Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry (DRC): A Divine Comedy–What More Needs To Be Said?

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4 stars

Michael is an atheist. And attending a Catholic school is basically his worst nightmare, and one that’s coming true after his dad made the family move again. Michael needs to find friends all over again, and 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 Michael is introduced 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 thinks the Heretics should go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies, but when he 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.

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This is a case of “it’s not you; it’s me.”

Because as well-written and awesome this book was, I didn’t completely click with it and fall into deep, passionate, bookish love with it.

It was good though–well written, relatable, interesting, and sprinkled with comedy and coming of age through the pages. Katie Henry is definitely a great writer and I’ll be keeping an eye on her future works after this.

I just feel like I didn’t completely click with this, and that could be because I’m just not a religious person and am apathetic to religion, and/or because I didn’t click with the main character, Michael.

It’s not like you have to know about religion to read this book, but I just didn’t really relate to the subject matter. And I think other people in my situation definitely could enjoy the book, even if they weren’t religious, but I wasn’t that invested in exposing some of the flaws within this Catholic school.

I think Michael was a decent narrator, but for me I didn’t really connect (I also forgot his name was Michael until I read the summary, because first person). It could be because this book is told from a male first-person point of view, making it harder for me to connect with Michael’s character, or it could be because I didn’t really relate to any of his struggles.

I’m pretty apathetic to Catholicism and Michael is super privileged (and white) but has “dad issues” so his struggles ended up not really hitting the mark for my personal perspective (apathetic-to-religion Asian teen girl).

I probably would have liked this book a lot more if it was told from the point of view of Lucy–the love interest and devout Catholic, although one with a different interpretation than her Catholic school’s. She was more interesting to me and her struggles felt more relatable.

I felt like Lucy and all the other side characters were well developed and had the right amount of involvement in the narrative–as well as this novel having a good increasing of intensity as the novel wore on.

Plus, this is one of those books that felt like it was actually resolved well! I was surprised but satisfied with where the book ended, which is a rarity for me.

In the end, one of my personal problems was that it just didn’t end up being as comedic as I wanted it to be. It’s more like situational irony with all these misfits going to a Catholic school rather than the dry, quippy thing I was expecting. It was more like “hahaha these atheist/gay/Jewish/Celtic Polytheistic/non-Catholic teens are going to a Catholic school! crazy” rather than actively jibing at things.

And there’s nothing wrong with this type of humor, I just felt a little bit cheated out of what could have been.

I feel like Katie Henry really knows what she’s talking about, especially with the historical facts and interpretations scattered throughout the novel. (Although I can’t guarantee any accuracy other than she sounds believable when she writes this.)

This is a good book and it’s well written and well paced and well done–just not really my style. I didn’t have a heinous time reading, but I just wasn’t passionate about this. I feel like for any other reader, this could easily be a 5 star read, so if the summary appeals to you, I say check it out. It just didn’t click with me.

Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

much love, vicky

Are you excited for Heretics Anonymous? What do you think of the summary?

7 thoughts on “Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry (DRC): A Divine Comedy–What More Needs To Be Said?

  1. I’m reading Heretics Anonymous right now! I’m really enjoying it so far and I like the author’s sense of humor. To be fair though, I was raised Catholic but I now disagree with some of the things the Catholic Church believes in. So I understand a lot of the references to the history/background, but I also relate to Michael and Lucy and their problems with certain aspects of the religion. I definitely think people without a similar background could still enjoy this book, but I do think that I’m able to relate to the subject matter on an extra level. Lovely review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I definitely didn’t get a lot of the background. It just didn’t click and nothing was actively funny to me, which wasn’t what I was expecting. I’m so glad you’re enjoying this though! It really is wonderfully written and tackles a really great topic.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay..I’ve been hearing a lot of this book and tbh this is the first time I read the synopsis and a review about it. I trust you on this one so I think I have to put it a little further on my priority/must buy read.😅 But I’ll definitely would like to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Idk, I feel like if you’re more familiar with Catholicism you might understand the humor more? even if you’re not Catholic you could still enjoy this, but it just didn’t really cut it with its humor for me. I hope you enjoy when you read, though!

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  3. Honestly, the summary of Heretics Anonymous doesn’t appeal to me that much, so I won’t be picking it up. Having Michael as the MC seems like a weird choice since Michael seems to be more privileged that Lucy, Avi, or another secondary character. I hope you loved your next book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think that if the summary doesn’t appeal to you, the book probably won’t either. I liked the summary, but the book’s humor kinda fell flat even then. (and I did love my next book! thanks for that!)

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