Excerpt from Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Let's Call It a Doomsday

by Katie Henry

Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie  Henry X
Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie  Henry
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2019, 400 pages
    Aug 2020, 416 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Catherine M Andronik
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About this Book

Print Excerpt

"She wanted to know what I talked about in therapy."

He sighs.

"She wanted to know if I talked about her."

"She likes to be in the loop," he says. "Just like you."

I roll my eyes. Mom and I could not be more different. Like I'd ever host parties or stand up in front of a crowd to teach Sunday school. Like I'd ever have as many friends as she does, or know how to comfort someone who's grieving, or argue with a salesperson over a gift card balance and win.

Mom is afraid of nothing and no one. And I'm—well, there's a reason she asked Dad to check the oven, not me.

"I'll talk to her," Dad assures me, running a hand through hair that's the same deep brown as mine, the same thickness and inability to curl. My sister inherited my mom's dark yellow hair—she won't let anyone call it "dirty blond"—her slight build and light coloring. Dad was adopted as a baby, so I'm the only one in our entire extended family that looks like him. Tall and broad-shouldered, capable of tanning when the rest of them just burn. Oddballs in a family of pocket-size blonds.

There's a lot I don't like about myself, but I do like the way I look. I can stand in the back row and still see, unlike my mom. I can go outside in summer without putting on sunscreen every ten seconds, unlike Em.

I didn't always like it. Like when I was nine and at a family reunion, running around with my cousins, and one of my dad's sisters said I was like a "moose in a deer herd." I was old enough to know it wasn't a compliment. When I told Dad, he said, "You like eating venison, right, Ellis?"


"And that's deer."


"Have you ever eaten a moose?"


"That's because it's a lot harder to take down a moose." He winked. "Or an elk."

He talked to Aunt Karissa, and she never said anything like that again. So maybe he can get through to Mom. Eventually.

Mom's phone call and the lasagna are both done before Em bursts through the door—late, as always. Ballet slippers falling out of her dance bag, bun half unraveled, talking about eighteen things at once, as always.

"Sorry, sorry, sorry I'm late." She dumps her bag and kicks off her shoes in the middle of the kitchen doorway. I start counting the seconds until she trips over them. "Lizzy's mom drove me home but first she—oh wait, I have a permission slip for—" She turns back for her bag. "Whoops." There's the trip, seven seconds in. She retrieves a crumpled blue form. "But so anyway, Lizzy's mom wanted to ask about the date for the winter recital—are we going to Utah for Christmas this year? Because we can't fly until it's over—okay, but then so after Lizzy's mom asked, I remembered I wanted to talk to Miss Orstrevsky about—ugh, these tights are killing me."

She plops down in a kitchen chair and rolls her dance tights farther up her legs. "I was thinking it would be cool if we did a piece from Tchaikovsky's The Snow Maiden because it's not like I don't like The Nutcracker but it's kind of played out."

"I hope you didn't hold up Lizzy's mom too long," Mom says. "She's very nice to drive you home."

"Don't worry," Em says to Mom, as if they aren't both biologically incapable of worrying about anything. "She loves me."

Of course she does. Everyone loves Em.

"If we could start eating before midnight, please," Mom says, and ushers us all into the dining room.

We fold our arms as Dad says the blessing over the food, then dig in. Conversation is, as usual, heavily dominated by Em. Today at school, she had to complete a ten-year plan. She thought this was exciting, which only shows how different we are. Not only do I not know what I'd do in a decade, I'm increasingly unsure the world will even last that long. But my sister's got plans.

"First I'm going to graduate high school," she reports. "Then I'll go to college on the East Coast, then I'll go on a mission, then I'll get married in the temple and become a wildlife biologist."

Excerpted from Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry. Copyright © 2019 by Katie Henry. Excerpted by permission of Katherine Tegan Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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