Book Review: The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

Posted February 2, 2018 by Kara in book review, Kara / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Apocalypse of Elena MendozaThe Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse on February 6th 2018
Genres: young adult, fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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four-half-stars

Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza is the product of a virgin birth.
This can be scientifically explained (it’s called parthenogenesis), but what can’t be explained is how Elena is able to heal Freddie, the girl she’s had a crush on for years, from a gunshot wound in a Starbucks parking lot. Or why the boy who shot Freddie, David Combs, disappeared from the same parking lot minutes later after getting sucked up into the clouds. What also can’t be explained are the talking girl on the front of a tampon box, or the reasons that David Combs shot Freddie in the first place.
As more unbelievable things occur, and Elena continues to perform miracles, the only remaining explanation is the least logical of all—that the world is actually coming to an end, and Elena is possibly the only one who can do something about it.

I honestly expected nothing from this book. It just sounded really weird and out there, so I thought I would request it. I’ve never read this author before, and now I think when I have time, I’m going to go back and read everything Shaun David Hutchinson has written. The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza was absolutely spectacular.

Elena Mendoza has always heard voices, but she doesn’t know she can heal people. She finds that out one day while working at Starbucks. She’s crushing on a girl named Freddie, and she steps out onto the patio to talk to her when a boy from their high school shoots her. The Starbucks’ siren tells her to heal Freddie, and Elena doesn’t know what else to do since Freddie is about to die, so she tries. Freddie is healed, and the shooter is raptured up to the sky in a beam of light. Half of the school thinks she’s a fraud, and the other half tries to get her to heal somebody they know. The voices keep talking to her, telling her she has to heal as many people as possible because the world is going to end. But are the voices God? Or are the voices evil? Should Elena trust them? And why do people keep getting raptured every time she heals someone?

If that sounds like the wackiest plot you’ve ever heard, well it is prettttty close. It actually works though. And that is just a testament to how good the writing really is, because if an author can convince you of THAT plot, then what can’t they convince you of? And I suppose that’s the most astonishing thing about The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza. It’s convincing. The characters are brilliantly written, diverse, and full of depth. There’s a gorgeously written f/f romance with a lovely slow burn, Muslim and Cuban representation, asexual and bisexual representation–plus, for those of you liberal, tree-huggin’ friends of mine, there’s a bit of trashing of out current administration (YEEHAW).

If there was one thing that kept if from being a 5 star book, it that it ended a little too pat for me. I guess I was expecting something more ambiguous with the direction the plot was going in? It’s not that I hated the ending–I mean, it was fine–I just didn’t think it was as strong as the rest of the book. Still, you should definitely pre-order this book because there’s a little something in it for everyone.

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