In this farcical horror debut, an unpopular high school student may be the chosen one who can stop Lucifer and Armageddon.
Seventeen-year-old Michael Williams has been crushing on the “girl-next-door,” Emmaleigh, for a long time. When he finally works up the courage to ask her to the homecoming dance, he’s too late. She’s going with Cayden McCaffrey, the good-natured football team captain and quarterback who’s frustratingly impossible to hate. Michael goes stag to the dance only to learn that Lucy, a cheerleader from another school, is there, telling everyone that he invited her. This surprises his fellow students, as Michael is notoriously shy around girls. But the school’s kooky janitor, Gabriel, has an explanation: Lucy is likely a demon. It’s a biblical prophecy, according to Gabriel: Students’ “insatiable desire to fornicate” will lead to girls’ birthing Lucifer’s demonic army by daybreak. Michael starts believing Gabriel when female students rather uncharacteristically proposition him for sex, which, per the prophecy, he’ll have to avoid in order to thwart Lucifer. Overthrowing the unholy scheme will necessitate Michael’s confronting Lucifer, who’s somewhere at the dance hiding in human form and looking to bed the school’s most virtuous female student before the sun rises. Smith’s novel is lighthearted throughout despite the mix of demons, teenage sex, and religious overtones. Biblical references, for one, are funny without mocking religion (Gabriel can’t cite exactly where in the Bible the prophecy is), and sexual acts are predominantly implied. The author handles more serious subject matter responsibly: Demons’ practically forcing themselves onto others is unquestionably assault. At the same time, sex jokes are refreshingly smart. For example, Michael seeks advice from his pal Kody on sex, noting that “this is an area where compulsory state-mandated education has really failed us, you know?” Nevertheless, the story racks up suspense by teasing the “cursed… doomed student body,” with descending page numbers acting as a countdown to potential annihilation.
Droll and wickedly entertaining, the impending apocalypse notwithstanding.