Prepped is a book that took me on an emotional roller coaster. Look, I was expecting a survivalist story about breaking free and complex families. But as I kept reading, I actually felt my heart racing for Becca. The decisions she has to make, the ways her own dreams are pitted against her family. Keep reading this book review to witness my emotional roller coaster!
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I need to read more survivalist stories because not only is it intriguing for me, but I find the conflict between preparation and life fascinating. The ways it tries to prepare for all outcomes, to teach skills we might need, and, in some aspects, the fears it stokes. The ways we see danger and risk in daily situations, fear in the ‘simple’ things. Where Prepped excels is creating this atmosphere of tension and suspense, in a way I was not expecting from the synopsis. Mangle not only delivers a story which will leave your heart pumping, but also featuring Becca – a character who should never have to be in the position she is in now.
Siblings and Mirrors
Becca loves her sister basically more than anything in the world. Not going to lie, this sister relationship tore at the insides of my heart. The ways that, as children, we absorb so much around us. How her little sister so badly wants love, stability, and her family. And how these universal desires end up being twisted in vise grips and homes that should always feel safe. What ended up tightening the grasp on my heart are the ways you can compare Becca and her sister. Becca’s tender and emotional desires for parents who took her out for ice cream, who didn’t test them until they were prepared with sharp edges and spears.
How impressionable kids are to the voices of authority. Of the ones they love. How questions cause strife and without any other options. Prepped is about a community that throws their lives into danger and ‘situations’ to try to teach resourcefulness, but how much danger do they truly escape? That we literally cannot prepare for everything. That to see danger in everything around us lets fear control our lives.
My heart broke for Becca. I read so many books about teens whose dreams present a split between their parent’s expectations. About trying to fight for the future we want. Yet, the choice Becca has to make is one that seems more than ordinary. How she has to pick between her own escape, and her desire to protect her sister from the survivalist community. To live in a community that only reinforces one option for survival. And how if we only realized we had options, maybe we wouldn’t be so trapped.
By the end, I was staying up to finish the book because Mangle ramps up the suspense. I was always rooting for Becca, but then by the end I ended up needing to keep reading. There were some elements which I felt were a little abrupt and the ending didn’t have as many answers as I would have liked, but Prepped certainly kept me reading!