Friday, July 6, 2018

Review: The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

"What happens if the world ends?" Freddie said.
"Maybe it already has," I said, "and this is it. Now we have the opportunity to start over and try to do better this time around."
-Shaun David Hutchinson, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

Elena Mendoza is the product of a virgin birth, scientifically proven. Despite this fact, she has lived a relatively normal life; at least, until she heals Freddie, her crush, because the Starbucks Siren told her too. Now, voices are telling Elena that she has to keep healing people or the world as she knows it will come to an end. But should Elena have the power to decide who is saved and who isn't?

I've loved everything I've read from Shaun David Hutchinson (including We Are the Ants and At the Edge of the Universe), and I loved this book even more. Elena Mendoza is perhaps one of the most compelling of the characters that Hutchinson has created. She's stuck in an impossible situation; every time she heals someone, hundreds of people disappear. But she's told if she doesn't heal, then the apocalypse will come. Supported by a cast of equally colorful characters, I found myself immediately sucked into Elena's world. 

Not only is the premise of the story unique, but there's a lot of good representation in this book as well. Elena herself is bi, she has a conversation with her friend Fadil about being asexual, they have lots of good discussions about the meaning of mental health, and Elena and Freddie talk a lot about suicide. There are so many good things about this book, in fact, that I'm having difficulty finding flaws at the moment. If you like existential young adult novels, this is definitely a book for you.

One of the things I also love about Hutchinson is the way he includes mentions of characters from his other books within the plot. Elena interacts with both Henry and Tommy on her path to figuring out her own decisions, and those that have read his other books will appreciate the references.

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza takes its readers on a crazy ride, leaving them with much to think about along the way.

5/5 stars

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