Elena Mendoza was conceived via parthenogenesis—literally a virgin birth—and has long lived with the consequences of her strange origin story (and her classmates don’t even know about the fact that inanimate objects speak to her).
She’s content to hang out with her best friend, Fadil, and crush on Winifred “Freddie” Petrine from afar, but the universe has other plans. When a boy shoots Freddie in front of Elena, she has no choice but to listen to the voice coming from the Starbucks sign, telling Elena she has the power to heal Freddie. After successfully healing her gunshot wound, Elena learns that these voices have big plans for her and her newfound abilities—but every time she uses her powers, people are mysteriously raptured into the sky. How can Elena refuse to help those in front of her? But how can she use her gifts when they might be bringing about the end of the world?
During this apparent apocalypse, Elena and Fadil pursue their respective crushes and deal with the changing nature of their lifelong friendship. As Elena gets closer to Freddie, she discovers that the real Freddie is nothing like what she had imagined; instead, she's prickly, challenging and intriguing. Smart conversations between the teen characters, a matter-of-fact exploration of the spectrum of sexuality, and deep philosophical meditations make up the bulk of the action here in between Elena’s acts of healing. Though somewhat repetitive, Shaun David Hutchinson’s (We Are the Ants) eighth novel is a timely portrayal of uncertainty and anxiety on both a global and personal level.