Phillip is a sort-of atheist (maybe) falling for an evangelical Christian named Rebekah. That’s a problem. His dad is a DEFINITELY atheist; and the fact that his mom decided she believed in God and turned their basement into an Apocalypse shelter right before she DIED makes the whole ‘religion thing’ an atomic bomb. So starts a funny, sad, honest look at friendship, love, faith, doubt, and all the other things that will help you survive an apocalypse.
I picked this one up because the cover is unique, but was worried. NOT ANOTHER APOCALYPSE BOOK!!! Fortunately, the apocalypse is just symbolic and emotional! This isn’t dystopia, it’s (really good) contemporary fiction. Contemporary fiction (books set in the present where there are no robots, dystopias, ghosts, vampires, zombies, etc.) are a tough thing to make work, because you can’t use the fantastical to bring interest. What works best about this book is that all the major characters feel flawed, real, and relatable. They don’t just represent an idea the author wants to examine or a character ‘type’ to move the plot forward. The characters are funny, but without seeming like professional comedy writers in teenage bodies. I loved Phillip and Rebekah and really found myself rooting for them, even when it was obvious that they both have real issues. The most impressive thing is this book is able to look at faith and religion in a very funny but open-minded way. They do poke fun at the excesses of the sub-culture that is evangelical life, but they also show that is has plenty of good people in it who aren’t crazy or mean in any way. So pick this up and you’ll laugh, cry, learn about the importance of letting go whilst simultaneously holding on, and find out how to survive symbolic apocalypses.