charming, in-depth character study
LET'S CALL IT A DOOMSDAY follows Ellis, a teenager who is Mormon and has an anxiety disorder. Eliis is in therapy as she struggles through anxiety every day- in social situations, about her family, and about potential apocalyptic situations. She is what she considers a normal prepper- not too intense about it, but she is still prepared for the end of the world.
She feels a little disconnected from her family- her sister who is understanding less, her father who loves her but is not as close as he used to be, and her mother who loves her but is having a hard time understanding her and so lashes out. She also strongly believes in the church and her religion, but she is questioning her sexuality. Altogether, it is a lot to deal with.
When Ellis meets Hannah in the waiting room of her therapist, she is surprised by Hannah's reaction. When Hannah seeks her out and soon reveals that she has visions/dreams of the apocalypse, Ellis's fears are coming true, but she knows how to prepare. As they work together, it becomes even more convoluted and things are not quite what they seem.
What I loved: The representation here is great. Tal, another main character, is bisexual, Ellis is questioning, and Hannah is gay. There is also mental illness in Ellis's anxiety and in the homeless people who appear in the book with undiagnosed mental illnesses. There are some interesting discussions about this that were also handled really well, and Ellis's anxiety is palpable and really well written. The Mormon religion was also thoughtfully handled throughout.
The book really portrays familial relationships well and demonstrates quite a few different families, such as Hannah's with her parents who are mostly absent, Tal, whose parents are divorced and lives with his dad while his mother has a new family in the Mormon church (and he visits her at times), and then, of course, Ellis, who has complicated relationships with her family due to her anxiety disorder. The characters were all very three-dimensional and complex, which makes for an interesting read as Ellis prepares for doomsday with Hannah.
What left me wanting more: While Ellis begins to understand her mother a little better, I would have liked a clarifying discussion so that we could confirm what Ellis believes. Some of the conversations they have are really painful- but ultimately really true as well, and their relationship adds a lot of complexity to the novel that I would have liked more resolution for. I would also have liked a little more at the end to explore Hannah a bit more and how she will move on after this (an epilogue or a few more chapters)- but even as-is, the book is wrapped up pretty well.
Final verdict: Overall, this book is a charming and in-depth character study of Ellis, a young girl with anxiety who is questioning her sexuality and who is also Mormon. With complexity that shines through the plot, friendship and familial relationships come to the forefront of this engaging read.