Godless by Pete Hautman
(National Book Award for Young People's Literature (Awards))

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Synopsis

"Why mess around with Catholicism when you can have your own customized religion?"
Fed up with his parents' boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god -- the town's water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting -- and dangerous.
When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.
 

About Pete Hautman

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Pete Hautman is the author of many books for young adults and adults, including the National Book Award winner Godless and The Big Crunch, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award. About The Cydonian Pyramid, he says, "I could never resist a tough, spunky, conflicted heroine. Following Lahlia through the diskos was an incredible journey. She still scares me a little." Pete Hautman splits his time between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
 
Published June 23, 2008 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 215 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Religion & Spirituality, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Godless

Kirkus Reviews

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Agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason’s mother is a hypochondriac, his father is religious, and best friend Shin is a snail-collecting freak.

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Publishers Weekly

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PW called this novel, in which a rebellious high schooler starts his own church, the Chutengodians, who worship the "Ten-legged God" their town's water tower, "provocative."

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BC Books

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A novel aimed at tweens and young teens allows anyone to fairly consider the issues involved in challenges to and rebellions against faith and religion.

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BC Books

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Godless actually allows young adults — or anyone — to think about such issues without advocating any one position and in a context relatively unhindered by the ardor or emotions that tend to accompany most discussions of this sort if a particular religion or faith is involved.

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BC Books

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For example, Jason's attraction to pretty Magda Price leads him to name her High Priestess and bully Henry Stagg becomes High Priest because he knows how to climb to the top of the water tower.

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Flamingnet

However, as it progressed it got stranger and stranger, until I found my self thinking it was more of a fantasy book than a coming of age book.

May 21 2005 | Read Full Review of Godless (National Book Award ...

Reader Rating for Godless
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