cover image The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9854-8

Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza doesn’t have a father—hers was a virgin birth (scientifically known as parthenogenesis), and Elena has never stopped feeling like an outsider or freak. Elena also hears voices, and after her crush Winifred (aka Freddie) is shot while Elena is working at Starbucks, the voice (coming from the company’s corporate logo) tells Elena to heal her—which she does. Caustically funny and irreverent, the voices urge Elena to heal others, but people disappear from the planet every time she does. As he did in At the Edge of the Universe and We Are the Ants, Hutchinson uses an “Is this the end of all things?” premise to create provocative and moving insights into the angst, wonder, and uncertainty of being a teenager. Elena’s carefully developed relationships with her supportive best friend Fadil, her ex Javier, the conflicted Freddie, and her family bring additional depth to a thoughtful story about choice and destiny. Ages 14–up. Agent: Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary. (Feb.) This review has been updated.