The Fictional Religions of Teen Fiction

Move over Chutengodianism.  It’s time to make room in the world of made-up religions of teen fiction for Bluedaism.

Pete Hautman started the trend (are two books a trend? We’ll say yes.) with Godless in 2004, which won the National Book Award for Young People.  His satirical story was filled with critiques on religion with some over-the-top moments that kept the pages turning.  It’s a pretty fun read for those who find this sort of thing amsuing.  Not as fun for those who don’t.

In Sparks by S.J. Adams, Bluedaism doesn’t seem to be about critiquing religion so much as understanding what religion does for people.  For Debbie, religion has always been a way of staying close to her best friend.  She has been pretending to be a believer for years just top stay close to Lisa.  In an even more complicated twist, Debbie is secretly in love with Lisa.  Lisa, of course, believes homosexuality is a sin.  What sounds melodramatic (well, okay… it probably is a little melodramatic, but stick with me) is actually pretty funny no matter what you believe.

Where does Bluedaism come in? Debbie finds herself on a Holy Quest with a couple of new friends she met in detention who charge her $5 for membership to the Church of Blue (They are not a cult. They swear.) Bluedaism might be a wacky made-up religion. but Emma and Tom say it’s helped them give up bad habits and live better lives.  Eventually, we learn that things aren’t quite what they seem with Emma and Tom–not in a teen-fiction-is-dark-and-depressing sort of way. More like why-isn’t-this-a-teen-rom-com-flick-yet?  Well, I suppose it hasn’t been out for long.  There’s time yet. Incidentally, that is exactly what Debbie learns about religion in the book.  No need to have everything figured out right now.  Time will tell.

If Chutengodianism is the Flying Spaghetti Monster of teen fiction, where does Bluedaism fit in?  I’m not sure, but it’s good to have options. :)


More about science and religion on my Secular Thursday page.

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Author: Mindy R

I'm a librarian, writer, book reviewer, etc.

2 thoughts on “The Fictional Religions of Teen Fiction”

  1. I think everyone pretty much makes up their own religion anyway – everyone decides whether it’s God saying they should eat chicken for dinner or if they just feel like chicken tonight (like chicken tonight). Being open and honest about making it up probably makes you less likely to be a jerk about it. – SJ

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