* Amazon Best Book of the Month August 2018 * New York Public Library Best Books 2018 * 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.
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.