Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry
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.
I loved this book much more than I thought I would. It made me laugh a lot (it definitely touches on the whole divine comedy), and it also made me think a lot (in a good way).
It has the classic “high school” elements, but it also has some interesting family dynamics and cultural differences and that made it so much better. First off there is Michael, who is struggling with moving around because of his father’s job. And it touched me because I have moved around a lot too (not because of my dad all the time but still). And the relationsips between his family were interesting.
Then you get the rest of the group, with Lucy trying so hard for her family and for herself. I really enjoyed her passion and her belief. She believed and it was okay, the book doesn’t tell you “hey, this character’s way is better”, instead it shows you a lot of different ways to view faith (which is something not many YA or even fiction books touch) but Heretics Anonymous does.
Each of the character adds to this book a little bit more and it was so nice to read it.
I would suggest preordering/buying Heretics Anonymous, regardless of your beliefs. I don’t have many other books that touch on faith as this one does, so it is a tricky one to recommend other books…