Cover Image: A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

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Member Reviews

A complex survivalistic story with heartbreaking moments and such well thought-out worldbuilding. I love the details such as the main character knowing from photos what a crowd of people looks like but not what that smells like or sounds like, or the fact that dialogue in French is spelled out phonetically because that's how the main character understands it, leaving the reader to also kind of have to guess what the other person is saying as if we're understanding as little as the main character is.
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First off, I would love to be alone with just a dog (actually, just my cat) at the end of the world. Something about it seems ...peaceful?

Okay, well this book proves that it is absolutely not. Griz, who lives in an eerily quiet apocalyptic world, takes us on an adventure when a redbearded shithead (yep) stole one of his dogs. And you KNOW Griz has to get her back. 

"Never trust someone who tells good stories, not until you know why they're doing it."

This was a haunting, unassumingly exciting read. The reader feels like they're facing the obstacles alongside Griz, instead of simply reading it. All of the characters were well written and the atmosphere was palpably dangerous. Apocalyptic, end-of-the-world stories are very popular right now, but this one feels fresh and new. 

Thanks to Orbit Books for and ARC of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World in exchange for an honest review.
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I am a member of the American Library Association Reading List Award Committee. This title was suggested for the 2020 list. It was not nominated for the award. The complete list of winners and shortlisted titles is at 
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I liked this book but not as much as I expected. I usually really enjoy post-apocalyptic writing but this one dragged a bit for me. It became a case of liking the premise more than the execution.
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This novel is AMAZING! The narrative is excellent and the timing is impeccable. The structure is unique and well-done. This story deals with the post-apocalypse in a much more internalized way so that it just feels like another occurrence. The real mastery is the character development and poignant situations which are relatable and incredible all at once. Definitely one of my favorites of the year and an indisputable must read!
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I loved the reference to the cult favorite movie with script by Harlan Ellison.  Honestly that was the high point for me.  The story was better than workmanlike but it did not live up to my, perhaps, overblown hopes for it.
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I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I loved the story of Griz searching for the dog Brand stole. The author created a really vital world in the future where the Gelding had happened and made a lot of people infertile, killing off most of humanity. On the journey Griz meets a woman from France looking for someone that killed her family with a disease. And the ending is jarring. Great story telling.
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Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis

When a beloved family dog is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back in this fiercely compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts.

My name’s Griz. My childhood wasn’t like yours. I’ve never had friends, and in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football.

My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came.

There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.

Because if we aren’t loyal to the things we love, what’s the point?

Review

Big thanks to the publisher and author for an advanced reading copy of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

First eye catching this about this novel is the title and cover. There is very much a Girl With All the Gifts vibe going on with the cover design, WHICH I LOVE, and the storyline has a similar POV of a young child in a post-apocalyptic world.

Unlike TGWAtG, ABaHDatEotW doesn’t deal with zombified humans and survival amongst their numbers, but it does deal with surviving what humanity is reduced to after a world-changing event. It is the relationships that are built when all hope is lost, and the trust you have with another to survive.

Seeing the world from Griz’s viewpoint is sort of mind-blowing as the everyday items we tend to take for granted are full of excitement and wonder when he stumbles upon them. It is this naivety, along with the companionship he shares with his dog, Jip, that completely enraptured me and kept my heart in this story and with Griz. Connecting with characters in the worlds I explore through reading will always be a deal-sealer when it comes to finishing books.

But let’s be honest: I really read this book for the dogs. Having 3 of them myself, I am the Dean Koontz of suckers for books with dogs somehow incorporated in them. And before you get any hesitancy about terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things happening to doggos in the novel, I can put your mind at ease (somewhat) as there are plenty of highs to go with the lows.

Overall, A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a captivating read full of fantastic world-building, enthralling characters, and plenty of heart. It is the post-apocalyptic book of 2019 that you need to have on your TBR and is an adventure that you do not want to miss.
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A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher is a book that refuses to be contained to a single genre and instead smoothly masters several. Fantasy, coming of age, dystopian, apocalyptic...it is all of these and none.

"...Of all the animals that have travelled the long road through the ages with us, dogs always walked closest.
And those that remain are still with us now, here at the end of the world. And there may be no law left except what you make it, but if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you. If we're not loyal to the things we love, what's the point? That's like not having a memory. That's when we stop being human.
That's a kind of death, even if you keep breathing..."

Griz lives with his family on an island, only them and the dogs they kept. The world has changed and the family sought safety on the remote island. Griz is too young to know any other kind of life. He has heard tales of the world of before. Our world, before everything changed. Griz has never had any friends and has never met enough people to even field a football team. Just Griz and his family and their dogs. Until the stranger came. The thief.

"...You really think a dog's life is worth a human's? he said.
A life's a life, I said. And those lives were in my care.
You're crazy, he said.
I know what I am, I said. And I know what you are too.
And what's that? he said.
Someone who doesn't know what they are, I said. Someone who lies, even to themselves. A thief who think's he's not a bad man..."

The man known as Brand showed up on Griz's island one day and traded with Griz's father. But when he left, he took one of the dogs. Griz's dog. Griz took his own boat and followed, going into a world that he has been in. Shores and ruin cities that he had only ever read about in books. Following the thief. But in the new world, the broken and ruined world, Griz begins to learn more about the humanity that failed. The world that fell apart. But Griz also finds that he is unprepared for the world beyond his island, and the secrets that his parents have kept from him.

"...I saw the hooded figure and I saw the pale horse she sat on, and I saw the long double-barrelled gun she was holding, pointed up at the sky like a knight's lance..."

The disease that had ravaged the world especially attacked the female of the species and young girls of any species, human and dog, were prized. And to often traded or taken. That is why the thief took Griz's dog, because she was female and fit to be bred. Now Griz is in a world whose dangers and traps he knows too little of. But Griz has a secret all his own as well, a secret that puts Griz in even more danger. 

Griz's journey is both through the landscape of a world ravaged and a civilization in ruin. There are hints of Charleston Heston riding on a beach at the end of Planet of the Apes. Look it up. But it is not just the journey through a country that no longer exists as the journey that Griz must take within his own mind. The truths and half truths and outright lies he has lived with for his entire life. Brand tries to convince Griz over time to return to his island and forget this journey. And over the novel we begin to see Brand as perhaps not the bad man Griz thinks him to be and perhaps not a thief at all. This is something that Griz has to accept if he is to survive.

The novel also shows how fragile civilization is. How a disease that mainly targets the female of the species can turn women from humans to a commodity. This is nothing new, conquerors how been taking the women of their enemies for breeding since time eternal. Here, in this dystopian future, it has become a reality. 

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is the kind of morality tale that science fiction/fantasy use to do so well and it is refreshing to see it done so again. 

A truly good read!
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A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a proper end-of-the-world story, as it has everything you want in such stories. Plus, the entire story revolves around a boy's attempt to get back his dog. That type of loyalty goes a long way towards overcoming any of the story's pitfalls. Thankfully, there are few to none. C. A. Fletcher provides a history so that we can understand Griz' world and why the sight of other people fills one with fear and not excitement. The world into which Griz ventures is harsh and dangerous but not without its beauty as well. Griz' journey is exciting and refuses to follow any pattern, meaning it never becomes predictable or mundane. It is the type of story that engages your imagination while Griz' struggles engage your sympathies. It is the type of book I had hoped more people would read because it is engrossing and provides a plethora of discussion topics. Have you read it? What did you think?
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I received this via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I loved it guys. This book was just what I wanted It to be. The characters were very well flushed out. I loved the plot of this. I can not wait to read more by this author. I highly recommend this book.
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This book was so heartwarming and cute but so sad and heartbreaking. I don't normally go for post-apocalyptic stories, as they aren't really my style, but this one ended up entertaining me quite a bit, which is a positive surprise. It was written, though, in a very weird say, at least for me, which kind of ruined some parts of it.
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Oh boy, what a novel! I enjoy dystopia and have read dozens of them, but A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World was something new. Not only in the setting -- both "not in the US" and decades after the apocalypse -- but also in the main character and how the author viewed the after-apocalypse. I recommend this novel to any readers who enjoy dystopia, young adult fiction, thrillers, action and introspection.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced reader copy of C.A. Fletcher's new book!
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And there may be no law left except what you make it, but if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.
If we're not loyal to the things we love, what's the point? That's like not having a memory. That's when we stop being human. That's kind of death, even if you keep breathing.

This is the story about a young boy, Griz, who is looking for his stolen dog throughout a new "unexplored" world (at least from his point of view).
On his journey, he tries to patch together the world as it was Before from the ruins that are left behind, wondering how it would be to live in a world where everything was taken for granted.

With so many marvels around you, did you stop seeing some of them?

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is an intriguing book with really good twists, especially towards the end.
The chapters often end in a catchy way that makes you want to keep reading, and, even though sometimes the author dwells in long and detailed descriptions of surroundings that kind of throttle you back, don't let it stop you, because the end will be worth the effort.
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There are three dogs in my house. (I can’t call them my dogs, because they’re very clearly my mother’s dogs, but I do pet them and one of them beats my legs with his rat tail on the daily, so.) Two older Husky/German Shepherd mixes named Ozzy and Apollo, and then the 7-month-old GS named Samson (also called Sam, Sam-Bam, Sampy, Asshole, and Oh God What’s In Your Mouth Drop That Right Now Jesus Christ).

Without exaggeration, without hyperbole, without any hint of a lie: I would die for these dogs. They’re the babies. (I’m a cat parent to my fat cat son Mad Max, whom I would also die for, but he’s like 12 pounds of Concentrated Rage and I trust him to hold his own.) They’re dumb in that toddler way, in that they can make doors work and know how to yell for Mom, but are deathly afraid of the basement stairs and balloons.

This book punched me right in my dumb dog-loving heart. So let’s talk about A BOY AND HIS DOG AT THE END OF THE WORLD by C.A. Fletcher.


In this novel, the world didn’t end from some nuclear attack, or some deadly plague. Instead, humanity found itself barren. And over the course of time, it found itself dwindled down to just several thousand people spread across the globe and trying to live their best life.

Griz and his family are some of those people – hanging out, growing food and rebuilding the things they need from scavenged scraps, enjoying the days the best they can. And of course, that means dogs.

Brand is another one of those people, but his philosophy is more about fairness and getting what he deserves than anything else.

I won’t beat around the bush: he stole Griz’s dog. He stole the kid’s dog. And Griz, not being one to take this lying down, runs out after him with his other dog, Jip, to rescue his other pup from Brand’s nefarious clutches.

Included with my galley (from the beloved Netgalley, I owe them my life) was an author’s note that asked that I not reveal the twists and turns of this particular novel, and I’m doing my best here. There is a wee spoiler on the podcast, but the timestamps are noted and it’s not even the biggest spoiler.

In the episode, I talk craft about the prose. Here, I’m going to talk about endings.

The world is hard. The world is cruel. Some suffer more than others, and bad endings tend to heap on those that suffer in ways others never will. I’m speaking of things like the “bury your gays” trope, the inability for disabled protagonists to be portrayed as happy despite acknowledging their disability sucks ass, how often the victims never get justice and abusers never face consequences. In media these days, gritty “happily never afters” are used more and more for that fantastic realism, without realizing that so many people already face it enough and turn to media to see something other than a mirror.

So I want to thank this book for handling the end the way it did. There’s a thousand ways it could’ve gone, a thousands ways to suffer, and instead we got . . . something warming. Something that says no matter how dark the times get, no matter how cruel the world acts, sometimes there’s a bright spot on the horizon that can help guide you home.

I’m not saying what happened. I’m just saying that the end is deserved, by both Griz and the reader. This book was an up-and-down adventure, and the ending was the gentle coast we needed for the sake of being able to breathe after putting the book down.

I also want to thank this book for giving me a reason to avoid my cousins all last weekend. Which is even better.

The book’s out now, so I’d recommend getting some hands on it (preferably yours). It’s got that good summertime feel to it, even though it’s 40 degrees in Nebraska right now. (I’m not saying I’m gonna fight god for warmer weather, but I’m making brunch and all he’s getting served is These Hands(c).)

Check out the podcast episode THE ROAD TO MY DOG to hear more!
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I found the narrative style difficult to follow, and I couldn't seem to connect with the main character's voice. I don't know if it's because I'm ultimately not a dog person? The premise sounded like something I would enjoy, but I found myself skimming it more than enjoying it.
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An unidentified disaster, referred to as the Gelding, has  rendered most of the humans on Earth unable to reproduce. The population has dwindled to almost nothing and the people who are left lead a very isolated existence. Dogs also have trouble reproducing because few females are born, so they are a valuable commodity for their companionship. The story is told in the form of a journal written by a boy nicknamed Griz, who lives with his parents, siblings and dogs.   He directs his writing to an unknown boy in a photo that Griz found. Griz has never ventured away from home until a stranger shows up one day and steals Jess, one of their female dogs.  Griz and another of their dogs pursue the thief, but their pursuit doesn’t go as planned. 

I liked the beginning and end of this book, and I didn’t see the big twist coming at the end, but the middle got a little repetitive.  Griz encountered numerous dangers, however I never really felt a sense of urgency about his troubles.  The book held my interest, but I think it might might have more appeal to a fan of YA fiction. The twist at the end raised my rating from 3.5 to 4 stars. 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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argh. i'm annoyed. i was so excited by this book, but was left super frustrated by the entire thing. not sure it helped by putting a "don't talk about spoilers" page in at the front, because my expectations were set crazy high at that point. I love dystopian novels, but I think my issue with this one was that the main character, Griz, spends a majority of the book alone. I think people are drawn to dystopian novels because there's something intriguing about the human condition when people are put in crazy "end of the world" scenarios. I think as a reader we enjoy these books because we put ourselves in the shoes of the characters and think about what we would do if were living through the end of times. Here, Griz spends a majority of the book sailing alone and walking alone. Not much happens. There's some really interesting themes explored once Griz finally meets a community of people, but it never really takes off. As for the twists, one of them is interesting, a couple are surprising, but moreso because I forgot about certain plot points that were all of a sudden resurrected. Overall, not for me.
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I ended up really enjoying this book.  As soon as I saw the title and read the description for this book, I knew that I absolutely had to read it.  I looked forward to reading this book for months.  Unfortunately, I had a really hard time getting into this book.  I really think that this had more to do with my life than the book but I did have some doubts.  I did hang in there with the book and am so glad that I did but this was a book that I couldn't put down before it was all over. 

I love a good end of the world story and I also love stories that involve dogs.  This book had both of those elements so it had a whole lot going for it before I even got too involved in the story.  I loved this take on the end of the world.  It was a little different than other books that I have read and I thought that it was one of the most realistic explanations that I have seen.  I really felt like this could happen which really added to the impact of the story. 

Griz was a great character and I found him really easy to relate to from the start.  I didn't always understand everything he was doing but I was behind him on his main quest.  Without a doubt, I know that if someone took my dog, I would do whatever was in my power to get her back and Griz felt exactly the same way.  It was really interesting to see Griz navigate parts of the world that he has never seen as he tracked down his beloved Jess.  I loved his descriptions of what was left of the world and found that I was easily able to visualize what he was seeing.

This book is told by Griz as he writes in his journal.  I think that I had a bit of difficulty with Griz's voice at the start of the book but eventually warmed up to it.  There were a few times were words were spelled as Griz heard them instead of the proper spelling which I would have preferred but I think that this was really the best way to tell this story.

I do recommend that readers go into this book as blindly as possible.  There were a few twists that I didn't see coming which made this book really enjoyable.  I do highly recommend this book but strongly suggest that readers avoid any possibility of coming across a spoiler.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Orbit Books via NetGalley.
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Let me tell you, a raging debate took place in my mind when deciding whether or not to place a request to read this book. On one side we have the fact that the book description sounds right up my alley, and I’m almost always looking for a good post-apocalyptic story, especially one that seems to be trying to do something new and avoiding the over-saturated realm of dystopian fiction. On the other hand, the book description references a dog being stolen….and I would NOT be ok if something happened to the dog. And let’s be real, this is a tragic world we’re entering, chances are good something would happen to the dog! But in the end, I let my better angels persuade me that fear of pet-related tragedy wasn’t a good enough reason not to read what otherwise sounded like an awesome book. And I’m so glad I did!

Generations have passed since the end of the world as we know it. But while everything is different, much is still the same, like the love of Griz’s small family and the special connection between Griz and his dogs. In a world gone quiet, made up of brief sailing trips to scavenger for more supplies, the dogs provide crucial support not only in their rabbit-catching abilities but in the happy-go-lucky, loving relationship that has always marked the special bond between dogs and humanity. So when Griz wakes to find one dog has been stolen away, he knows what he must do. What follows is a harrowing tale of endurance in the face of impossible odds, small beauties to be found in emptiness and tragedy, and the special place family, be that human or dog, holds in what could otherwise be a bleak existence.

There was so much to love about this book that it’s hard to know where to start. I think one thing that really stood out to me was the world itself. From the very first page, the emptiness and quiet of this new world was apparent. What also stood out was the fact that our narrator, Griz, has come on the scene several generations after the event that struck down the world we know. That being the case, Griz is piecing together the remnants of a foreign world and society, to varying levels of success. The reader is often left guessing as to what exactly Griz is referencing or describing, since he doesn’t always know the purpose behind the things or places he discovers. There was also a character who spoke a different language and the way this was handled was especially clever. The determined and curious reader will have a lot of fun unpacking these bits.

Griz is also a very effective narrator. The story is written in first person told from a Griz who is relating his story from some period in the future. That being the case, there are often references to the fact that some choice or another will have some impact down the line that past-Griz wouldn’t have known about but that present (and narrating) Griz now reflects upon through different eyes. As for the character, Griz was a lovely combination of being innocently naive while also supremely capable in the face of numerous challenges. There is a sense of sadness woven throughout the story, but Griz’s reflections throughout are poignant and often hopeful in the face of some very sad things. I often found myself wanting to highlight various quotes throughout and will definitely be going back to note a few to reference later.

The story is also both what I expected and much more. There is a lot happening throughout, but it also read at a slow, measured pace, giving ample time to focus on, again, the beautiful, quiet reflections of Griz. I really enjoyed how well-balanced the story felt. There is real danger to this world, and we get a few really great action scenes to highlight this fact (but not necessarily the danger you would expect, which, again worked in favor of keeping the story feeling new and original). But there was also time spent highlighting the strangeness of human interactions and relationships in a world where very few humans even exist.

I won’t spoil anything, but there’s definitely an interesting twist towards the end. I ended up guessing it, but I still think it was done very well. In fact, it’s the kind of follow through on a surprise that I wish we had seen in another book I reviewed recently. If you read this one, you’ll know what other book I’m talking about! I also won’t give away what happens with the dog. I will say that there were tears on and off throughout the book, but I still left it feeling incredibly satisfied and immediately passed it off to my friends and family. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic stories, this is definitely one worth checking out!

Rating 10: I loved this book, heart-wrenching and heart-warming at the same time.
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