Book Review: Everything You Need To Survive The Apocalypse

Title/Author:  Everything You Need To Survive The Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss

Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic, Self-Discovery

Published:  January 3rd, 2012 by Simon Pulse

Hardcover, 403 pages.

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from the library.

Why I Picked It Up?:  I put this on my TBR list a few months ago when I read a Rumpus article about it.  It caught my eye and my intrigue.
Book Jacket Blurb:  “Phillip’s sophomore year is off to a rough start. One of his best friends ditches him for a group of douchebags. His track coach singles him out for personalized, torturous training sessions. And his dad decides to clean out all of the emergency supplies from the basement, even though the world could end in disaster at any moment…and even though those supplies are all Phillip has left of his dead mom. Not that he wants to talk about that.
Then Phillip meets Rebekah.  Not only is she unconventionally hot and smart, but she might like him back.As Phillip gets closer to Rebekah, he tries harder and harder to turn himself into the kind of person he thinks she wants him to be.  But the question is:  Can he become that person?  And does he really want to?”

My Review of the Work:

If you pick this book up expecting it to be about the apolcalypse, then you are in for a shock.  Because though this novel talks a lot about Earth’s impending doom (or at least the theories and ideas behind it), the Earth is not, in fact, destroyed throughout the course of this novel.  One teenage boy’s ideas about life, however, are a different story.

This novel features Phillip, a quirky sophomore in high school who runs cross country with his two best friends by day and is obsessed with the end of the world by night.  When he twists his ankle at practice and hides behind a mailbox to avoid his coach’s wrath, he meets a girl.  And her name is Rebekah.  And yeah, she kind of likes him, which doesn’t tend to happen to a quirky high school boy.

So the basic premise of this story is a boy likes girl, girl likes boy, boy wants girl to like him more story that ends up revolving a lot around Rebekah’s church.  Phillip, whose father is an professed athiest, does not really know what to do when Rebekah invites him to her youth group on Wednesday night.  So, with his Indian friend Asher in tow, he sets out on a journey:  the search for something to believe in–though Phillip doesn’t know it yet.

His search for something to believe in takes him through the many ups and downs of life in high school–losing a friend to “the cool crowd”; getting in fights with other friends over silly things, like girls and being too self-absorbed; and doing anything and everything to get the girl you like to continue to like you back.  Oh, and I guess I should mention lying and sneaking around to avoid his atheist father’s anger, and sorting through your basement stash of “everything you need to survive the apocalypse.”  Phillip’s nemesis cross-country coach becomes his spiritual advisor of sorts, and Phillip is stuck in this whirlwind of too many new experiences at the same time that most every teenager goes through.

Now, while this spiritual journey centers around Christianity, I did not get the feeling that this book is trying to tell readers to convert to Christianity.  It just so happens that the church is the setting Klauss uses to show the thought processes and self-discoveries of Phillip in this story, which is a realistic setting for a story like this, especially for a high schooler.  Phillip’s story goes way beyond “converting to Christianity”–it is about him finding some way to believe in something outside of himself, period.  A way for him to find out somethings he did not know about himself before.  And that is what high school is all about–learning to think, act, and be your own person.

All of this is to say that this novel is a quick, quirky, and likeable read, but I know it won’t be for everybody.  I enjoyed this novel, but it wasn’t a favorite by any means.

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Middle Shelf Book.

This novel is a quick and quirky read with a storyline that everyone who has ever been a teenager can relate to.  Though there was a surprising amount of evangelical Christianity that was not mentioned in any synopsis I read, the focus and premise of this book is not conversion to Christianity, but about a young man’s search for himself.  A different, more humorous coming of age story with likeable characters.

Love and The Search for Yourself,


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