Skip to main content

Spotlight Review: Heretics Anonymous


Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry (August 7)
Overview: Micheal has moved four times in ten years. This time, the move has landed him at a prestigious Catholic school instead of the local public school. This does not go well with his atheist beliefs. On his first day, he meets Lucy, an outspoken Catholic girl who's frustrated that she can't change anything about the flaws she sees in the church she loves. She introduces him to the underground club, Heretics Anonymous where students of other faiths come to vent about the unfair policies of the school. Spurred into action by Micheal's fire, the atheist, gay, Jewish boy, pagan girl, Unitarian boy, and Catholic leader make changes in the school that no one will forget. Overall: 5+++

Characters: 5 This book carries a deeply complex narrative that is driven by the amazing detail put into each characters. One of the great tenants of writing is understanding that every character has their own wants and motivations. This is one of the few books where that truly shines through. Henry allows us to understand this extremely diverse cast of characters and stand in everyone's shoes even when we look at the world from Micheal's biased prospective.
Beyond the antics at school, there's so much wonderful family content. Lucy is holding her family together, caring for her brothers, living with her stepfather after her mother left over a year ago. She deals with parental abandonment and being torn between believing her mother will come back and letting her go.
Micheal has a super touching storyline with his father that made me tear up a bit at the end of the book. There's a lot of tension between the two because his dad's job constantly uproots his life, and his dad is never around to help him cope because he's always gone on work trips. This creates a residual resentment that starts to bubble over. On the other side, his father is always working to provide the money he didn't have as a child to support his family and give them everything. His father misses that the kids need him there emotionally too. Watching them find understanding with one another created one of the best parental scenes I've ever read in YA.

Plot: 5 The action is constant in the book. Whether it's a crazy stunt to point out the hypocrisy of St. Claire's, an unsupervised slumber party, or an argument, something is always happening. One thing that I rarely find in books is that every single little scene gives Micheal a little piece of the puzzle he needs to start understanding the world clearly. There's not a single dead moment, which makes the masterpiece of an ending even more beautiful.

Writing: 5 I will read anything Henry writes. The book is totally immersive because every little detail is colored in. Everyone in Micheal's world is a real person. No one exists to just further the story. And, somehow, with all the detail, the story never gets bogged down. She balances some of the toughest topics to tackle in YA perfectly. This was the best book I could have asked for to pull me out of my reading slump.

*Note* Some of the details in the book made me laugh so hard and scream "I've said that." Reading this was quite the cathartic experience for someone who spent a long time at a religious school. Especially the uniform take down. That was my favorite part, and I'm jealous I didn't think of it first.

Links of Interest:
Starry Eyes: Review Here
So Glad To Meet You: Review Here
The History of Jane Doe: Review Here
Letting Go Of Gravity: Review Here

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top 10 of 2019: All the YA Love

We're winding down 2019, so it's time to get reflective on the past year. It feels like multiple lifetimes have happened in this single year. It was one of the best years for the blog that I've ever had. Even though I might have read less this year, I expanded my interviews and guests posts, got to work closely with some wonderful writers, and fell further in love with the YA community. A huge thank you to everyone in the Novel19s for working with me, being so kind, and putting out some of the best books I've ever read. In the next few weeks, I'll be posting more about the future I see for the blog going into 2020 and it's third year, but, for now, let's celebrate all the amazing stories 2020 has brought to us! I did my Reading, Writing, and Me book awards recently which honored over 20 books in tons of different categories so if you need last minute holiday shopping inspiration, check out this list and the earlier one!

1. Permanent Record
I have not stoppe…

Top Reads of 2018

This year's best of 2018 list has tons of new categories to fit all of the amazing books I read this year. I've had the chance to read so many advanced books and recent releases, so most of what I read were books that came out in 2018. I mostly choose contemporary, so I've started with my favorite debut as well as the best books in other genres I've ventured into. After that, I have smaller categories in the contemporary genre. I hope you find new books to love and give to your friends and family for the holidays. If you're interested in learning more about the books on the list, click their titles to go to my reviews. Let me know if these are some of your favorites in the comments, and tell me your favorite books!
Best In Genre Top Debut
Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell Nothing Left To Burn gave me the craziest book hangover. I was so immersed in the story, and I couldn't stop reading to do anything that I actually needed to be doing. There is a toxic relat…

Queen of Geek Review

Queen of Geek by Jen Wilde
Overview: Charlie is a famous You Tuber whose indie film has exploded in popularity. It's landed her at SupaCon in San Diego with two of her best friends. While there, Taylor and Jamie try to find a way for Taylor to meet her favorite author, and Charlie has to do tons of press with her exboyfriend. Luckily, though, the magic of the con brings them all some good luck and memorable moments. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Charlie is so much fun. She's confident, has pink hair, and is full of life. She has some interesting commentary on being famous and also on how fandom works when people ship actors together in real life.
Taylor has anxiety and is on the autism spectrum. She's the biggest fan of the Firestone series, but winning the contests to meet the author requires her to step way outside of her comfort zone. With Jamie by her side, she reclaims a lot of confidence and makes the con her own.

Plot: 4 If you love books about celebrity and cons, you'…

Reflecting on 2019 and the Decade

"It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age"- "Long Live"

I can't believe it's finally here. We're all getting ready to step into 2020 tomorrow. It always seemed so far away. We've all been talking about it so long that it's managed to creep up on me. I guess we're all getting a little extra sentimental because we're ending a decade (in terms of the popular view of decades). We're moving into the 20s. Seeing everyone's decade later comparisons has been weird because the 2010s were the first full decade I've ever lived. I started the decade as a six year old in first grade, so, even though I feel like I've accomplished far less than some people on Twitter, I have, in fact, managed to graduate elementary, middle, and high school and get into college in the last 10 years. I've also become a person.
Most of what's shaped me has happened in the last ten years. I've learned an incredible amount about mysel…

I Got Rid of (Almost) All My Books

On Twitter, everyone loves to joke about their TBR piles that are heading to swallow them whole. We talk about buying way too many books. They're like personality traits for book bloggers and book community members, but we don't really talk about the reality of that. Running the blog for close to three years, it was starting to stare me in the face in the form of heaps and heaps of books. Books everywhere. Shoved onto my tiny bookshelf, stacked on top of it, piled on my nightstand, piled on the floor, and lining my long windowsill. I woke up one morning and decided it felt like the books were slowly creeping in and stealing all the oxygen. So I decided to do something about it. I gathered together all the boxes floating around in the garage from Christmas, threw myself on the floor, and started to make piles of my books.
It was honestly overwhelming to start deciding what I was giving away and what I was keeping. I was both feeling like "EVERYTHING MUST GO" and &quo…

More Than Maybe Review

More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn (May 2020)
Overview: Vada works at a dive bar, scraping together money for college and learning about running from a show her soon to be step-dad to get closer to her future dreams. She also runs the Loud Lizard's successful music blog Behind the Music. Vada is about to head off to LA and start working towards her music journalism dreams, but she has to make it through senior year first. Luke Greenly is the son of famous British punk rocker, Charlie Greenly. The whole family has set down roots in Michigan where his mom works at the university, but remnants of his dad's past life still follow them. Luke loves writing songs but hates performing, and, because of his dad, he's been thrust into the spotlight more than he'd like. For now, he'd rather stick to making successful podcast The Grass Is Greenly with his twin brother, Cullen, and hopelessly pining after Vada through stalking Behind the Music. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Vada is a charact…

Izzy and Tristan Review

Izzy + Tristan by. Shannon Dunlap (324 pages)
Overview: Izzy and Tristan have a love story. When Izzy's family renovates a moves into a new house on a Brooklyn block their lives change. Her twin brother Hull almost immediately gets into a fight, pulling a knife on some neighborhood kids after a gambling chess match goes wrong. Izzy falls for Tristan, the boy who won Hull's match. With Hull away at a rehabilitation center, Izzy and Tristan are free to fall for each other until Marcus decides that he wants to take revenge on Hull by dating his sister. And even when that battle is overcome, police brutality draws a permanent line between the couple. Overall: 2

*Okay, I'm not really sure how to write a spoiler free review of this because the shocker ending is what I take the most issue with. I'll keep it spoiler free in the characters and plot section, but I will talk about the ending in the writing section. I still recommend you read it, even if you plan on reading the boo…

New Release: America Panda

America Panda by Gloria Chao (306 pages)
Overview: Mei is starting MIT a year early, skipping senior year, pushed forward by her parents who always demanded she push herself past extremes. They've also dictated that she's at MIT to become a doctor and that she will marry Eugene. Mei doesn't know how to cope with her parents rigid views and traditions that come from their Chinese culture. She doesn't feel like she can belong anywhere due to the conflicting expectations, and she knows she must sort out her feelings if she ever wants to be happy. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved Mei. I related to her so much. We both need glasses (and don't wear them often), have a thing with avoiding germs, and are graduating early (something I never thought I'd see in a book). Watching Mei struggle between what she wants to do and what her parents want her to do. It's amazing to see how the college experience and the people around her help her sort out her feelings and carry…

New Year, New Blog Goals: Welcome to 2020

Happy late 2020! I meant to make this post a long time ago, but it's taken me a minute to decide exactly what I want to say with this. For most of the blog's history, I've kept a pretty consistent formatting, generally posting Wednesdays and Sundays and sometimes Fridays with YA reviews, discussion posts, and interviews. As I head into the third year of having the blog, I want to adjust this system a bit to better suit where I'm at with my blogging and reading and where your interests are now. Because, most of all, I maintain the blog for you, and I want to make content that you find most exciting.
As I headed into restricting my posting for the blog, I wanted to make sure everyone was involved in the changes so I created tons of polls and questions on both Twitter and Instagram. Those survey results have helped shape my decisions about the blog going forward.
The first change that you may or may not notice is that I'm no longer going to stick to a defined posting…

The Cheerleaders

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (372 pages)
Overview: Five years ago, five cheerleaders on the same high school squad died in three separate incidents, but how separate were they? That's what Monica wants to know. Her sister, Jen, was the last teen to die in the tragedy when she died by suicide, but Monica isn't convinced it was simply survivors guilt at play. She's also not convinced that Jack Canning was truly at fault for two girls murders or that the car accident that took the final two girls was really an accident. With an unlikely friend by her side, Monica sets out to dig up the truth about what really happened to those five girls even if it jeopardizes her own life. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved Monica's voice. Even though it's told in third person, her character really shined through. Despite making some poor choices and putting herself in dangerous situations, she does strive to do what she thinks will bring truth or justice. Ginny, a girl she connects…