Review Detail

FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 3288
Underrepresented "Religious" Group!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Michael is angry enough at his parents that they have moved him and his sister yet again for his father's job as he goes into his junior year, but to enroll him in a Catholic school, no matter how good, makes him even angrier. He's an agnostic, and prepared to have a miserable time. Luckily, on the very first day he hears Lucy arguing with the teacher about religious points and thinks he has a soul mate. He does, in a way-- Lucy identifies herself as a heretic, in that her beliefs aren't quite sanctioned by the church, but she is very much a believer. She has a small group of other students who don't necessarily toe the line in plain black shoes, and they all decide that it's time to make their opinions known. They manage to do some underhanded but well thought out pranks, like changing the sex ed/abstinence video, but things get serious when the Latin teacher loses her job when her same-sex marriage comes to the attention of the school. Michael and Lucy start to date, and Michael's issues with his family situation also reach a tipping point.
Good Points
This is funny, timely, and explores a very little covered area of teen life. I spent a LOT of time involved with my church group in middle school and high school, and even more time thinking about what I believed and what I didn't. This comes up very rarely in literature, and this book covers not only Catholicism and agnosticism, but a couple of other, more exotic beliefs as well. The romance with Lucy is great, and the issues with Michael's family are realistically poignant. The cover is absolutely fantastic!

Ms. Henry is clearly a far, far better human being than I am! I have been an atheist since confirmation class, and of all the people who have been flat-out mean to me in my life, religious people have been the absolute meanest. Ms. Henry gets ENORMOUS bonus points for not only really understanding and describing Michael's beliefs, but for describing and being kind about ALL of the different beliefs she portrays. It's an incredibly difficult thing to do, and she pulls it off with a great deal of good humor as well!

Drinking and allusions to sexual behavior, while mild, make this more of a YA title more appropriate for high school, but I would love something similar for middle school students.
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