Ellis Kimball has faith in the imminent end of the world.
She’s failed her driving test twice because fears of hitting elderly pedestrians prevent her from even starting the car. She stockpiles survival gear and spends lunch period in the school library, the perfect place for a mass shooter—or Ellis herself—to hide. She loves her family but neither understands nor is understood by them. In her therapist’s waiting room, she meets Hannah, a girl from her class who says she knows when and how the world is going to end: on Dec. 21, during a freak San Francisco snowstorm, while Hannah and Ellis are holding hands. While Ellis makes flyers to warn everyone, Hannah enlists her help to find a homeless psychic called Prophet Dan, who she is certain will be able to help them. Ellis is a Latter-day Saint; her faith is as important to her as her survival, and her belief in Hannah feels holy. But Hannah is neither a mystic nor a saint. Told from Ellis’ probing, intelligent point of view, the story reaches a lovely, surprising conclusion that offers respect and healing for all concerned. Henry (Heretics Anonymous, 2018) writes witty dialogue, creates complicated characters, and treats different religious beliefs with sincerity and respect. Ellis and Hannah are white, and Hannah is lesbian. Secondary characters are broadly diverse.
Don’t be put off by the canned tomato cover: This one’s a gem. (Fiction. 12-18)