Storytelling and heart shine in quirky YA debut exploring teen’s plan to escape her family’s doomsday community


Clinton, MS – Bethany Mangle showcases her storytelling skills in her young adult debut, weaving a narrative together with humor, excitement, and romance. “Prepped,” (February 23, 2021, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster) explores themes from the author’s Korean identity, sisterhood, and finding your place within your family and the world. She creates honest characters against an adventurous backdrop, and captures raw emotions and a sincere portrayal of the teenage experience.

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.

More about “Prepped” and Bethany Mangle

Bethany Mangle | February 23, 2021 | Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster
Hardcover |978-1534477506 | $18.99
Paperback | 978-1534477506 | $10.99
Ebook | 978-1534477506 | $10.99
Young adult contemporary

About The Author

Bethany Mangle is a young adult contemporary author. Her debut novel, PREPPED, will be released on February 23, 2021 by Simon & Schuster/McElderry Books. She currently lives and writes in Mississippi with her husband and their spoiled rotten dog. For more information visit Bethany at


In an interview, Bethany Mangle can discuss:

  • Her representation of family dynamics and sisterhood
  • Prepper communities and the idea of an apocalypse as conflict
  • Being a debut author in the time of a pandemic
  • Writing a Korean-American love interest from an #ownvoices viewpoint
  • Accepting fear vs. letting it take over
  • Using her own teenage experiences when writing characters

An Interview with Bethany Mangle

1. How did your own experiences as a Korean-American teenager reflect in your writing?

When I was growing up, I never read about characters who looked like me or had my background. I wanted to create a Korean love interest to show that diversity does belong in fiction and YA romance. I wanted Roy to be Korean without emphasizing his heritage or needing to justify his race. He’s just an ordinary boy (or as ordinary as you can be in a doomsday community) who happens to be Korean.

2. How did you decide to set your story against the backdrop of a neighborhood of doomsday preppers?

I work in nuclear power and so much of that centers around preparing for the worst case scenario or things that are basically impossible, like a tsunami coming off of a river. I was watching an emergency drill one day when I wondered what it would be like to take that level of preparedness and apply it to a character’s home life instead.

3. The main character, Becca, searches for belonging, worries about the future, and tries to fully understand the dynamics of her family. How did you draw from your own experiences and emotions and capture that in fiction?

I just tried to remember what it was like when I was a teenager and I was worried about whether any of my choices were the right ones. Becca’s struggle centers around that fear that one mistake at a pivotal moment in your life could change everything forever.

4. What inspired you to start writing?

I literally cannot remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I used to dictate stories to my grandmother before I knew how to physically write words. I’ve just always wanted to do it.

5. What made you decide to write a young adult novel?

I read a lot of young adult and decided to try it. I love books that explore themes of belonging and navigating personal identity. I also like the thought that I can contribute to teens seeing themselves represented in fiction as publishing embraces diversity.