There’s being prepared for the end of the world, and then there’s being prepared for the end of your world.
Becca’s cynical resistance to her parents brainwashing doomsday philosophy strolls right past parental resentment into a full blown secret plan to flee to college on a scholarship and leave it all behind. But she can’t. Not when her Dad has an accident that leaves him in a coma, her mother doesn’t seem to care, and her little sister Katie starts to believe in the fear.
Becca’s plans for the future wither away all alongside Roy, a boy she’s been genetically matched to marry and continue the line of preppers. But a part of Becca’s assumption comes completely undone when the dopey boy next door turns out he doesn’t believe, and he truly loves her.
Discovering allies in each other, they’ll fight not only for their freedom, but each other’s happiness. But when the doomsday prepper community already has their lives planned out, how on earth will they escape?
I loved Becca’s constant pragmatism and resourcefulness, and not because it was how she was raised, but who she was as a person. Evading core beliefs around family is hard and this story felt very much like Becca was in a cult, but they didn’t have a conventional god, their god is fear. It doesn’t stop her grit, determination, or power to do what must be done.
Sling along side it Roy, the guy Becca’s pretending to love, except not only is he lying to everyone about his disbelief, including Becca, he’s not lying when he says he loves her. When the two start to realize neither of them want to be doomsdayers, its tainted by the fact that Roy loves Becca, but she doesn’t love him back.
This story tugged on my heart strings, as much as we want to say we’re prepared for the future sometimes we just aren’t. Sometimes it takes ingenuity, resourcefulness, and determination just to get through a day, let alone the struggles that life can bring. I thoroughly admired these characters and the small window into their constricted lives, Mangle makes their journey emotional, touching, and laugh out loud funny, even when things are looking at their grimmest.