Prepped by Bethany Mangle
Release date: February 23rd, 2021
For fans of Jeff Zentner and Katie Henry comes a thrilling and funny debut about a teen raised in a doomsday community who plots her escape with the boy from the bunker next door.
Always be ready for the worst day of your life.
This is the mantra that Becca Aldaine has grown up with. Her family is part of a community of doomsday preppers, a neighborhood that prioritizes survivalist training over class trips or senior prom. They’re even arranging Becca’s marriage with Roy Kang, the only eligible boy in their community. Roy is a nice guy, but he’s so enthusiastic about prepping that Becca doesn’t have the heart to tell him she’s planning to leave as soon as she can earn a full ride to a college far, far away.
Then a devastating accident rocks Becca’s family and pushes the entire community, including Becca’s usually cynical little sister, deeper into the doomsday ideology. With her getaway plans thrown into jeopardy, the only person Becca can turn to is Roy, who reveals that he’s not nearly as clueless as he’s been pretending to be.
When Roy proposes they run away together, Becca will have to risk everything—including her heart—for a chance to hope for the best instead of planning for the worst.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Prepped but I wound up loving this book! The cover blurb made it sound like the book would be mostly about romance and/or falling in love… it wasn’t. While that portion of the story was important and well done (no instalove here) it was not the main focus. Sacrifice played a large part in this book and in several different kinds. Becca’s story took on a whole new scenario to “being from the wrong side of town” in the format of a child raised in a doomsday prepper community.
I loved Becca’s character, between her emotions, snarky humor, and the situations in the book it was quite a ride. I wasn’t expecting to quite literally laugh out loud at some of the inner and outer dialogue in this book but it happened fairly often. Which was usually followed up by brutally honest truths that stunned me sometimes. I was cheering for Becca and Roy to achieve their hearts desires – after all that took place in the book, they deserve it. I did feel like we just didn’t get to know Roy enough but that goes hand in hand with Becca’s realization that there was more to Roy than he outwardly displayed in the community. Katie was the youngest child to a T – I understand her lashing out at Becca because of what happened. For how close Becca felt to Katie, it didn’t seem like it was reciprocated except in the beginning. Their mother was a whole different animal and in times of stress you never know what side will come out and the side that did wasn’t pretty. I wondered, like Becca, was she always that way, or did the accident cause what fragile hold she had on normalcy to snap?
While originally only planning to escape herself Becca’s plans get altered drastically because of the community and her mother. Becca’s unwillingness to leave Katie behind at the mercy of not only her mother but the community they lived in was heart-wrenching to watch unfold. Becca’s plan to get them safely out wasn’t bulletproof proof but I think that it was a pretty solid idea for someone her age with so many variables in play.
I thoroughly enjoyed Prepped and it was a concept that I haven’t seen before in YA or romance. I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy reading titles in the young adult genre with light (mostly) realistic romance, doomsday preppers, snarky underdog female leads, and family – however painful that relationship might be. I would like to thank Simon & Schuster, Bethany Mangle, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this unexpected and interesting title – all opinions are my own.