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Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  393 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
“Stan,” I said, and I said it kind of loud so of course he had to look up. “Tomorrow morning: 8:37. The red van with the out-of-state plates? You go head to head. You lose. You die.” After freakishly foretelling the death of a friend, Luke Hunter becomes big news in Stokum, his rank little pinprick of a hometown. Terrified, but pretending not to be, Luke holds everyone—the ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Viking (first published April 30th 2007)
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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

As I mentioned here at the website last week, there are sadly a number of issues from my daytime life that are keeping me these days from penning the usual thousand-word book reviews I normally post here every day or two; one of those issues, for example, is that I've recently gotten involved with a n
Carolyn Gerk
Dec 11, 2011 Carolyn Gerk rated it it was ok
*mild spoilers*
Much like its teenage characters, who, like most young adults, seem to think the world stops for them, this one bit off more than it could chew, trying to be a tad more impactful than it had the chops to back up.
Centering on the story of Luke, who somehow accidentally predicts the future and the death of his friend Stan, Anthem is a fairly realistic (at times) portrayal of a stoner teen with admittedly atypical teenage drama. Though the story of Luke's premonitions is the one to
Aug 08, 2012 Sheila rated it it was amazing
I sincerely hope that Ms. Proulx keeps writing because she has such a wonderful talent for creating rich characters that lift you up and take you along on their journey - if only for a couple-hundred pages. The issues dealt with; God, religion, teen angst, love and loss are tough on any author but Joanne Proulx carries it off like a pro! I was left feeling a kinship with my fellow man and a renewed faith that divine grace is carried within each of our hearts - not behind the walls of a church. D ...more
Mar 10, 2010 Tobes rated it it was ok
The experience of reading Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet is much like taking a roller coaster with endless elevation.
The takeoff is particularly mind-blowing: with Luke casting his ultra-authentic death prophecy and his friend Stan almost instantly becoming his victim, the novel seizes my heart in a blitzkrieg.
And there’s more to come. As the coaster rumbles ahead, Fang, Luke’s buddy of life along with Faith Taylor, his dream girl hops on the coaster and joins the adventure. Faith’s blonde hair
Jun 30, 2008 Janice rated it did not like it
i really wanted this to be good. i really did. and now i wonder why. why did i want it to be good? because it had a cool cover? because it had a sufficiently creepy premise? probably the cover.

what i found, instead of a good book, was overdone teenage macho crafted by a woman of indeterminate age who apparently thinks all 17-year old boys are assholes who will listen to anything.

is it authentic to talk constantly about tits and dope and offer no redeeming character at all? it may be, but i lived
September Rea
Aug 21, 2008 September Rea rated it it was ok
The style of writing is amusing, just as a stoner teenage boy from the Midwest would talk. But the references to music (the Anthem if you will) that repeatedly appear in the book are poor. I really find it distracting and poor writing when authors resort to identifying popular bands (i.e., White Stripes and the Red Hot Chili Peppers) in their writing. There is something automatically limited in such references. The book will never be timeless or classic or appealing to readers of the future. Tha ...more
Oct 27, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A boy who learns he has a psychic gift...but he isn't really psychic and it really isn't a gift
Jun 18, 2013 Geordane rated it it was amazing
You’d think that being able to see the future would be quite exciting—who wouldn’t want a glimpse of events that were yet to happen, to be able to avoid disasters, or plan your approach towards a certain turning point in your life? However, when you think about it, it would just be really depressing to be able to, especially if the only future you’re tuned into is death.

Indeed, depression is where Luke Hunter, our title character, spirals into after he predicts the death of a good friend of his,
Oct 25, 2010 Reicolee rated it liked it
“’Stan,’ I said, and I said it kind of loud so of course he had to look up. ‘Tomorrow morning: 8:37. The red van with the out-of-state plates? You go head to head. You lose. You die.’” (Proulx, 5) Bingo! Stan is hit by a red van at 8:37 in the morning on his way to school; the day after Luke Hunter prophesies Stan’s death while doing drugs at Delaney’s basement.
After reading “Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet” a coming-of-age novel written by Joanne Proulx, meet the protagonist, Luke Hunter, a dea
Kathy Davie
Sep 29, 2011 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, urban
The Story
While hanging with friends, Luke suddenly turns into "Chatty Cathy" and predicts the death of one of their group. He only thinks he's making it up.

What follows is a persecution of Luke by news media, people in town who recognize him, and religious nuts who believe he is stained by Satan. Even his friends betray him somewhat when they consent to media interviews. Retreating into himself, rejecting his parents' efforts, it takes months for Luke to come to terms with truth.

A truth he comes
Nov 30, 2009 Lovealice added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenagers
Recommended to Lovealice by: Librarian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jodi Mae
Oct 23, 2008 Jodi Mae rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teens, my mother
Recommended to Jodi Mae by: originally reviewed for SLJ
PROULX, Joanne Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet 368p. Soho Apr. 2008. pap. $14. ISBN 978-1-56947-487-7. LC 2007037538.

Adult/High School-“Stan….Tomorrow morning. Eight thirty-seven” is teen protagonist Luke Hunter’s stoned premonition of someone’s death. He jokingly shares it with his gang of “basement dwellers” gathered for “bad dope, bad company and even worse music” in bland, middle-class suburban Stokum. But when Stan dies the next day, exactly as predicted, life veers wildly off track for Luke,
Mar 09, 2010 Matthew rated it really liked it
Joanne Proulx is clearly able to capture a young male’s life in Stokum, Michigan with humour, creativity, reality as well imagination. As a review I will admit that I am not one who is a consistent reader, but when reading Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet it was able to create a beautiful setting that captured me. The protagonist in this novel is a teenage boy named Luke who is somewhat lazy, undetermined and no real future goals. The story really changes when the main character Luke is smoking wee ...more
Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet is a colorful peek into current teenage life. It is the story of Luke, an average sixteen year old pothead who foretells the death of close friend. This breeds the beginning of a series of such experiences. I saw the entire thing as a figurative tale about adulthood and the difficult pass through puberty for teenagers, it depicts the tale of the way we all suddenly understand these profound new truths about our world during those confusing teen years, confusing and ...more
Nov 02, 2009 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet” is a novel which explores the life of a troubled teenager, Luke Hunter. The interesting part of this book is that it involves paranormal activities which Luke is the prophet of death. The themes that keep on reappearing are parapsychology and psychology. This book involves a teenager whose world collided with the paranormal plane, and his adventure of introspection.

The behavior of Luke Hunter isn’t what most people consider to be normal. For instance, “Looking f
Oct 25, 2010 Azlaz rated it really liked it
"Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet" is a very interesting piece of literature. It is set in a small town by the name of Stokum. The teenaged protagonist, Luke Hunter, is your average, everyday seventeen year old stoner. One day, Luke was just doing some pot with his friends and then suddenly Luke decides to tell a made-up death prophecy of his frAiend Stan Miller. Incidently, Stan dies the exact way as Luke had described it and has been labeled as "the Death Prophet". Luke will find himself facing ...more
Luke’s life was all about drugs, music, and hanging out in his friend Fang’s basement. Life was one big joke. But the first time IT happened it changed his life. Luke and some of his friends were hanging out in Fang’s basement when Luke told them “one of us is going to bite it on the way to school tomorrow, get creamed by a van and be dead before they know what hit him.” He even gave the licence plate number of the van. When he said it was going to be Stan (the golden boy) nobody believed him. T ...more
Feb 09, 2014 Merrikay rated it it was amazing

Proulx is a Canadian author who has created one of my all time favorite  characters.  Luke is stunned and almost completely knocked out when he experiences a premonition that one of his friends is going to die.  When the premonition comes true, his life becomes a nightmare surrounded by media and freaked out friends.  Although the book cover said nothing about paranormal happenings, some reviews have tagged it so.  I found that to be misleading.  This is an amazing piece of writing describing in
William Graney
Aug 02, 2010 William Graney rated it liked it
I'm between "liked it" and "really liked it" so probably 3.5 stars is more accurate. The storyline was interesting and the set up was good but I thought the follow through was a little weak. There were times throughout the story when it seemed the perspective was from Luke the stoner teen and other times when the perspective was from an older, wiser, more philosophical Luke. It also seemed to me that Luke's gift of prophecy formed the early basis of the novel and then was abandoned somewhere alo ...more
Jun 10, 2016 Ari rated it it was amazing
"Supercool - I dig it"

This is one of the favourites that I have read this year. A teenager, at an age which all that concerns him should be girl and fun (or avoiding school), he was forced to deal with the taste of death when one day he acquired involuntary premonition and empathetic feelings for people dying around him. Joanne Proulx has amazingly mastered the voice of a "modern" teenager; how real it was to feel the character talking directly to me in his (or meaning Proulx - her) element. Hil
Jul 26, 2011 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-awesome
I read this in one sitting it was so hard to put down. It is beautifully paced, and decorated with realistic characters. The terrified, angry, and witty protagonist narrates with heart and self-deprecating humour. The teens in this book deal with issues beyond their emotional abilities and Luke guides us through them with momments of instinctive clarity, and chapters of self-obsessed blindness to those around him. I was brought to tears as Luke stumbled his way through the terror of what he expe ...more
Mar 26, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoyed Russell Bank's Rule of the Bone
Shelves: adult-books
A self-described "loser" skate punk begins to ponder the meaning of life after he correctly predicts the day, time, and method of his best friend's untimely demise. Hailed as "the prophet of death" by the media and hounded by the local minister to come to Jesus, seventeen year old Luke nearly self-destructs under the intense public scrutiny--until he finally finds something worth living for. This debut novel by Canadian talent Proulx contains spot-on teen speak and well-drawn relationships. Even ...more
May 24, 2013 Maan rated it it was ok
Book #20 for 2013: Because I needed a P for my A-Z Challenge, I grabbed this from one of Booksale's shelves.

Truth be told, I judged this book by its cover (Hoodie? Angel wings? Sold!) and there's no shame in that. This story's told in the tone and perspective of a teenager who is coming to grips as their town's resident prophet after predicting the death of one of his friends down to the last detail. I did not hate it. I did not love it, either. Maybe the younger version of me would've liked th
Chris Notionless
Nov 16, 2014 Chris Notionless rated it really liked it
Great voice and writing style! It's darkly comic and cynical as told by a self-proclaimed loser teenager himself. Parts were just so sarcastic and funny; really enjoyed it. The main character randomly, yet completely accurately, predicts the death of his friend. The subsequent story follows the whirlwind life of this teenager handling this sort of thing in rural 1990's America. This coming of age story was a fast and easy read, but got a little long winded at times to be as impactful as the auth ...more
Mar 31, 2009 Vicky rated it it was amazing
First, thank you, Mariane, for suggesting this book for me. I would not pick it up myself. Here is another reminder that the YA books are often a great literature, even if this specific book had been catalogued in our library as a Fiction, not as YA. I gave it to my son and he liked it. This book is great. Here is a story of a troubled youth, big questions of life and death, friendship, families and first love.
Feb 11, 2009 Don rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough book to rate since it is a little rough (both language and content - the dark side of today's teenage environment) and has a somewhat typical anti-Christian bias. But if you can get through that and want some serious insight into today's teenage angst, I can quite highly recommend it. The story is well crafted and hilarious at times - it had me hooked. Ending is a little weak but overall a "good read."
Donna Burtwistle-Popplewell
An intense novel that sees a young highschooler suddenly able (but not intentionally) to predict deaths. When his friend and neighbour both die, he is thrust into the spotlight. Issues of God, religious communities and friendship play a deep role here. The dialogue is definitely "grown up" with numerous references to drug use, sex and swearing. Nonetheless, I would recommend it to thsose readers who wish to engage is a unique story that doesn't hold back.
Sep 15, 2007 Ariel rated it it was amazing
Written from the point of view of a loser teenage stoner who predicts his friend's death and suddenly is the Death Prophet of a backwater town in Michigan in 2003.

I really liked this book. Profanity, slang, disgruntled teen apathy and hostility, as well as a brush of high school politics give it a bitter edge. It's funny in parts, but mostly I liked how bleak it was, especially towards the end. I almost cried at several parts.
Aug 15, 2008 Alnora1227 rated it it was amazing
There are no words for how much I love this book. Luke is the greaatest protagonist: real and wiseass and flawed and vulnerable. He deals with his unexpected and troubling gift like every!Teen and does a lot of soul searching, growling at the moon, and falling in lust before finding himself again.

Fantastic book for everyone that likes their heroes a little tarnished but with a heart of gold.
Jun 10, 2008 Youngadultlibrarian rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kids just graduating high school or in their first few years of college
A true sounding story of a teenage boy with some untrue sounding powers. He's 17 and just like any other 17-year-old Luke feels like he's nobody going nowhere. While acting out that role, he is ravaged by images of death so gripping it makes Luke sick and alienated from those still alive. He finds out his visions are real as he loses people around him. Can Luke change the course of events or is he only a silent witness of the dying song of so many?
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