“Heretics Anonymous” by Katie Henry— A Group of Misfits

Henry, Katie. Heretics Anonymous”, Katherine Tegen Books; Reprint edition, 2019. A Group of Misfits Amos Lassen An atheist in a strict Catholic school is always good for laughs and it does not take long before we have a band of misfits challenge their school, one nun at a time. Things were really bad for Michael when he walked through the doors of Catholic school. His dad had 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 but 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 to expose the school’s hypocrisies but when Michael takes one mission too far puts the other Heretics at risk, he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom or rely on faith, in God, his friends, or himself. Michael isn’t searching; he know how he feels. Yet his introduction to others who feel differently—in the case of Lucy, passionately differently—opens him up. The story asks its readers to question what they believe and why and does so without being judgmental, or dismissive. We get humor imixed with more serious ideas and it is great fun. We get a thought-provoking look at faith, questioning and other beliefs. In between the pranks and the conversations Michael has with his new friends, both believing and nonbelieving readers find their way into this look at the way feelings about family and faith intersect.   Katy Henry develops her characters’ friendship and respect for each other even though they are all so different. Through their relationships, they begin to think about their own beliefs and accept each other. This is all about coexistence.  

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