Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry. Unabridged downloaded audiobook. Read by Michael Crouch. 9 hours, 4 minutes. HarperAudio, August, 2018. (Review from downloadable audiobook borrowed from public library.)

Michael's father has broken his promise and he is furious. His rather emotionally distant father has a penchant for moving the family whenever there is a possibility of a raise or a promotion. He had promised there wouldn't be a move until Michael finished high school. Now, Michael, a devout atheist  finds himself, not only moving, but attending a Catholic high school. He's not into the school uniform, his stern principal, his teachers, most of whom are nuns or his classmates, many of whom come off as pious and judgmental He fears he is destined to sit alone at lunch until he hears Lucy engage Sister in a discourse about saints, feminism, and religious patriarchy. Intrigued and hoping to have found someone to sit with, Michael rather creepily follows Lucy until she turns and confronts him. Reluctantly, she invites him to sit together at lunch where she introduces him to her bestie, Avi, who is Jewish. Eventually, he is inducted into Heretics Anonymous, a secret society. The other two members are Max, a Korean American who is a bit obsessed with capes and may be autistic and Eden, a Wiccan. Has Michael found his people?

Boy, do I love a smart novel dealing with religion and belief! This debut is impressive from its catchy title, irresistible cover somewhat evocative of "grilled cheesus" from the second season of Glee, to the voice of its narrator, Michael. Michael's bitterness is palpable and understandable. While he's a bit self-absorbed, he's also inquisitive and intelligent. Every character is interesting, including the zealously devout, his father and his teachers. They are not one-dimensional cardboard figures. 

Fave narrator, Michael Crouch turns in another great performance. I've listened to enough audiobooks narrated by him to amend my early impression that he is a chameleon. That said, he sounds appropriately youthful, imbues his character, Michael with humor and paces his narrations well. 

Heretics Anonymous is so appealing. Hand to your thoughtful teens who enjoy laughing and want a smart romance. I am eager to read more from Katie Henry and hope the Morris Committee is reading.

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