I had avoided this book for the longest time because I felt it would be another spoof-type story or one that would be too serious for me to handle at the moment. I finally caved when it became available through my Overdrive app and I have to say that I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. This was a wonderful mix of serious, captivating, and relatable. Katie Henry is now a must-read and auto-buy author for me.
While this is a quirky and engaging story, it has a lot going on beneath the surface. It is a story about friendship, family, mental health, religion, sexuality, and so much more. Henry did not shy away from tough topics. Writing topics, likes the ones above, into a YA story – or any story – can be tricky but Henry did it like a boss. She wove the topics together in a way that felt natural. I never once felt the story was preachy or trying to force thoughts/opinions on me. Everything was handled with grace and respect.
The protagonist, Ellis, felt like someone I would want to be friends with. She was wonderfully complex, deeply flawed, and very relatable. She had severe anxiety and an obsession with prepping for the end of the world. She swore the apocalypse was going to happen and she needed to help everyone prepare for it, especially her family. While there were several scenes that were tough to get through, it gave an added depth to the story. It helped to remind the reader that not all families are truly perfect behind closed doors. Many times I felt so, so bad for Ellis and wanted to hug her, to tell her everything would be alright.
I really enjoyed the way Henry added Mormonism into the story. It wasn’t added as a way to move the story forward, it was added for a reason. It was just one more thing Ellis was struggling to understand. Henry didn’t shy away from showing both the good and bad parts of the religion. Some parts felt cringe-worthy while others sounded very peaceful. Again, the topic was handled with the upmost respect and care it deserved. It was a wonderful addition to an already complex story.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and wish I had read it sooner. Henry knocked this out of the park. This had such an impact on me that I’m still thinking about it. That should tell you how much of a powerhouse it is. If you don’t already have this on your TBR or your radar, you really should consider adding it asap.