends with other "heretics" at his school: people who, for various reasons, do not fit the mold of a Catholic school student. They meet together as a sort of unofficial support group, until Michael challenges them to begin changing the system. Thus the group of heretics start fighting back against what they see as injustice at their school. While Michael himself and his friend Lucy are both well-developed characters, we learn much less about the other members of HA, which is unfortunate. Watching them plan and fight back against their school with mixed results reminds me of Jennifer Mathieu's Moxie. The story is about the group of characters, but mostly it's about Michael and his relationship with his friends and also with his family. Michael's frustrations at being moved across country on the whims of his parents will ring true to teens who have had to move in the middle of a school year. I was impressed by the inclusion of an atheist character, as this is a rare occurrence in teen contemporary literature. Recommended for: teensRed Flags: language; underage drinking; Overall Rating: 4/5 starsI received a complimentary copy of this book through Edelweiss for the purposes of review.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars What happens when you throw an atheist in a catholic school?Michael, having been moved around to several schools due to his dads job is not happy with the latest school he ended up in. You see, Michael is an atheist and his latest school? It’s a catholic school. If you think that means there’s all kinds of crazy that goes down, you’d be right. My favorite aspect of this book was the rebellious group, Heretics Anonymous. I loved that even though they were all different in their own way 3.5 Stars What happens when you throw an atheist in a catholic school?Michael, having been moved around to several schools due to his dads job is not happy with the latest school he ended up in. You see, Michael is an atheist and his latest school? It’s a catholic school. If you think that means there’s all kinds of crazy that goes down, you’d be right. My favorite aspect of this book was the rebellious group, Heretics Anonymous. I loved that even though they were all different in their own way that they still fit. It showed that it’s possible for people to have different views and different beliefs and still be able to not only get along, but to legitimately care for one another and that was so heartwarming. This is the way it should be. Heretics Anonymous is a book that I feel will be loved by many.
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsThis is a case of "it's not you; it's me."Because as well-written and awesome this book was, I didn't completely click with it and fall into deep, passionate, bookish love with it.It was good though--well written, relatable, interesting, and sprinkled with comedy and coming of age through the pages. Katie Henry is definitely a great writer and I'll be keeping an eye on her future works after this.I just feel like I didn't completely click with this, and that could be because I'm just not 4 starsThis is a case of "it's not you; it's me."Because as well-written and awesome this book was, I didn't completely click with it and fall into deep, passionate, bookish love with it.It was good though--well written, relatable, interesting, and sprinkled with comedy and coming of age through the pages. Katie Henry is definitely a great writer and I'll be keeping an eye on her future works after this.I just feel like I didn't completely click with this, and that could be because I'm just not a religious person and am apathetic to religion, and/or because I didn't click with the main character, Michael.It's not like you have to know about religion to read this book, but I just didn't really relate to the subject matter. And I think other people in my situation definitely could enjoy the book, even if they weren't religious, but I wasn't that invested in exposing some of the flaws within this Catholic school.I think Michael was a decent narrator, but for me I didn't really connect (I also forgot his name was Michael until I read the summary, because first person). It could be because this book is told from a male first-person point of view, making it harder for me to connect with Michael's character, or it could be because I didn't really relate to any of his struggles.I'm pretty apathetic to Catholicism and Michael is super privileged (and white) but has "dad issues" so his struggles ended up not really hitting the mark for my personal perspective (apathetic-to-religion Asian teen girl).I probably would have liked this book a lot more if it was told from the point of view of Lucy--the love interest and devout Catholic, although one with a different interpretation than her Catholic school's. She was more interesting to me and her struggles felt more relatable.I felt like Lucy and all the other side characters were well developed and had the right amount of involvement in the narrative--as well as this novel having a good increasing of intensity as the novel wore on.Plus, this is one of those books that felt like it was actually resolved well! I was surprised but satisfied with where the book ended, which is a rarity for me.In the end, one of my personal problems was that it just didn't end up being as comedic as I wanted it to be. It's more like situational irony with all these misfits going to a Catholic school rather than the dry, quippy thing I was expecting. It was more like "hahaha these atheist/gay/Jewish/Celtic Polytheistic/non-Catholic teens are going to a Catholic school! crazy" rather than actively jibing at things.And there's nothing wrong with this type of humor, I just felt a little bit cheated out of what could have been.I feel like Katie Henry really knows what she's talking about, especially with the historical facts and interpretations scattered throughout the novel. (Although I can't guarantee any accuracy other than she sounds believable when she writes this.)This is a good book and it's well written and well paced and well done--just not really my style. I didn't have a heinous time reading, but I just wasn't passionate about this. I feel like for any other reader, this could easily be a 5 star read, so if the summary appeals to you, I say check it out. It just didn't click with me.Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!Blog | Instagram | Twitter
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  • Meera Nair
    January 1, 1970
    Ratings - 3.5 out of 5 stars Just when Michael thought that they were done with the whole packing up and leaving, his parents announce otherwise. Now, he has to attend St. Clare's Catholic School, which isn't exactly the best place to be for an atheist like him. His presumptions of everyone being uptight and religious are flung out the window, when he gets initiated into a secret club called Heretics Anonymous. Even within the austere boundaries of this school, there exists a group of students Ratings - 3.5 out of 5 stars Just when Michael thought that they were done with the whole packing up and leaving, his parents announce otherwise. Now, he has to attend St. Clare's Catholic School, which isn't exactly the best place to be for an atheist like him. His presumptions of everyone being uptight and religious are flung out the window, when he gets initiated into a secret club called Heretics Anonymous. Even within the austere boundaries of this school, there exists a group of students who choose to have differing beliefs and aren't ready to get brainwashed by the system. But when Michael takes it all a step too far, he jeopardizes everything he has worked to build.10 points for that cover!What started out as a hilarious book soon turns into a bit of a serious read and rightly so. Michael's wit and sarcasm will surely make you crack up at times. There's such honesty in his thoughts. But underlying all that bravado you get the sense of boy flailing at his inability to stay rooted to a place, and therefore distraught by the constant disruption in his life. This is Katie Henry's debut novel and I must admit that she has crafted a remarkable storyline. With everything that's going on in our world, religious intolerance is something that has been cause for concern for a long time now. But do we ever stop to think how children perceive themselves through a religious angle, how do they fit into all this?In this novel, it is very refreshing to see teenagers who are not only well informed about their choices but also standing up for their beliefs, however different they may be. When Michael joins Heretics Anonymous, he is met with a broad range of thought processes; those belonging to a Celtic Reconstructionist Pagan, a Catholic Christian and others that I hadn't even heard about. The author's writing complements the story, in that, you feel like you've been taken back to your school days. It's not wordy or hard to digest. It has everything a high-school fiction usually does - drama, betrayal, romance (puppy love?), rebelling. But on top of all that, it has some mature viewpoints too!Michael's relation with his father is strained but I couldn't help feeling bad for them both. In my opinion, they are both right on their part. I just wish that they'd talked it out sooner, because it would've prevented a lot of negativity. I didn't personally connect with any of the characters, but that didn't deter me from being invested in their story. In conclusion, I did enjoy reading this book, even though I couldn't understand the hype. If you are the kind of person who gets easily offended by religious and spiritual diversity, maybe this book is not for you. But I hope that's not true. I hope you can pick up a book like this in good faith and just have fun reading it.What do you get out of it? New perspective on religious identities and all the excitement of attending high-school.Thank you HarperCollins for this eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 
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  • Dana Mele
    January 1, 1970
    This book was absolutely delightful- at turns hilarious, poignant, and heartfelt. The characters are so distinct and lovable and sharp witted and strange, and the dialogue is cut with a razor edge. Start getting excited for Heretics Anonymous now. It’s a refreshingly comedic coming of age story of faith, (and what it means to believe in something other than God), family, friendship, and first love.
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    First, I have to state that I'm not religious at all.  I heard good things about this book, so I requested it needing something light to read.  It was so much better than I expected it to be!I really liked Michael.  He doesn't believe in God, but his family moved again and they enrolled him into a Catholic school.  I knew right away that Michael would be a stand out character for me.  There were so many times that I laughed out loud.  But I also loved his growth throughout the book.  Michael def First, I have to state that I'm not religious at all.  I heard good things about this book, so I requested it needing something light to read.  It was so much better than I expected it to be!I really liked Michael.  He doesn't believe in God, but his family moved again and they enrolled him into a Catholic school.  I knew right away that Michael would be a stand out character for me.  There were so many times that I laughed out loud.  But I also loved his growth throughout the book.  Michael definitely had a lot of anger at his father for moving them all the time.  He found a group at this school that he fit into, but he made a lot of mistakes along the way.  "It's first period and only one person definitely wants me dead.  Things are going better than expected."I also like Lucy, Avi, Eden, and Max.  They were all so different, but they found ways to bond.  Not because they hated their school or religion, but because there were things that made them outcasts or made them question things.  Eden believed in multiple Gods.  Avi was gay and Jewish.  Max broke the dress code often because he wanted to wear a cloak.  And Lucy was a feminist and wanted more progression for women in the church.  Lucy wanted to be a priest.  The kids all decided to take their group a bit further.  To try to change things.  My favorite part was the sex video.  I thought it was perfect and I laughed a lot."Before Father Peter's even finished with the introduction, Purity Paul bursts through the center of the curtains, carrying a mic in his hand and wearing a smile that could only be caused by Jesus or LSD."Michael takes things too far on his own and has to deal with the consequences.  He work on his relationship with his dad and tries to find ways to make it up to Lucy.  He starts to understand things from other perspectives, even if he doesn't agree with them.Overall, I really enjoyed this book and gave it 4  1/2 stars (rounded up to 5).  There were quite a few parts that I related to and it made me laugh a lot.Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for giving me a copy for review.  All quotes are taken from an ARC and could change before final printing.
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  • Derek Milman
    January 1, 1970
    Katie Henry has a biting wit, a sharp sense of humor, and a real big heart. All that comes into play wonderfully, and sensitively, in Heretics Anonymous, a great, forceful debut, and a totally unique coming-of-age story. Atheist Michael--constantly getting moved around, courtesy of his dad's corporate job--finds a whole other set of challenges once he lands at a Catholic School. However, things get even more interesting after he falls in with a group of fellow outcasts, all colorful characters i Katie Henry has a biting wit, a sharp sense of humor, and a real big heart. All that comes into play wonderfully, and sensitively, in Heretics Anonymous, a great, forceful debut, and a totally unique coming-of-age story. Atheist Michael--constantly getting moved around, courtesy of his dad's corporate job--finds a whole other set of challenges once he lands at a Catholic School. However, things get even more interesting after he falls in with a group of fellow outcasts, all colorful characters in their own right, and together they form a secret club to challenge the absurdities of the world (and their school). But the innocent purity of their hope, and their pulsing ambitions, can only take them so far.A story about love, friendship, family, and faith, Katie Henry is that rare author who can balance voice, comedy, and conflict to dazzling effect.
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  • Joss
    January 1, 1970
    4.5. Hilarious. Heartwarming. This story really hit close to home. I loved it.
  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    I was raised Catholic and lost my faith as a teenager. Never went back, never plan to go back. This story of a group of unconventional teens who band together at a Catholic School against injustices and hypocrisies really got me. I was delighted to see an atheist main character who (MINOR SPOILER ALERT) doesn't get converted in the end. His friends also represent a refreshing mix of personalities and beliefs: A gay jewish kid, a celtic re constructionist pagan who casts spells, a quirky cape wea I was raised Catholic and lost my faith as a teenager. Never went back, never plan to go back. This story of a group of unconventional teens who band together at a Catholic School against injustices and hypocrisies really got me. I was delighted to see an atheist main character who (MINOR SPOILER ALERT) doesn't get converted in the end. His friends also represent a refreshing mix of personalities and beliefs: A gay jewish kid, a celtic re constructionist pagan who casts spells, a quirky cape wearing kid, and a very pious but staunchly feminist overachiever. I really loved this and consider it an exemplary example of a sweet, sensitive and funny YA novel that still manages to bring up some big questions. And it's totally adorable and romantic too. Perfect for fans of Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda.
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  • Emily A. Duncan
    January 1, 1970
    Charming, witty, and deeply heartfelt, this really got to me and my weird, complication religion feelings.
  • Miriam Joy
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected, and I particularly loved the character of Lucy, who was at the heart of why I liked it so much. From the blurb, I knew there were several ways this book could go, and some of them wouldn't have been enjoyable to read. Though I'll be the first to admit my faith is shaky if not non-existent these days, I grew up in the church, and I was worried it was going to be a disrespectful approach to religion, with the atheist narrator seeing his viewpoint as I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected, and I particularly loved the character of Lucy, who was at the heart of why I liked it so much. From the blurb, I knew there were several ways this book could go, and some of them wouldn't have been enjoyable to read. Though I'll be the first to admit my faith is shaky if not non-existent these days, I grew up in the church, and I was worried it was going to be a disrespectful approach to religion, with the atheist narrator seeing his viewpoint as superior to those of foolish believers. Then I saw the author tweeting about stuff that made me think that wasn't the angle she was going to take, and was reminded that I had an ARC and should actually try it out, and I found that it was the furthest thing from disrespectful.Oh, the narrator does start out like that, but he learns his lesson. What follows is a deep, meaningful examination of faith and the way it doesn't necessarily mean blind obedience to religion, and how sometimes the urge to disobey religious rules comes not from disbelief but from firm faith. There were several wonderful quotes about finding meaning in different approaches to religion -- and central to all of this was Lucy.Lucy is the Catholic among the 'Heretics'. She's so Catholic that she wants to be a priest, except she can't, because she's a girl, which is where a lot of her anger comes from. She reminds me a lot of one of my flatmates, actually, who has talked in the past about how the church's problems aren't something you solve by turning your back on it. The first time we meet Lucy, she's arguing with her history teacher about whether or not saints were well-behaved. Spoiler alert: they weren't. It was a great way to meet her, because I immediately knew I was going to like her.The other characters are interesting enough, but none captured my attention in quite the same way that Lucy did. Eden is a Celtic Reconstructionist Polytheist which was... interesting. I was definitely inclined to prejudge that, and the book's message was very much that I shouldn't, but at the same time, I literally just did a degree in medieval Irish and one of the central ideas we discussed over and over again is the impossibility of reconstructing a Celtic pantheon because we have no record of it other than from a highly Christian milieu several hundred years after paganism had all but gone from Ireland. As a result, it's a branch of paganism I find extremely difficult to understand (drawing on Greek and Roman stuff makes more sense to me; at least we know their gods *were* gods and *were* worshipped, and even how that worked). But I try not to get between people and the things they find meaningful, because that's up to them, and I think that's what the book was trying to express. Avi is Jewish and gay, so you can imagine how *he* feels about the school, though I didn't feel he actually got enough screentime to really explore the nuances of his personality. I wasn't particularly invested in Max, I have to admit, though he wasn't, like, objectionable. The book is also funny, and I think there are parts of it I found extra funny because of my own experiences. I didn't go to a Catholic school, or even a Christian school at all; my church growing up was an extremely 'low' Church with very little ritual and as a result I find all of that stuff deeply confusing. But I still grew up with faith, which I think helps. I also did a degree in medieval stuff, so I know way too much about saints and how weird they are. I think my position there is closest to Michael's (the atheist narrator): I didn't grow up believing in saints, so I'm free to enjoy them as deeply, deeply odd stories. Anyway.Here are a few of my favourite quotes:"For JJ, God is something warm and innocent, Christmas presents and stories from his big sister. Lucy's God is one of revolution and justice, someone who can set a damaged, difficult wrld right. But they're the same God, from the same book -- the same unbending, authoritarian God that Theresa believes in. Can one God be all those things to all those people?""Sister Helen tries to engage the class in a discussion about the role of saints in our daily lives, but this quickly devolves into a full-on showdown over whether everyone's favourite saints were sexist (all the male ones), anti-Semitic (all the medieval ones), or just plain weird (all of them, in my opinion)""Together, we come up with a word search puzzle that asks readers to locate all the words we've heard people using to describe Heretics Anonymus. These words include 'atrocity', 'hilarious', and 'blasphemous'. We tried to fit in 'basically the eleventh plague of Egypt', but that was too long.""'Why?' Eden asks. '[The church] hurts people you care about. It hurts you. Why can't you leave?''Because it's my home!' Lucy bursts out. 'And it's a mess. I know it's a mess. But it's my home, and I'm going to stay, I have to stay, and make it better.' Her voice wavers. 'I won't run away from my home.'" "If God does exist, if He listens to your prayers and still sticks you in this shitty situation, in a church that doesn't even want you, then He doesn't deserve your faith.""I remember this line, and I remember Lucy wrote that for mercy, you could also read loyalty or love. 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice'. What I gave to Lucy was a sacrifice, not burnt and bloodied like a slaughtered cow, but a sacrifice. I said, "Here, take a gift in exchange for all the pain I've caused you, take a bought thing in exchange for the hurt in your heart." Lucy, like her God, desires mercy, loyalty, love. She doesn't want my burnt offering."
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Okay honestly this book and concept is total hypocrisy. This message of this book is teach acceptance but yet tries like many others to discredit the catholic religion. I know others may criticize the church but I have found the Catholic Church to be the most accepting institutions alive. Mercy is one if not the main topic the Catholic Church teaches. People forget all the good the Church has done for humanity. Not only did the first professional hospitals arise due to the Church but also the ba Okay honestly this book and concept is total hypocrisy. This message of this book is teach acceptance but yet tries like many others to discredit the catholic religion. I know others may criticize the church but I have found the Catholic Church to be the most accepting institutions alive. Mercy is one if not the main topic the Catholic Church teaches. People forget all the good the Church has done for humanity. Not only did the first professional hospitals arise due to the Church but also the basic morals instilled in every individual and society.
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  • Sebastian
    January 1, 1970
    Heretics Anonymous by Katie HenryARC/RC kindly provided by Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry is a comedy/romance which focuses on the lives of five high schoolers, and how through their club ‘Heretics Anonymous’, come to realize the hypocrisies and unfairness of their Catholic School. This book has a strange but creative plot that is unexpected, but I found that after a few chapters I was gripped to the book through Henry’s way making the character Heretics Anonymous by Katie HenryARC/RC kindly provided by Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry is a comedy/romance which focuses on the lives of five high schoolers, and how through their club ‘Heretics Anonymous’, come to realize the hypocrisies and unfairness of their Catholic School. This book has a strange but creative plot that is unexpected, but I found that after a few chapters I was gripped to the book through Henry’s way making the characters but also the events relatable to readers.The story is written through the eyes of high schooler ‘Michael Ausman’. His family is forced to move homes frequently because of his dad’s work, and this is the start of a new school for Michael. He is constantly faced with the fear of starting a new school, and he has learnt that he shouldn’t become to close to his friends, because he has to bare letting them go when he moves. But when he walks into St. Clare’s, it the start of a friendship with four other people that he is never going to forget. He meets his first friend, ‘Lucy Peña’, in first period. Along the first week, Michael is introduced to the rest of the friend group, where he meets Avi, Eden and Max. Ausman then goes to his first Heretics Anonymous meeting, a society created by the other four friends, where the group discusses events, unfairness and everything about St. Clare’s. Michael then proposes the group’s first project at the school where they will hijack a ‘sex ed’ lesson that the grade has and make the information relevant.The project goes to plan, and St. Clare’s is buzzing about Heretics Anonymous. The group then decides and plans their second project, where they will combat the strict uniform code of the school. Soon, they have nearly the whole school on board and Heretics Anonymous’ fame spreads. Through more meetings and a party, Michael realizes his love for Lucy, and the couple start dating. He will never forget St. Clare’s, especially Lucy, and he has become close to his friends, against his own advice. Michael then begins working on another project, and he tells the group, but they do not seem convinced, and against a promise to Lucy, he continues working on the idea. One night he takes the project too far, endangering himself, Heretics Anonymous, and Lucy.Henry has been able to incorporate two genres together in this novel, and the way she has done this should be commended. As I said prior in this review, her way of incorporating relatable emotions and events and associating them to the characters of the novel and the novel itself, was what really got to me with this book and made it hard to put down. Katie Henry’s way of writing in first-person should also be commended, as it is not easy.Although I was satisfied with the ending, I believe it was a bit rushed and could have been better by making it a bit more real.In Conclusion, I found this book hard to put down and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend this book for readers 15+.I give this book 4.5/5
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  • Heather Hughes
    January 1, 1970
    I received an e-galley from HarperTeen on Edelweiss in exchange for this honest review.I'm so glad that Emma (emmmabooks) continuously tweeted and talked about this book because it finally pushed me to pick it up and check it out! Needless to say, this book really hooked me with its humor and charm.Michael is forced to move (again), thanks to his father's job. He ends up being sent to a Catholic school, which isn't that great since he doesn't really believe in God. There, he meets kids that are I received an e-galley from HarperTeen on Edelweiss in exchange for this honest review.I'm so glad that Emma (emmmabooks) continuously tweeted and talked about this book because it finally pushed me to pick it up and check it out! Needless to say, this book really hooked me with its humor and charm.Michael is forced to move (again), thanks to his father's job. He ends up being sent to a Catholic school, which isn't that great since he doesn't really believe in God. There, he meets kids that are like him: outcasts among the cookie-cutter students, faculty and rules of a Catholic school. These group of kids form an anonymous group to push back on the rules that try to shape them into people they aren't.First of all, I love dry humor. Give me some sarcasm and jokes and you've got me. This book did just that. Michael's humor and narration in this book was absolutely amazing and I was laughing so much at the wisecracks he kept making. It takes a lot for a book alone to make me laugh, but Katie's book won me over instantly.The characterization was really well done. We have an atheist, a feminist Catholic, a Pagan, a gay Jew and an outspoken dresser. Some of the characters, I will say, didn't appear that much to me. They felt more like background characters when it came to Lucy and Michael. For instance, Avi (the gay Jew), is front and center a lot during the majority of the book. He has known Lucy the longest and tries to be there for her. This causes him to get angry a lot when Michael does something that really isn't the smartest thing for Lucy to be associated with. At the end of the book, he seemed to switch over to just a background character without warning. There isn't really any closure, which I found to be odd. The other characters get some closure, but Avi was left out. I don't know if that's just for the reader to make their own assumptions on what happened or if Avi is just not going to be a part of the group anymore. I'm hoping things work out, but that's just me. Everything else worked out great for me when it came to the characters, but the only issue was that, besides Lucy and Michael, the other kids just seemed to be labeled as not that important as the book progressed.Overall, I really enjoyed this book immensely. The humor was spot on and the storyline really draws you in. I love reading books about the "outcasts" taking over and attempting to make a change, even if there are heavy consequences with that change. It's all about the learning experience and being a better friend with a little romance mixed in. More than that, Heretics Anonymous is about staying true to who you are while also finding out who you are really meant to be in a place where society wants you to be just like everybody else.
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  • Jen Ryland
    January 1, 1970
    An atheist at a Catholic school falls in with a group of kids who want to undermine the school's authority -- and also falls in love with a devout Catholic girl.I love books with religious themes and loved that this tackled issues like whether teachers at a religious school can and should be held to the religion's rules in their private lives. Or how to judge religious beliefs that don't seem politically correct in today's world. Not easy issues!I liked the overall story, but didn't really conne An atheist at a Catholic school falls in with a group of kids who want to undermine the school's authority -- and also falls in love with a devout Catholic girl.I love books with religious themes and loved that this tackled issues like whether teachers at a religious school can and should be held to the religion's rules in their private lives. Or how to judge religious beliefs that don't seem politically correct in today's world. Not easy issues!I liked the overall story, but didn't really connect with the (male) narrator all that much. He just wasn't very interesting. I wish the story had been told by Jenny or Lucy. Or maybe multiple POVs.Gave me fond memories of a book called The Cat Ate My Gymsuit which I remember being obsessed with as a tween. It's about Marcy, an overweight girl who gains confidence from an outspoken teacher, who gets fired for her outspokenness. Marcy stands up to her father (who is kind of a bully) and the school administration.Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Check out my Bookstagram! Or check out my Jen In Ten reviews on Youtube - get the lowdown on current books in 10-30 seconds!Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5 StarsMichael was not happy that his father up and moved his family yet again, and to make matters worse, he was making him attend a Catholic school. Michael had already written the place off before he even walked through the door, but then he met Lucy, and she introduced him to Heretics Anonymous, and well, things were looking up. We believe in one fundamental truth:That all people, regardless of what they worship, who they love, and what they think Have a right to exist, and a right Rating: 3.5 StarsMichael was not happy that his father up and moved his family yet again, and to make matters worse, he was making him attend a Catholic school. Michael had already written the place off before he even walked through the door, but then he met Lucy, and she introduced him to Heretics Anonymous, and well, things were looking up. We believe in one fundamental truth:That all people, regardless of what they worship, who they love, and what they think Have a right to exist, and a right to be heard.• Pro: From the excerpt from the Heretics Anonymous manifesto, you can see that there was a theme that EVERYBODY matters, and that's something I can get 100% behind. • Pro: The first half of the book was jam packed with humor. I was able to relate to a lot of things in the book too, because I am Catholic and went to a Catholic school. • Pro: I always get a little nervous when religion is part of a book, since many in the entertainment industry hold very negative views of organized religion. Henry did point out the flaws, but she also offered alternate points of view, and showed how there are some positive things to religion as well. • Pro: Diversity was present in many forms in this book. There were characters from different races, with different sexual orientations, and with different religious beliefs represented. • Pro: The exploration of faith and religion was quite interesting. The idea that you can be part of a religion, while not subscribing to every tenet was touched upon. Lucy was very devout, but she didn't hide the fact that she thought the church needed to evolve and change. It was still a place she loved and found comfort, but she also wanted to see it change as society changed. • Pro: I really, really enjoyed the last part of the book. It was the part, where Michael underwent his big growth phase. I was really proud of the conclusions he came to regarding his family, friends, and the idea of faith. Overall: What do you get when you send an atheist to Catholic School? You get a pretty amusing, heartwarming, and compelling coming of age story.*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Mckinlay
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a DRC from edelweiss and the publisher. This does not affect my review.*I know this book is being compared to the movie Saved, and yes, i guess the vibe is similar, and i do think if you like that movie, you'll like this. but it's also so much more! Even though this book is told through the eyes of an atheist at a Catholic school, i thought it was incredibly respectful of the religion, and also what it's like to believe a religion is the right place for you, but still wanting it to e *I received a DRC from edelweiss and the publisher. This does not affect my review.*I know this book is being compared to the movie Saved, and yes, i guess the vibe is similar, and i do think if you like that movie, you'll like this. but it's also so much more! Even though this book is told through the eyes of an atheist at a Catholic school, i thought it was incredibly respectful of the religion, and also what it's like to believe a religion is the right place for you, but still wanting it to evolve and change, to be better. Because you know it could be. Unlike the movie Saved, this book features a diverse cast of characters: a Jewish gay boy, Avi. A Korean kid, named Max, who I also think is on the spectrum though it is not disclosed on the page. And a Latina girl, Lucy, who is the Catholic feminist badass that i didn't know i needed. I'd like to note that I am not Catholic, but I hope to loan my ARC to my Catholic BFFF and get her opinion. Will edit my review, if necessary.
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  • Just Reading Everything
    January 1, 1970
    In this YA contemporary pitched The Breakfast Club meets Saved!, Michael, an atheist, finds himself enrolled at a Catholic school by his parents after spending much of his life being shuffled around from city to city because of his father's job. There Micheal unexpectedly finds friendship in Lucy. Although she finds comfort in her religion, she invites him to join Heretics Anonymous: a group of outcast students who accept each other as they are and challenge certain school rules (like dress code In this YA contemporary pitched The Breakfast Club meets Saved!, Michael, an atheist, finds himself enrolled at a Catholic school by his parents after spending much of his life being shuffled around from city to city because of his father's job. There Micheal unexpectedly finds friendship in Lucy. Although she finds comfort in her religion, she invites him to join Heretics Anonymous: a group of outcast students who accept each other as they are and challenge certain school rules (like dress code) that have been defined. But when Michael pushes the boundaries of the group too far, he has to decide what's truly important to him. This wonderful story dives into the importance of friendship, family, and faith and is equal parts humorous and heartfelt.
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  • Shruthi
    January 1, 1970
    1. A book about an atheist going to catholic school!!!! 2. According to the reviews the atheist doesn't convert by the end of the book which I have never seen in a book before3. I love the word heretics. Like after heathen, it is one of my absolute favourite words.This book seems like it was made for me. Definitely going to buy!
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  • Abby Rauscher
    January 1, 1970
    shout-out to Mabel for making me read this because it was funny and charming and thoughtful and i loved it
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