The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson — ★★★★★ — Newly Released!!
This is a book about talking Starbucks mermaids and also choices. Go figure.
The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza is like nothing I have ever read before or will ever read again. It is an existential and oddly hilarious book about choices, with a wide cast of amazing characters and some weird mystery thrown in. And I loved it so much. I felt as if I could have read this forever.
This book follows Elena Mendoza and she
causes an apocalypse is gifted the power to heal people by an unknown entity.
✔Elena is a fucking master of sassing people, has a tendency to take her friends for granted, and is so utterly lovable and relatable. Her motivation to absolve herself – to feel as if she has done everything she needs to do – is written with so much realism and empathy.
✔Freddie is a depressed cynic and a horrible driver who believes nothing is connected. Her arc involves her struggle with who she was before the shooting – is she different now? Did she deserve to be saved?
✔Fadil is Elena’s rational and awesome best friend. He’s religious, but also not willing to give up logic or rationale, which I feel like I never see in literature? If y’all are looking for a non-negative but also-not-the-focus representation of religion – specifically Islam! – please read this. Also possibly the ace character we all deserved?
Something I like about Shaun David Hutchinson books is that every character is dimensional. Elena, Freddie, and Fadil, of course, but even some characters in here that I disliked managed to feel like fully dimensional people.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention this romance! If you know me, you know I am 1) picky about romance, and 2) really really good at getting invested when I like both the characters. And I loved… Elena and Freddie… so much. I actually love their dynamic. I want an entire book about them sort of talking through hard issues via anger / sort of flirting at the same time. Or I could just reread this?
As usual, this is an extremely weird book plot-wise. I mean, you have a miracle performed on a crush, strange lights stealing a person, and talking starbucks mermaid – and that’s just in the first 5%. There is a lot of what some Christians might consider sacrilege, but I actually found this element sort of delightfully snarky. Listen, talking unicorns making horrible jokes about Jesus while a sixteen-year-old girl becomes increasingly annoyed is basically my entire sense of humor.
This book is about a Lot Of Things– existential fear, the realization that no one is who you think they are, the realization that death is never in our souls, the importance of making choices, and most of all, the importance of free will. But listen, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza was such an amazing reading experience for me. I wish this book would never have ended.
Bonus points for thinly veiled jokes about U.S. President Cheeto. And an-honest-god-I-am-not-joking-about-this reference to that Name Game meme from three years ago. Just A+.