Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Katherine Tegen (8.7.2018)
Hardcover, 329 pages
Source: From Publisher
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.
“A heretic is someone who has belief, but not the right kind. At least according to the Catholic Church.”
Full disclosure: I would NEVER have picked this book up on my own, ever in a million years. I don’t read contemporary much to begin with, and even though the cover is interesting for a contemp, the fact that it sounds religious would probably have deterred me. But, Harper sent the book to me, and I was in the mood for contemporary, and my mom read it as a guinea pig (she IS religious, I am not) and she thought I’d like it. So, I took a leap of faith and picked it up – and I was super shocked because I actually loved it!!
First of all, this book is FREAKIN’ HILARIOUS. I had SO much fun reading it, especially in the first half! I was giggling out loud almost every other page because the prose is so funny and engaging. I found myself grinning like an idiot, and I don’t even remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book.
But, this book isn’t just a fun and fluffy book. I also loved it because it had an amazing message – tolerance and acceptance, no matter what a person’s gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion. This book had such an amazing cast of diverse characters!! An atheist, a feminist, a gay Jewish guy, an Asian, and a paganist. I loved their little ragtag group of misfits, aka the Heretics Anonymous!
“The only thing more dangerous that someone who doesn’t care about the rules is someone who does – and wants to break them anyway.”
I adored the characters. They felt so realistic! They each had their own distinct personalities. This was a very character driven book. It also gave me feels because it was 100% relatable to my core. I’m not an atheist at all, but I am agnostic. I was raised Methodist, but I’ve never been particularly religious. It kinda makes me cringe? Mostly I just don’t like having it shoved down my throat. This book was kind of about fighting that very thing – and going against the rules when the rules were unfair.
No matter what your religion or beliefs, I definitely recommend this book!
P.S. THE LAST PAGE AHHH *feelsfeelsfeels*
[…] a navy blazer with a patch over the left breast that reads ST. CLARE’S PREPARATORY SCHOOL. They could have called it HELL and saved on the embroidery costs.
“[…] where Angel Gabriel appeared to the teenage, engaged Virgin Mary and was basically like, “Hey, little girl. You’re going to get pregnant with a god-baby, and everyone’s going to think you’re a cheating slut and your fiance will try to divorce you, and then you’ll go into labor in a stable and flee to Egypt later that week because everyone in power wants to murder you and your god-baby. But don’t worry, you’ll get some sweet frankincense and myrrh out of it.”
“You’ve lost it. First you told a nun God was a dick, and now you want to lead a revolution.”
“I don’t have a God, and I don’t have a religion. But I do have a church. I do have a place that makes me safe and protected and known, like you said about Easter Mass when you were a kid. I have a place I feel known. It’s you,” I finish. “You’re my church.”
Brb there’s something in my eye…
Writing style: 5/5
Overall rating: 4/5