Let’s Call It a Doomsday

Image of Let's Call It a Doomsday
Release Date: 
August 5, 2019
Katherine Tegen Books
Reviewed by: 

“A heartfelt tale of a teen’s struggle to define her own identity . . .”

Katie Henry’s Let's Call It a Doomsday is an engaging tale about coming of age, coming out, and learning how to come to grips with the things we cannot control.

Sixteen-year-old Ellis is an amateur etymologist, semi-professional doomsday prepper, and full-time anxiety sufferer. She’s also a devout Mormon, struggling with her sexuality, feeling the weight of her mother’s constant nagging, and fearful of, well, everything, especially the end of the world.

She suffers in silence, telling herself, “It is not awesome to dream about tsunamis and wake up mid-panic attack. It is not awesome to sweat through your shirt at airport security because there might be a bomb by the baggage carousel. It is not awesome to imagine your skin peeling off in the wake of a nuclear attack.”

Ellis’s constant hyper-awareness and obsession with doomsday keep her isolated from her family and peers until she meets Hannah, also a patient of the therapist Ellis sees, who tells Ellis they “were meant to meet.”

Hannah is a siren, steering Ellis into ever more dangerous shoals while also opening up Ellis’s world in new and wonderous directions—including making new friends and meeting a boy, Tal, who was raised in the same church as Ellis but left after he realized he was bisexual. When their relationship is stalled by Ellis’s fears and anxiety, he tells her, “everything good in the whole world could hurt you. Doesn’t mean it will. You only want the safe parts. It doesn’t work that way.”

As Ellis joins Hannah on what seems like an impossible quest to fulfill a prophecy Hannah has dreamed of—finding her long-lost, mentally ill brother before the end of the world—the two girls force themselves to face their fears, embrace their faults, and find faith in their own unique gifts. With Tal acting as a mentor, Ellis raises above her anxiety long enough to wonder if she deserves to someday find happiness.

“Does happiness just come to a person? Does it arrive in a package labeled and addressed? Or is it something you have to want, something you have to take rather than ask for?”

A heartfelt tale of a teen’s struggle to define her own identity, Let’s Call It a Doomsday is sure to satisfy readers young and old.