{Leah Reviews} The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

Posted March 8, 2018 by Leah in Reviews / 8 Comments

{Leah Reviews} The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

by Shaun David Hutchinson
Pages: 448
Published on February 6th 2018
by Simon Pulse
Genres: Adolescence, LGBT, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

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.

4 Stars

What a strange, surreal book this is. At first glance, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza looks like a supernatural tale centered around a teenage girl. However, this is more like Patrick Ness’ novel The Rest of Us Just Live Here: it’s a coming of age tale that happens to have some unexplained elements to it. So many times I was saying, “What?” out loud–but Shaun David Hutchinson’s novel is a standout.

All her life, Elena’s been talked about. She’s the child of a virgin birth and she hears voices from inanimate objects. This is a look into Elena’s life after she miraculously heals Freddie, the girl she has a crush on. While miracles are all well and good, it doesn’t mean fame and fortune. People don’t believe her. Her stepdad wants her to make money off healing. What are the voices? What does her healing mean? And the voices–and Freddie–are not what Elena imagined.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It is character driven, diverse, well written, and full of humor and heart. Elena loves her mom and siblings with everything in her. She’s loyal to Fadil, her supportive best friend. She’s down to earth and has a razor wit to match anyone who tries to mess with her. Her experiences are relatable, even at their most fantastic. Like so many of us, she’s just trying to find true meaning.

The back and forth between Elena and Freddie is aggravatingly endearing (If that’s not a thing, it should be). Elena quickly learns that you never know a person until you actually get to know them. Half the time I wanted to bang my head against the wall in frustration over something Freddie said and the next scene I was hoping they would find common ground and get together. I don’t think that’s happened to me in a while. 🙂 As for what’s going on with the voices and Elena’s healing power, all I can say is that you have to read the book to find out.

My only gripe is that the end flip flops between too much unimportant things happening and not enough important things happening. However, I’m happy this book exists, and I liked it so much I promptly bought myself a copy as well as two of Shaun David Hutchinson’s backlist titles. With the wonder of Elena Mendoza, I’m looking forward to seeing what else Hutchinson writes about.



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8 responses to “{Leah Reviews} The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

  1. I’m not typically a fan of magical realism, but I’m also really fascinated with virgin birth stories. And I didn’t know that’s what this was about, so thanks so much for filling me in. I defintiely want to try it!

    • Leah

      I literally thought the same thing about the weird scale, but I’m glad it delivered. LOL! I hope you give it a shot.

    • Leah

      I hear you! My TBR is one book away from an avalanche. And I just bought more of his books and a few others. Looks like I’m buried. LOL!

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