GODLESS by Pete Hautman
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 14 & up
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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. Bored in his parent-mandated Catholic teen group, Jason creates Chutengodianism: the Church of the Ten-legged God, worshipers of the town water tower. Jason is Founder and Head Kahuna of his joke religion, Shin is First Keeper of the Sacred Text, and friends Dan and Magda are recruited as disciples. Amusing at first, their mini-cult goes sour when Jason invites thuggish Henry—who knows how to climb the water tower—to join the Chutengodians. Shin sulks, and Henry leads a dangerous midnight swim in the water tower that results in injury, police discovery, and punishment. Now Jason is grounded for life, Dan and Magda won’t speak to him, and Henry and his bullying cohorts have co-opted Chutengodianism and made it crass. Worse, Shin seems dangerously unhinged—is he taking Chutengodianism seriously? Jason’s explorations of faith, belief, and religion, told in a compelling and imaginative voice, will leave him a solitary, ostracized prophet. Thought-provoking and unique. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-86278-4
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2004


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