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Heretics Anonymous
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Heretics Anonymous
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A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year!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...
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year!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...
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  • A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year!

    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. Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Robyn Schneider.

    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.

About the Author-

  • Katie Henry, author of Heretics Anonymous, Let's Call It a Doomsday, and This Will Be Funny Someday, 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. You can find her online at www.katiehenrywrites.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 11, 2018
    In this entertaining coming-of-age story, five free-thinking students launch a clandestine campaign against their school’s rigid policies and practices, with unanticipated consequences. When his father’s job necessitates yet another move to a new town, Michael, a devout atheist who anticipates being miserable at his Catholic high school, finds himself unexpectedly invited into a “study group” of self-proclaimed heretics. Lucy wants to be a priest, Eden practices “Celtic Reconstructionist Polytheism,” Avi is Jewish and gay, and Max is Unitarian Universalist. Through creative, anonymous measures, they contest the sex education curriculum, the dress code, and the dismissal of a lesbian teacher for marrying her long-term partner. The school authorities and some students attempt to discover the subversives and restore discipline, while a developing romance between Michael and Lucy challenges both students to respect the other’s beliefs. When Michael commits an act that threatens his newfound friendships, he undergoes a spiritual awakening of sorts, which the author pulls off without sentimentality. None of Henry’s multi-dimensional, multi-ethnic characters fall into stereotypes, and her snappy dialogue sparkles throughout this skillfully crafted debut. Ages 13–up. Agent: Sarah LaPolla, Bradford Literary Agency.

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2018

    Gr 9 Up-St. Clare's is a home of plaid ties, blazers, and strict Catholic doctrine. When Michael is forced to move again and starts school at St. Clare's, he wonders how he will get by as a confirmed atheist. He is positive that he will have no friends and that absolutely no one in this straitlaced world will understand him. That is, until he meets the member of Heretics Anonymous. Lucy is a true believer and feminist, Avi is Jewish and gay, Max is an original who loves to sport a great cloak, and Eden is the paganist of the group. The heretics spend most of their time being sounding boards for one another, until Michael convinces them that complaining doesn't create change. One stunt at a time brings out issues great and small through the halls of St. Clare's. But will Michael take things too far and put his friendships and all of their futures at risk? A real and honest portrayal of teen socialization leads to an opportunity to discuss and drive activism among teen readers. The characters are by no means perfect. Each one struggles with family and personal issues which are reflected in their interactions with one another and other characters. The story adeptly asks readers to question what they believe and why, without being preachy, judgmental, or dismissive. Humor interlaced with more serious ideas make for an interesting and enjoyable read. VERDICT Highly recommended, especially for teens who are passionate about a cause.-Elizabeth Speer, Weatherford College, TX

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from May 15, 2018
    Teen angst and religious reflection cross paths in this insightful tale of self-discovery.This engrossing bildungsroman centers on the travails of white, first-person narrator Michael Ausman. Reeling from his family's frequent moves, and now forced to change schools less than two months into 11th grade, Michael is resentful at being at the mercy of his father's job and worrying about how he, an atheist, will fit in at St. Clare's, the best private--and Catholic--school in town. Luckily, Michael soon falls in with others bucking the St. Clare's norm: Lucy, a devout Colombian-American Catholic bent on reforming the church; Avi, a gay, semi-observant Jew; Eden, a Celtic Reconstructionist Polytheist with Irish heritage; and Max, a Korean-American Unitarian. Together this group of iconoclasts forms "Heretics Anonymous," a deliciously secret society united in the belief, "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." The hypocrisy-busting acts of rebellion the group engages in range from hilariously annotating the school's sex-ed DVD to circulating an alternative school paper challenging the dress code and exposing the firing of a popular teacher. But when Michael goes rogue and acts alone, his entire world is threatened. With a page-ripping plot and realistic character development, Henry's funny, heartwarming tale of unlikely rebels soars: an auspicious debut. (Fiction. 13-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Michael Crouch demonstrates a wholly satisfying range of teen and adult voices in his performance of Katie Henry's dialogue-rich debut novel. Each of the five boys and girls in the eponymous club, along with assorted family members of various ages, receives a distinct and consistent tone and pitch, making it easy to recognize every speaker in the moment. Although moods range from wryly funny to angry, pompous to thoughtful, and more, Crouch's careful delivery makes him fall away completely, leaving us with Michael and Lucy at the center of a story of smart kids, school rebellion, heartbreak, and credible variations of adolescent faith. Together, Henry and Crouch provide listeners with empathetic youngsters, flawed and disappointing adults, and the clash between desire and circumstances. F.M.R.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
  • Booklist

    Starred review from June 1, 2018
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Michael is not happy about spending his junior year attending a Catholic high school, but his father's job entails moving around, and it is the best school in the area. Who, he wonders, is going to be friends with an atheist? But he finds a group, collectively known as Heretics Anonymous, who hang out in a hidden room of the school basement to discuss their dissatisfaction with St. Clare's. Avi is Jewish, and gay Max is eccentric; Eden practices paganism; and Lucy?well, Lucy, a rebellious Catholic, is just wonderful. In her debut, Henry takes on a lot: a strained father-son relationship, a first romance between Michael and Lucy that's more tentative than torrid, and a group dynamic that propels the Heretics to take action rather than just gripe. The balls stay in the air quite well, and while a few of the characters, like Max, are never quite developed (or, in the case of super-Catholic Teresa, stereotypical), adults and teens alike get their due. What is most impressive here, however, is Henry's multifaceted take on religion. Michael isn't searching; he knows how he feels. Yet his introduction to others who feel differently?in the case of Lucy, passionately differently?opens him up. Come for the arch first-person narrative and puppy love, stay for the examination into belief.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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