Publishers Weekly Review
Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza doesn't have a father-hers was a virgin birth (scientifically known as parthenogenesis), and Elena has never stopped feeling like an outsider or freak. (Her classmates have nicknamed her Mary, even though Jesus would be the more biblically accurate nickname.) Elena also hears voices, and after her crush Winifred (aka Freddie) is shot while Elena is working at Starbucks, the voice (coming from the company's corporate logo) tells Elena to heal her-which she does. Caustically funny and irreverent, the voices urge Elena to heal others, but people disappear from the planet every time she does. As he did in At the Edge of the Universe and We Are the Ants, Hutchinson uses an "Is this the end of all things?" premise to create provocative and moving insights into the angst, wonder, and uncertainty of being a teenager. Elena's carefully developed relationships with her supportive best friend Fadil, her ex Javier, the conflicted Freddie, and her family bring additional depth to a thoughtful story about choice and destiny. Ages 14-up. Agent: Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-With great power comes great responsibility-and even more confusion. Elena Mendoza, 16, has recently discovered that she can magically heal the sick or wounded; but whenever she does, people all over the world disappear. The result of a scientifically proven virgin birth, Elena has long been gossip fodder at school, and after she heals a girl who's been shot (her crush, Freddie), the rumors go into overdrive, with some hailing her as a "Miracle Girl" and others deriding her as a fake. Inanimate objects have spoken to Elena all her life, and now they instruct her to heal as many people as possible. But is the teen sending the disappearing people to their salvation or to their doom? Hutchinson artfully blends the realistic and the surreal (and a bit of the biblical) for an utterly absorbing take on the Rapture. The author depicts Elena's bond with her loving mother, the ups and downs of her friendship with Fadil, and her burgeoning relationship with Freddie with finesse. Beneath the snarky, self-deprecating prose lie thought-provoking questions about morality, the universe, and free will. Hutchinson provides few answers, trusting readers, and Elena, to come to their own conclusions. VERDICT The author presents an entirely original take on apocalyptic fiction-no mean feat. Hand this stirring tale to fans of Aaron Starmer's Spontaneous and those who enjoy A.S. King's work.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Elena was the product of a virgin birth, but it wasn't a miracle; just garden-variety, statistically improbable, yet no less possible, parthenogenesis. What is a miracle, however, is her ability to heal people, which she discovers when her crush gets shot right in front of her. Healing powers are pretty cool, but whenever Elena heals someone, several other people disappear in a beam of golden light. Compounding the problem, a chorus of bossy voices, which appear in a variety of objects, tell Elena that she should heal as many people as possible, because the ones who disappear are being saved from a terrible future. With crackling banter and vivid characters, Hutchinson offers readers an enjoyably weird, poignantly philosophical exploration of friendship, duty, and free will. There's lots to like here: Elena's relationship with her best friend, Fadil (a devout Muslim boy), is refreshingly, unquestioningly platonic, and Hutchinson touches on such important topics as sexuality, mental illness, and grief in a lighthearted yet sincere and sensitive way. And, especially for a book addressing such tough topics, it's often just plain funny. While the overarching premise sounds a bit like an ethics-class thought experiment (in a good way!), Hutchinson always keeps the story firmly grounded in Elena's relationships and, more important, her believable growth, particularly when it comes to her own faults. Surreal, brainy, and totally captivating.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2017 Booklist