Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Guy Pick: Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse

Everything You Need To Survive the Apocalypse
by Lucas Klauss
Simon Pulse
2012
403 pages

What happens when you don't know what you believe? Being raised by an atheist father and trying to heal a hole in his life from missing his dead mother, Phillip has just been abandoned by fellow geeks Mark and Asher. On top of that, he is being brutally bullied by a ruthless, heartless, sadistic track coach who dreams up demonic workouts that nearly kill him. That's when Phillip twists his ankle and meets Rebekah, a girl from his school who just happens to be an "unconventional" beauty.

When Rebekah invites him to her church for youth fellowship, Phillip tells his father he's going to a study group and sneaks off to the church to try to get to know Rebekah better. Wouldn't you know it? Ferret--the evil track coach--is a member of the congregation and helps with youth group. Phillip is feeling out of place not only because of the coach, but he's freaking out that Rebekah might actually like him, and he's not sure what to feel about religion. With all the unanswered questions in his life, Phillip isn't sure what to believe. After all, his mom "got" religion before she moved out into her own apartment. She said she'd be back and that her leaving the house was only temporary but then she died unexpectedly. What kind of God takes your mother from you?

Best friend Mark gets a new BMW for his birthday and that changes everything. What was supposed to be "their" car for the three friends to hang out and go places in is now Mark's car to go places with his two new friends from German class. Asher and Phillip feel betrayed.

Klauss balances just the right amount of teen angst, wit and irony with a large dose of sarcasm and snarky attitude. Readers will identify with Phillip as he struggles to decide what to believe in, and those teens who question their parents' beliefs--I think nearly every teen at one point--will appreciate a clever novel with a huge heart.

The cover art is appealing but doesn't do this book justice and the title and mention of stockpiling food and water doesn't really play into the story. Readers may be confused by the title, thinking this is a dystopian book, but the apocalypse is one of the heart--not one of society or the planet.

I wish the back cover had information about the story instead of quotes from other writers. Teens want to know a little about the book, not what other adult writers think of it, and the page count--403 pages--may be a little daunting for some readers.

Recommended grades 9-up. Language, alcohol, partying, mature situations, questioning of religion and the existence of God.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this novel from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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