The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

For Ages: 14 - 99
From the critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants and At the Edge of the Universe comes a mind-bending, riveting novel about a teen who was born to a virgin mother and realizes she has the power to heal—but that power comes at a huge cost.

Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza is the product of a virgin birth.

This can be scientifically explained (it’s called parthenogenesis), but what can’t be explained is how Elena is able to heal Freddie, the girl she’s had a crush on for years, from a gunshot wound in a Starbucks parking lot. Or why the boy who shot Freddie, David Combs, disappeared from the same parking lot minutes later after getting sucked up into the clouds. What also can’t be explained are the talking girl on the front of a tampon box, or the reasons that David Combs shot Freddie in the first place.

As more unbelievable things occur, and Elena continues to perform miracles, the only remaining explanation is the least logical of all—that the world is actually coming to an end, and Elena is possibly the only one who can do something about it.
  • Simon Pulse | 
  • 448 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481498548 | 
  • February 2018 | 
  • Grades 9 and up
List Price $23.99 (price may vary by retailer)

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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

By Shaun David Hutchinson

About the Book

Elena Mendoza did not mean to start the apocalypse. But when the voices inside her head told her she could heal the girl who was bleeding to death at her feet—the girl she had a crush on and had finally worked up the courage to talk to—she knew that she had to try. Until that very moment, Elena hadn’t known that she had the power to heal others, nor that there would be terrible consequences each time she used this power. She didn’t know that healing Freddie would force her to make impossible choices on a daily basis, or that she would end up endangering everyone that she cared about. All she knew was that Freddie was dying, and she had to try to do something. So she healed the gunshot wound and inadvertently started the apocalypse. Now she just has to figure out what comes next.

Discussion Questions

1. Why doesn’t Elena tell Fadil about the voices she hears until after healing Freddie? Why does she leave this part out when telling her mother about the miracle? Why does she become more open about the voices as the story goes on?

2. Elena does not believe in God. How does this affect the decisions she makes regarding her healing powers and the voices’ demands?

3. Why do you think David shot Freddie? Why is it so important to Elena that she have see more

More Books from this Author

Feral Youth
At the Edge of the Universe
We Are the Ants
Violent Ends

About the Author

Shaun David Hutchinson
Photograph by Chris Piedra

Shaun David Hutchinson

Shaun David Hutchinson is the author of numerous books for young adults, including The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza, At the Edge of the Universe, and We Are the Ants. He also edited the anthologies Violent Ends and Feral Youth and wrote the memoir Brave Face, which chronicles his struggles with depression and coming out during his teenage years. He lives in Seattle, where he enjoys drinking coffee, yelling at the TV, and eating cake. Visit him at or on Twitter @ShaunieDarko.