Well it finally happened. The world ended. It didn't happen the way anyone expected it would. No nukes, no pandemics, just a whole lot of rage and a whole lot of violence. None of us saw it coming. There were plenty of clues, but none of us figured it out in time. The real kicker is, I'm pretty sure someone planned it. I'm pretty sure someone did it on purpose.
I'm Holden. I survived. You won't like my story. That's too bad, because your world's headed the same way as mine. Everything that happened to me, is going to happen to you. The same kind of people that did this to me, will do it to you. They're doing it right now. They're making it worse and you don't even see it. Sure, I could help you. I could give it a try, but you won't listen. I'm not the same religion. I'm not the same as you. I'm a different kind than you, so you won't listen. That's why it'll happen to you. Don't say I didn't warn you. Don't say you didn't have a clue. Not when all you had to do was listen.
Heathens is a young adult post apocalyptic science fiction novel. Heathens contains some coarse language and violence.
Can One Angry Boy Save the World?
Here's What Readers Are Saying about Heathens:
- "Wow, this author can write!"
- "I could NOT stop reading."
- "Hands-down one of the best books of 2017"
- "Exceptionally deep and well-written"
- "Great heart"
- "Extremely moving"
- "This is what a post apocalyptic story should be!"
- "I cannot state highly enough how beautiful and scarily gripping this book is."
- "If I could, I'd give this book more than 5 stars."
- "Everyone should read this book- Everyone!"
- "The Sort of Book That Should Win Awards"
- "Highly recommended"
I didn't know what to expect from this book at first, but in the end, it really made me think about how our society functions. I felt the characters hate and loss and, in the end, realization of what was really happening. I enjoyed this book, and recommend this book.
It is hard enough to imagine a world degenerating before your eyes, but Holden's special ability to “push” made anyone like him outcast from society. It was terrible how children were abandoned by their parents just because they were different. Holden was lucky when he found a home with people who were their to help him find his way. As the modern conveniences like electricity and water slowly eroded, the struggle for resources became paramount as people banded together to survive. Experiencing all the stress, danger and loss through Holden allowed the reader to truly understand the emotional trauma he and others dwelt with as their world collapsed. Add to the being hunted by a religious group who saw their abilities as evil and the government who would do anything to get rid of them showing what could happen if people allow fear to override their humanity.
Wow, this author can write!
Heathens is an exceptionally deep and well-written tale about the journey of a young man, Holden, as he struggles to cope with rage and thoughts of revenge in a near-future dystopia where extremists have taken over America and killed, enslaved or outcast all GLBTQ people. An additional twist is that these GLBTQ people have also developed psychic talents, each one different, and that is the catalyst that causes fear and anger to disrupt into outright war against them as "demons".
Holden is an extremely likable character and I empathized with him right away. He tells his dark story in his own fluid and beautiful way, and his thoughts run deep. This gives the novel a power and emotional depth that gripped me from page one.
What I love about this book the most is the characters. None of them, even the minor ones, feel cliche to me, and I commend the author for giving them all their own sense of reality. I also loved richness in Holden's mind, his vivid attention to detail and how those observations flowed seamlessly, never getting bogged down, always moving forward. The prose in this is superb.
Lest you think this book might be about only oppression, anger and revenge, it is also about love. Though this is not a romance, Holden does find love, and for him it becomes a healing force he desperately needs even if he and his lover, Angel, do not always see eye to eye.
I cannot state highly enough how beautiful and scarily gripping this book is. It has what it takes to make itself a classic in gay lit. I hope people will find it and read it and savor its insights, its fearless ability to delve into the differing ways people deal with oppression, hurt and anger. And it has such great heart. It is an extremely moving read. Highly recommended.
If I could, I'd give this book more than 5 stars. This story is so deep, and feels so true. These events could happen now - tomorrow - and everyone should read this book- Everyone. Sadly, those that need to read it most, won't. That's too bad because we need more love and understanding and and finding ways to get along despite our differences and we need it NOW. We should all live 4140. That's the most important thing. I have to say that the first few paragraphs were odd for me, as this story is mostly told in the past perfect tense, and the narrator is speaking to 'YOU' much of the book, but once I got past the first page, I could NOT stop reading. I quickly got used to the style and it was well worth it. So, read this book. Everyone.
This is hands-down one of the best books of 2017. As promised, this story is an intense and challenging read. What makes it so compelling is that it it reflects the idea that the world will end with a whisper and not a bang. Holden, the first-person narrator, tells us that no one can say what started it, only what happened. If one event tips just the wrong way, this is the future we will have to endure.
Holden is a terrific storyteller. He’s flawed, but he’s self-aware because he’s relating his tale with the advantage of reflection. He often laments that things would’ve been different if only he (or someone else) had known what was coming. We see his self-discovery and the way in which his mistakes ultimately empower him and those who choose loyalty to him.
The majority of the book is the frighteningly accurate potential the U.S. has to become ground zero for a world ruled by violence and division. There is a lot of descriptive violence and death throughout the story, but no explicit sex. What strikes me as utterly brilliant about that is how well it fits with the themes. We are comfortable and desensitized to the brutal killings but we become uncomfortable with what Holden calls “what you do in the dark” (in a beautifully tender scene). The story reflects this strange view of what makes us uncomfortable. Rather than undermining it by glossing over the violence and explicitly detailing the intimacy, it’s an in-your-face overt contrast.
In the midst of the post-apocalyptic chaos is the idea that some people appear to have extra abilities. It isn’t quite clear whether these powers are exclusive to LGBT+ people or whether all LGBT+ people of a certain age possess them. Either way, they are the tool of survival for Holden and what he calls “our kind.” Their origin is never entirely explained, and even the characters themselves don’t agree on how they arose.
There is a wide range of characters, none of whom use specific markers to describe who they are. However, they are easily identifiable by how they are shown on the page. Gone are the usual stereotypes, replaced by Holden’s remarkable ability to really see people for what’s inside. There’s no relying on caricatures in order to tell a compelling tale, only sensitivity and care for all “our kind.”
Holden’s story embraces complex themes about power, violence, death, identity, forgiveness, and love. Ultimately, there is a glimmer of hope as Holden discovers what he was meant to do. Because of the violence, I recommend this ideally for older teens. However, I think this should be required reading, given our current politics. If we are not careful, this vision of the future may become reality.
For exceptional writing, complex themes, and an ending that left me in tears, this gets 10/10 fountain pens.
I've just finished "Heathens," and I can't say enough good about it. It puts into narrative the fear that I think many of us have about the world as it seems to be unfolding, and it points again and again to our need to see through the fear we are experiencing to those who are mongering said fear. I don't often find myself highlighting in sci-fi books. In this book, though, I found myself wanting to note incredible insights. In fact, I will likely be quoting the book in the message I offer this Sunday in my work as a pastor. This is a worthwhile read for anyone who has ever been Othered or who is actively Othering people right now. We have to find a better way.
A Fascinating and Suspenseful Read!
I'm a huge fan of YA but not a huge fan of sci-fi, but when Jonah Bergan is the writer, I'll read it. I truly loved his book Off-World and very much was looking forward to Heathens. The synopsis itself, when presented to me, started off with the line, "Can one very angry boy save the world?" And that grip stays with you through the whole book.
Heathens is a post-apocalyptic story. The world is in shambles, there's power at play here, everything isn't how it seems, and there are so many questions with so little answers. At least that's how you feel until everything shows it's colors. A lot of elements are used in this story and each one is important to discovering how to save the world. What is 4140? Supposedly, it will save us all! Now, I've read many books and seen many movies and when I see the world destroyed like you do in this book you can't help but wonder how one can save what is already dead. You'll see....
I thought it was damned amazing how you wrote such a sad dystopia and actually managed a hopeful ending and your mc finding love. The writing itself (your style) was poetic and readable at the same time, really pulled me in because I am a fan of words and craft (not a typical reader) and I notice stuff like that.