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

I feel someone standing close by. Ugh. Rhonda the Lunch Librarian, here to demand I throw away my sandwich even though I never leave crumbs.

"Okay, okay, I'll put it away," I mumble without looking up, though it doesn't seem fair. Food is a human need. Books are a human need. It's cruel to make a person choose.

"Put what away?" asks someone who is not Rhonda.

My head snaps up. Standing a foot away from me is the girl from Martha's waiting room, the girl in blue. She's still in blue, actually—same shoes, same Cal Berkeley hoodie. It might even be the same outfit, which is weird, but not as weird as the fact that she's standing here, in my corner where nobody else goes.

Half her body is still behind one of the other bookshelves. She's leaning in like she knows she's invading something private. But she doesn't look nearly as surprised as I feel—she doesn't look surprised at all.

I think she knew I'd be here.

"Can I sit?" she asks, indicating a vague portion of the carpet next to me.

I peek my head around the stacks. There are many available chairs in the center of the library.

"Um. Sure." She plops down but keeps her backpack on. She says nothing as her eyes move up from the tips of my sneakers to the tips of my hair. I untuck the strands behind my ear.

"Yeah," she says softly, on a breath out. "It's you."

I still have no clue how we know each other. But we must; she wouldn't say it like that otherwise. But where? Church girls' camp? Freshman-year PE? The two weeks I played soccer before discovering that I lack both hand-eye and foot-eye coordination?

"I'm really sorry," I say. "I don't remember your name."

"It's Hannah," she says. "Hannah Marks. And you don't have be sorry. We only met on Monday. And I didn't tell you my name then."

What? "We met on Monday?" I bleat.

"Yeah," she says, then looks concerned. "In Martha's office? I mean, in her waiting room. You came out of your appointment and—"

"No, I remember," I say. "I thought maybe we were on the same sports team, or in the same grade."

"We are. You're a junior, right?" I nod. "Me too."

I wait for her to elaborate, as if all I could possibly want to know is that she's Hannah, a junior. After a long silence, it's clear I'll have to speak first.

I clear my throat. "I'm Ellis."

"I know."

"Okay," I say. "That's kind of creepy."

I didn't really mean to say that last part aloud, but she brushes it off with a wave of her hand.

"I only know because I snuck a look at Martha's appointment book."

"That's ... actually creepier."

She shrugs apologetically. "Martha wouldn't tell me, so."

"You asked her about me?"

"Only what your name was."


She blinks. "Because I didn't know."

"Why did you want to know?"

"I've seen you before," she says, though I'm not sure that answers my question.

"Where? Did we have class together?" I ask. "Like last year or something?"

"No," she says. She nods at the dictionary, still flipped open to kestrel. "What are you reading?"

"A dictionary."

"You're reading the dictionary?"

"An etymology dictionary," I clarify. Like that makes it better.

"Whose class is that for?" she asks.

"Oh, no, it's for ... fun."

"Oh. Okay. Cool," she says, so now I know she is Hannah, a junior and a liar. Her eyes move to my half-eaten sandwich. "Do you eat lunch in here?"

I nod.

"Every day?"

I nod, slower.

She sits back on her hands. "You should eat lunch with us."

"Who's 'us'?"

She ignores the question. "We hang out in the park. During lunch and usually after school, too. We meet under the tree across from the Little Theatre. Look for knitting needles."

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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