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3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,623 Ratings  ·  638 Reviews
"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 unpredic

Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published June 1st 2004)
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Wren (He or They) How disgusting. People who think people's lives are somehow worthless without their own concept of a god. People are atheist, and often times…moreHow disgusting. People who think people's lives are somehow worthless without their own concept of a god. People are atheist, and often times believers act like atheists' lives are somehow less important or meaningful.....why do theists invade spaces and ideas of non believers, when they have their own spaces? Why don't theists sit and think for a moment over why some people may have reservations towards religion? Do people ever stop and question themselves?(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 13, 2015 Melki rated it really liked it
It's easy to create a new religion.

All you need is a god and some disciples.


The hard part is keeping your followers from doing stupid things in the name of religion.
Apr 15, 2011 Joyzi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Skeptics, atheists and those people who once in their life questioned religion
Recommended to Joyzi by: Kwesi 章英狮
I never would have thought that I'll have the chance to read this book, for the reason that I don't even know that this book exist. However, when I once again attended a meet-up by The Filipino Group in Goodreads last April 10 2011, which was also a celebration of the first anniversary of the group, Kwesi and I had the opportunity to swap books.

I have given him the book 1st to Die by James Patterson and he gave this book to me, which I don't have any idea what the book is all about. But judging
Imagine this: On a hot summer day, a 16-year old, rotund boy invites you to join a new religion. The rules are simple: you don't have to wear robes like the cult you see in movies (you don't need to sacrifice virgins too!), it's quite informal and Tuesday is the Sabbath. Your god will be called the Ten-legged One, the town's 207 feet water tower. Will you be one of the converts?

So, Jason Bock is a highly imaginative teenager who can ruin his chance with a girl by criticizing her habit of using '
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

There is a reason that GODLESS won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, and I don't believe it's because author Pete Hautman wrote a book he intended to be satire, as other reviews have suggested. To me, GODLESS is the epitome of everything that is both bad and good about organized religion--it is, in effect, an entreaty to the leaders of religions around the world to look at how blind faith funds their coffers.

Yes, maybe I'm reading more int
Oct 03, 2007 Boyd rated it it was amazing
Pete Hautman has a way of addressing weighty philosophical issues in oblique, readable ways. In Godless, Hautman tackles religion as a group of intelligent teenagers create a cult based on worship of the Ten Legged God, known by non believers as a water tower.

The book doesn't necessarily attack religion, as the main character is actually somewhat envious of the surety with which his father and other Christians cherish their faith. It does, however, provide a critique of fanaticism as well as th
Jun 11, 2008 Jeff rated it liked it
Shelves: rosewater-books
Interesting take on how different people approach faith and religion. As a teacher in a fairly conservative community, I wonder how many parents would truly appreciate the ideas discussed in the story. More than a few, I would guess, would feel threatened that it would give their children ideas contrary to their belief system. Worth reading and discussing, especially in how each character approaches "Chutengodianism" differently.
Shoshana G
Jun 26, 2013 Shoshana G rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
It can be hard to find young adult realistic fiction that isn't about Issues. While I totally understand the import of books on serious topics, sometimes teens are interested in regular kids with regular problems. This book is relatively straightforward: there's nothing supernatural, probably nothing that could trigger something overcoming trauma (except for a short aside about how one character's dead father was physically abusive), and just deals with a regular guy navigating his social circle ...more
Alex Cardiel33
Teenagers and adults some people read and then some people don’t read but for the people that do read i would suggest they read the book Godless and the Author of the book was Pete Hautman, In the book it talks about these kids Henry Stagg, Shin but his real name is Peter Stephen Schinner Jason a lot goes on in the story and the kid in the story named Jason Bock was tired of his parents boring and old religion stuff they tell him and get him too read. So what Jason does is that he gets his frien ...more
Gregory Hyun
Feb 02, 2014 Gregory Hyun rated it it was amazing
Godless by Pete Hautman is an engrossing book that I suggest young adults read. Currently, religion is a very controversial subject which is presented extremely well in this book. It has a thought-provoking theme that revealed the brutal truth of religions in our world. In addition, the theme is very captivating and really gets the reader to contemplate. Its set the intriguing tone of the plot where the protagonist, Jason, decided to make his own "religion" with a few buddies of his. As Jason an ...more
Andrew Hicks
Nov 06, 2014 Andrew Hicks rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Pete Hautman’s got a bunch of books, YA and otherwise. The first one I read was Blank Confession , a crime thriller with a light comic touch - it had that feel of a paperback you take to the beach and read all in one sitting. I enjoyed it. I wanted to read more Pete Hautman. My second title was Godless , which received a National Book Award and was billed as having a more heavy comic touch.

Premise of Godless is this - a bored agnostic kid in a small Midwest town makes up his own religion (
Victoria Mcarthur
Mar 26, 2014 Victoria Mcarthur rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-13-25
"Godless" is about a boy who is struggling with the religious beliefs he believes are forced on him and society. Because of this he starts his own religion, one in which they worship a water tower. Creating it was more of a joke and statement, but his followers soon get carried away. He must try to control them and face the consequences of society for his radical behavior.
The concept of this book was really good. Hautman did good at bringing up an issue that is on a lot of people's minds. The p
Oct 17, 2011 Vpharis rated it liked it
Shelves: yal
I thought that this novel was interesting. Having my own religious preferences, I was at first hesitant when I realized what the book was about. However, having read it, it makes sense that the author appeals to the young adult's natural tendencies to question and challenge the beliefs imposed by others. While I can see some parents questioning the content of this novel, it does a good job of portraying the coming-of-age of a boy misfit. I was intrigued, so I read the author's response to critic ...more
Oct 03, 2009 Emma rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone 12 and up
Wow. It's been awhile since I've been on GoodReads. I wasn't really keeping up with GR since school ended last year... *sweatdrop*
But with the new 7th graders looking eagerly for books they'll enjoy, and in addition to this amazing new book I read, well, I just had to review this one.
Let me start out truthfully. Usually I don't read books with those little golden or silver seals on them. I like discovering new books that no one has read yet, and help make it worthy of a seal. But from the minute
Dec 12, 2010 Karen rated it liked it
I would give this book a 3.5/5*, or possibly even a 4*. This book was 196 pages long and the story was well written.

This is a book about a teenager named Jack, who lives with a mother who is determined to prove that her son is sick. With what, who knows...every time he coughs, sneezes, sleeps too long or drinks too much she is sure that there is something wrong with him and so she has him at the doctor all the time getting tests done. And then there is his father who is a lawyer but also who is
Jul 10, 2009 Ruhama rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
Jason didn’t mean to cause trouble, but when he decides to try creating a new religion, that’s about all he manages to have. Jason wonders why a religion succeeds, and decides to test it with worshipping the Ten-Legged One, or rather, the town’s water tower. He recruits his best
friends to help, and inadvertently recruits a bully and a beautiful girl. This is the start of the trouble, for Henry (the bully) wants all to meet at the top of the tower and swim inside, and it ends with Henry falling o
Kiera Beddes
Mar 18, 2016 Kiera Beddes rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 26, 2009 Meryl rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: religious-or-not people with a decent sense of humor.
Shelves: read-and-loved
The problem with me reading books that I will probably relate to is that I will probably get chided by people because they, too, like me, judge books by their covers. The impression I got from this cover? "Some kid is an atheist and decides to start worshipping watertowers.

And it's amazing that I was right because you din't even have to be psychic.

So as wacky as this book's plot sounded, and despite the fact that my semireligious parents were probably going to scold their nonbeliever daughter fo
Sep 23, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
I usually only read genre fiction (AKA fantasy and mystery), but once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. Part of that was the pacing: I thought the book was pretty well paced overall. The issue of religion also intrigued me. We hear all the time that adolescence is a time of change and that reevaluating religious beliefs can be a major part of that.

It was interesting to me to watch the characters' motivations evolve throughout the story. Jason is curious, Shin is obsessed, Hen
Feb 20, 2014 Autumn rated it it was amazing
The book "Godless" is about a boy that is not satisfied with his Catholic religion, so he created his own. Jason created the religion of the Ten Legged God, or Chutengodism. He got a couple members to join with him. The members were Henry, Dan, Shin, Magda, and of course Jason. One night the kids decided to climb on top of the tower with the help of Henry Stagg. Dan, Shin, Magda, Jason, and Henry managed to get up to the top. Shin couldn't conquer his fear of heights though, so he went home. The ...more
Sep 01, 2014 Swankivy rated it really liked it
Shelves: favoritebooks
This was an honest and irreverent tale of an agnostic kid who decides to start his own religion for kicks. What I really liked about it was that the followers he recruits are all in the joke cult for different reasons (just like real religion) and all practice differently (just like real religion) and some would rather split into their own sect than follow rules the founder sets (just like . . . well, you know). What's also WONDERFUL about this book is that the cult members--"Chutengodians," who ...more
Jul 28, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it
I was so excited when I saw this book on the shelf at the book store. A young adult book dealing with a teen who is questioning his parents religion and saying he has atheist/agnostic viewpoints? Absolutely! As an adult atheist, I strongly believe that teens who are questioning religion need to see themselves represented in literature and those who aren't need to read things that sharpen their critical thinking skills.

The book centers around Jason Bock. He is dissatisfied with his parents relig
Jan 15, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who has an open mind towards listening to other people views on religion.
Shelves: school-readings
This book would go under a drama/religion genre, and the theme is trying to find something to believe in.
Jason (main character) decides he no longer wishes to be Catholic like his parents and decides to create his own religion, Chutengodianism, a.k.a to worship the town's water tower. Along the way he find followers: Shin, his best friend, Dan, the Preacher's son, Henry the bully, and Magda, the some what practical one. Later on their religion begins to grow and soon enough they're able to com
Nov 12, 2009 Charlotte rated it liked it
Jason is a 15-year-old who is dissatisfied with the religion presented to him. While he really is apathetic most of the time, he decides to have some fun and create his own religion, Chutengodianism, a religion that worships the town's local water tower. Jason soon gathers a small group of disciples, and while he's largely goofing off, he watches as the other members take Chutengodianism too far and in different directions. In the process he learns more about himself and more about religion and ...more
Feb 02, 2012 Melinda rated it really liked it
Shelves: award-winner
"Godless," a 2004 National Book Award winner written by Pete Hautman, tells the story of a fateful summer in the life of teenager Jason Bock. Fed up by his parents (a mother who believes any slight illness could mean impending death and a father who is a straitlaced lawyer) and their constant pushing of their Catholic religion, Jason, in a crisis of faith, decides to create his own religion: Chutengodianism. At the root of this new religion is the worship of the "10-Legged-One," which in reality ...more
Jason Kurtz
Dec 10, 2008 Jason Kurtz rated it it was amazing
An excerpt from a paper if mine on Hautman:

In Godless, Pete Hautman used his character Jason Bock to illustrate his philosophy, “[in a book] what you see is somebody's idea of reality.” But sit down with a stack of student journals, and one would notice that dealing with faith and religion, like Hautman does in Godless, is right on the top of many students’ “real issue” lists. Hautman’s novels have teen themesgetting the girl, fitting in, being successful, peer pressurebut he tackles adult iss
Sep 18, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
Wow, I read this book at the recommendation of my 13-year-old grandson, Theo. I was hesitant at first, but then really got into it and read it all this weekend. It is VERY thought provoking. These things tend to strengthen MY faith, but I can see where it might cause some people to stumble. But it is good to question our faith and then find our own answers. Worshipping a Water Tower allows the importance of WATER to become so real to us. Here is what I learned in the past about water: All of lif ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Lena rated it really liked it
This book was very clever and thought-provoking without ever crossing over into that territory where I feel like an author is patting himself on the back the whole time he's writing, thinking "I'm SOOO smart to think of this." No, Godless is smart and funny without being arrogant. I enjoyed reading it very much, and it's a book I will recommend to readers as well as writers as being an example of great writing. The author does an amazing job at showing (rather than telling) everything from the c ...more
Nov 22, 2009 Keythe rated it really liked it
In reading "Godless," I see an aspect of adolescence that is not often considered: that of religion. The main character, Jason Bock, does not know if he is Agnostic or Atheist, but he does know that he does not share his father's religious belief. Jason then decides to create his own religion, and uses the town water tower to represent his new God. Told from a first person perspective, "Godless" explores teens and religion without praising one over the other, or putting any religion down. I admi ...more
Rebecca Heywood
Apr 24, 2016 Rebecca Heywood rated it really liked it
Very interesting book about a boy who is tired of religion being forced on him, so he starts his own religion about a water tower. He does it as a joke, as a statement, but one friend ends up getting hurt, one takes things too far and becomes a fanatic about it and ends up in the insane asylum, another takes it to the other extreme and ends up in jail. In the end, his thought process is correct. Any religion is correct according to the faith of its worshippers. "you can believe in something if y ...more
Luis Munoz
This book is hilarious and despite my best effort by the time I finished it I found more things funny than anything else even though I know there's a lot of other thing I could feel about it which I do it’s just what I found funny outweighed everything else. There is conflict within me considering the fact that a guy got hit in the head with crutches and other tidbits of violence throughout the book that made me cringe but still there was plenty to laugh about that made reading the violence that ...more
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Pete Hautman is the author of Godless, which won the National Book Award, and many other critically acclaimed books for teens and adults, including Blank Confession, All-In, Rash, No Limit, and Invisible. Mr. Was was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Pete lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visit him at
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“You ever watch a football game and get totally into it? Why? It's not a real battle. It's just a game somebody made up. So how can you take it seriously? Or, you ever see a movie that made your heart about jump out of your chest? Or one that made you cry? Why? It wasn't real. You ever look at a photo of food that made your mouth water? Why? You can't eat the picture.

. . . . .

Same thing with water towers and God. I don't have to be a believer to be serious about my religion.”
“Dan is my ordinary friend. Everybody should have at least one ordinary friend and Dan is as ordinary as they come. He is so ordinary that most people have to meet him six or seven times before they remember his name.” 3 likes
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