Author Interview: Prepped by Bethany Mangle
In the year of a pandemic, books that feature prepping, viral outbreaks, and other dystopian ideas are aplenty and Prepped is the latest! Prepped features a set of families who are prepping for the end of the world – and a youth who can’t wait to get out. We checked in with author Bethany Mangle about what motivates her characters, how she preps for the future, and how she tells a story with not very likeable parents! Check out our interview below and pick up Prepped, out now!
Preppedby Bethany Mangle
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
on February 23, 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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.
Author Interview with Bethany Mangle
Talk to us about Becca and Roy. What lunch tables would they sit at? What motivates them in life?
Becca and Roy are definitely the type to sit by themselves at lunch since they’re used to being separate from the other kids at school. They’re both motivated by the future and their desire to be true to their loved ones. For Roy, he wants what’s best for Becca in addition to his own dreams. For Becca, she’s torn between reciprocating that loyalty to Roy while also protecting her little sister.
Prepped is set in a community focused on preparing for the future. How did teenage Bethany approach prepping for the future? Is it different for the Bethany of today?
I wouldn’t say I prepared for the future much as a teenager beyond wanting to get good grades and earn scholarships to be able to attend college. In my adult life, I don’t tend to plan too far ahead because I know things can always change.
In YA, we often have absent parents. In Prepped, Becca’s family is central, yet unhealthy. How did you craft the world Becca lives in, which has been driven by her parent’s?
I mostly started with the idea of having a multi-generational doomsday prepping community where people like Becca’s parents grew up with the same ideology they later imparted on their own children. To some extent, Becca’s parents have such a rigid and unhealthy view of what she wants because they were denied the ability to follow their own dreams when they were young.