Review: The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

Author: Shaun David Hutchinson

Goodreads Description

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.

My rating: 4 stars


This was my first Shaun David Hutchinson book! (Surprise!)  While I really enjoyed the idea of reading about a teenage girl who was a product of a virgin birth and could perform miracles…it just fell a bit flat for me and the idea wasn’t executed very well in my opinion. I gave this book 4 stars because the beginning really caught my attention and held it, but by the middle of the book I was a bit bored with the characters and the plot. I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters and it seems a bit drama filled for my tastes.

Throughout the book we follow Elena Mendoza: a teenage outcast who has been made fun of throughout her life because she was the product of a virgin birth. While working at Starbucks she attempts to go talk to her crush Freddie, and in the process Freddie gets shot. Let me stop here by saying that throughout her life, inanimate objects talk to Elena and tell her what to do, etc. (weird, right?) So at this point the siren on the Starbucks logo tells Elena to heal Freddie. And this is where Elena realizes that she can “perform miracles” by healing Freddie.

Like I said previously, the beginning of this book immediately hooked me and I wanted to read more. I won’t go into detail about what happens next, but I will say this: it’s basically the same thing happening again and again every 50 pages or so. Meaning, Elena and Freddie argue, Freddie storms off, Elena questions whether she’s doing the right thing, etc. This is where the book fell flat for me. I was really hoping for more action, considering we are reading about a girl who can perform miracles and talk to “her gods.”

I’m hoping that the full copy of this book is a little more edited in terms of repetition, since I was able to snag an ARC of this at Yallfest. Though I doubt I will pick up the full copy of this book.

I will say that I am happy to read diverse books, which I think we need more of! Also,  I’ve heard Hutchinson is really great at writing diverse books and I’m interested to see if I like his other books! So keep an eye out for reviews on those…hopefully later in the year. =]


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