My New Book is Now Available! Introducing The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide

Last year, I began outlining a book that talked about the unique struggles of high school atheists. We hear so much about college groups and what they deal with, but only rarely do we hear about high school atheists and the obstacles they face: Coming out to your parents, dealing with religious administrators, overcoming the fear of isolation, trying to start an atheist group at school, taking those courage first steps away from your parents’ faith…

I wrote the bulk of the book over the summer, after talking to dozens of students, faculty members, and atheists who work to support them.

I’m excited to announce that the finished product, The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide, is finally available for purchase :)

This book isn’t just for high school atheists. It’s also for everyone who wants to help them — and for those who just want to know what kind of difficulties those students face.

Currently, the book is only available for Kindle. The dead tree edition will be out in a week and the audiobook version should be out before the end of the year. (Your relatives told me this is what they want for Christmas so you should make them happy.)

As for the price, it’s $2.99… but only for a limited time. The price will go up shortly, so buy it now!

In case you need some encouragement to buy it, here’s what some familiar voices are saying about it:

“A paean to young atheist heroes, sung and unsung, combined with a common sense guide to organizing in your local area, The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide is the perfect handbook for an atheist teenager looking for direction, resilience, and pride.” — Zach Weinersmith, creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide will inform and inspire the secular and the religious alike. As young people today are increasingly identifying openly as nonbelievers and challenging longstanding societal assumptions about religion and secularity, Hemant Mehta provides valuable insight into this important phenomenon.” — David Niose, author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans

“Is bigotry toward atheists the last socially acceptable form of religious prejudice? In his stimulating exploration of youth and atheism, Mehta documents numerous instances of hostility and institutional bias high school-aged students have encountered when they embraced conscience over conformity. The conclusion is clear: When freethinkers seek to express their beliefs or exercise their “rights” in the same way as members of religious majorities, they are often stymied, if not by law, then by prejudice and social convention. Mehta offers a persuasive call to action, and his book should be of interest to all those who want to keep the public sphere open to all forms of belief and nonbelief.” — Katherine Stewart, author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children

“All across the country, atheist high school students are bullied, persecuted and denied their legal rights, even by school administrators who should know better. But as atheism becomes a more influential and mainstream voice in our society, freethinking high schoolers are increasingly coming out of the closet and standing up for themselves, forming communities to support each other and advance the secular point of view. Hemant’s book shows how it can be done with many inspiring examples of brave student activists.” — Adam Lee, author of Daylight Atheism

“In this book, Hemant provides a reality check about bigotry and harassment against atheists in schools, as well as a road map to alleviating these issues. America is evolving before our eyes, and our secular future will most certainly be delivered by today’s young people. This book will help students understand what they face, and show adults where the students need help (they can’t do it alone). In other words, Hemant’s book is important. Read it.” — Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists

If you like the book, please (pretty please?) leave a positive review on Amazon. I would really appreciate it.

Writing this book was an eye-opening experience for me, as I discovered all these stories I had never heard before… but it was a worthwhile one since I’m now able to share them with you. Hopefully, being aware of what has happened in the past will allow us to prevent these problems from happening in the future.

Hope you all enjoy it!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Ian Reide

    Congrats. Just purchased a copy from amazon. I am no longer that young nor a (formal) student (still an atheist), but I am sure that it will be a great read. Thanks for the good work you are doing. I will put the book on the goodreads website and review it.
    All the best.

  • Alise Wright

    Congratulations, Hemant! Looking forward to reading this one!

  • MargueriteF

    Congratulations, Hemant!

  • George Wiman

    Alas, the Kindle app on my Android says it’s an “invalid item” and won’t let me open it. I have tried removing and re-downloading to no avail.

  • Hemant Mehta

    Is that the case with all downloads or just this one?

  • ReadsInTrees

    Strange that “The Young Atheists Handbook”, originally published over 40 years ago, was re-released this year….just in time to confuse people looking for The Young Atheists Survival Guide.

  • MegaZeusThor

    I took a look at the different chapters in the book, and they seem like great topics!

  • Thalfon

    Will there be an epub release? (Epub is the universal format every ebook reader out there except Kindle uses.)

  • Kari Lynn

    Bought it!

  • Hemant Mehta

    At the moment, no. Sorry!

  • Hemant Mehta

    You’re my new favorite person! Until the next person buys it, that is.

  • Robertfreid903

    Meh, I’d rather read Bloody Harvest by David Matas and David Kilgour. It is about the brutal persecution and organ harvesting of a religious sect called the Falun Gong in Communist China, stigmatized as a “cult” by the authorities over there since 1999.

  • allein

    Well I might if it was available on the nook…!

    (The paperback is available for preorder on B&N, though.)

  • allein

    It’s a conspiracy!

  • Ian Reide

    I have had no trouble reading on kindle iphone app. Read the first three chapters. Sad to  learn again of the persecution young atheists face, but encouraging to read of their bravery and success. Well written and informative.
    I do have a preference for .epub format over a proprietary. 

  • Kari Lynn

    *Blush* Aw shucks!

    Great book, by the way! I’ve only read the first few chapters, but it’s fantastic!

  • Thunder Dann

    Are you planing an audiobook version?

  • Hemant Mehta

    Yes! It’ll be out in a few weeks, I hope.

  • Guest

    I am glad agnostics like me does not face that problem.

  • Tom_Nightingale

    The cover design is brilliant, “BACK, YOU ZOMBIFIED THEISTS!”  Just kidding theists, I still love you…

    Thanks for writing this book Hemant, there was a need and you have met it.  I’ll let the skeptics club at my local community college know about it!

  • Anna

    It looks great! I don’t have a Kindle, but I’ve requested that my library system purchase a copy of the paperback.

  • Deanna in NC

    Yay!  Just bought two, one for me and one for my daughter’s Kindle.  

  • Robert Freid

    I like you too, atheist (I presume, notify me if I am wrong).

  • Richard Lucas

    On my Kindle since yesterday, and I’m about halfway through it.  I think it’s going to be a good one.  Well done sir!

  • Tom_Nightingale

    Yes I am an atheist, I’m guessing you’re not?  Thanks for letting me know

  • BeasKnees

    That’s a great idea.  I’ll do the same!

  • helmichv

    My eyes were moist, when I realized our (my) lack of support for Nicole Smalkowski in 2004.
    I have been around sports and high school sports, and to be left of the team is an unfair and heavy penalty to pay for having a different belief. Is there more recent news about Nicole ?
    Many of us remember our own struggles in eventually becoming an Atheist.
    I sure recognized some of the issues so constructively described in your book.
    Thanks Hemant !

  • Paul Paulus

    Hemant, may the Tooth Fairy:
    1)Make you rich enough for you to forget all the money I owe you
    2)Forever behold you as Knight of Shining Atheist Empowerment of the First Order.

  • Moulton

    No epub? Are you serious?  Just create an epub version and put it on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble and you get a lot more people purchasing it.  Please let us know when we can get it in epub.  Thanks.

  • Lee ann

    I just purchased a copy.  I have a 7yo son.  I am sure this book will help as he grows up.

  • helmichv

    You can download a copy “Kindle for PC”.
    It is free. Then you can read any kindle book/file on your PC.

  • ms. lisa eddy

    Congratulations! I am very excited to get this book and to share it with young people I know!

  • Anna

    That’s a good idea for people who don’t mind reading on the computer, but I prefer to hold a paper copy. I can’t read a whole book on my PC.

  • Hemant Mehta

    Paper copy will be out next week!

  • machintelligence

    I bought the book and read it (OK I’m a fast reader with too much time on my hands.)
    Fifty years ago, when I was in high school,  I don’t remember there being much in the way of a religious presence there.  We are talking big city (Chicago) and big HS (4500+ students) so I dug out my yearbook to see if I was remembering correctly.  There were no religious clubs, although the Latin club did sponsor a Saturnalia on Dec. 17 and all members wore black armbands on the ides of March in mourning for Julius Caesar. There were Lenten and Christmas concerts by the school Chorus, but they were held on Sundays and in no means mandatory. The feature at the Christmas concert was a choral version of “The Night Before Christmas” so I doubt that it was particularly religious. I didn’t attend.

  • Anna

    People who don’t visit the library are missing out! I get 99% of all my reading material there, and they’re very agreeable to requests. Plus, when you’re done borrowing the book, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that teenagers in your community will be able to have access to it.

  • ImRike

    Bought! Thanks for the great introductory price.
    I don’t have a Kindle, but I have a very comfortable computer chair. I have the Kindle app on both my computer and my android tablet, so I can read on either. I never thought I could enjoy reading without holding a book and turning pages by hand, but I became used to it pretty quick and now I actually prefer it to a regular book!

  • Jeff P

    I bought it.  I’ll read it and then give it to my son who is an atheist in high school.

  • Robert Freid

    You’re welcome, I mean that.

  • Michelle B

    I had to buy it because it was only $3 :)

  • bernardaB

    I can confirm machintelligence’s post. When I was a HS student in a public school  in a medium-sized city(San Diego) at the time in the sixties, I never saw or experienced religious presence there. No teachers or students that I can remember ever brought forth any evangelism.

    Oddly, it was only when I went to the University of California that I found religious groups on campus and often got invited to religious activities by people I knew. It blew my mind that people could get that far and still believe in such myths. None of my professors were ever involved in such things.

  • Ian Reide

    Just finished the book. A great read. Tells the story of USA students suffering discrimination in schools, and their battles to form Atheist groups. Ancillary to this are the various adults: lawyers, administrators, parents, and community folk who helped or hindered, plus some legal pointers. Fast paced, comprehensive, and with an upbeat ending.

    My only complaint, our noble web host called Dr Perry Cox from “Scrubs”, “unlikeable”, whereas the opposite is true.

  • RBH

    Second that motion. The Amazon borg is far from the only (or even best) bookseller.