A couple of weeks ago I started using this audiobook (and ebook) service called Scribd (I highly recommend it) and I’ve recently gotten mildly addicted to audiobooks. I listened to The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza and loved it!
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.
Shaun David Hutchinson is probably one of those authors of whom I will love everything he writes. And The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza is everything you can expect from Shaun David Hutchinson: queer characters, the apocalypse, a quirky story and a whole lot of originality. I did not love this book as much as I loved We Are The Ants or At The Edge of the Universe but that is really hard to top because I loved those two A LOT.
This is the author’s first book with an female (bi) main character and an f/f ship and I loved the main character Elena. Elena is bisexual and is of Cuban descent. She was very relatable and when the actual literal apocalypse was going on she stayed true to herself and wanted to make her own decisions. I also really liked Fadil, Elena’s best friend who is Muslim.
“The moment we forget that even the evil among us are still human is the moment we forget that even the most human among us are still evil.”
When it comes to the romance, I was a little scared it might a bit… weird, since it is written by a man, but it really wasn’t. It was really sweet and cute, and was subtle throughout the book. I wasn’t really into Elena and Freddie as a couple but that was because I didn’t really like Freddie, but they grew on me. Freddie throughout the story struggles with a lot of things and I probably shouldn’t judge her because of that, but I did think she was annoyingly harsh at times.
“What if you’re wrong? What if I screw up and the world burns?”
Fadil shrugged. “Then I’ll buy marshmallows and we’ll watch it burn together.”
The story itself was really funny and serious at the same time. Since it’s about the apocalypse, it addresses a lot of serious topics, and the characters are dealing with a lot of difficult situations and personal problems. However, the tone of the story is very light, much less dark as We Are The Ants was. There were a lot of funny moments, especially since Elena hears these so-called voices which speak from inanimate objects and that caused a lot of really funny moments.
“And yet, despite being faced with so much hardship and pain, we continue to live. We continue to struggle and fight for our place in the world. We continue to try even though we know we’re going to lose. That’s the real miracle, not me.”
I am giving this book 4.5 stars because I really enjoyed it! The representation – as far as I’ve heard – was good, the story really enjoyable and the characters really fun. I definitely recommend it, though judging from the goodreads reviews, this book is either a hit or a miss for a lot of people. I loved the quirkiness and how funny it was but I guess it’s not for everyone. I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading even more of Shaun David Hutchinson in the future!