A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2019

Member Reviews

Rating: ★★★★


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?


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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**Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit Books for an e-copy of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World in exchange for an honest review.**

Quite frankly, I was hooked as soon as I saw the title and cover of this book. What an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic tale! The story begins with Griz, our narrator, explaining what his life is like with his family after multiple events slowly wiped out the vast majority of the world's population. When an interesting visitor shows up at their island home telling tales of his travels all over, the family is in awe. However, the visitor isn't exactly who he says he is. When Griz realizes this thief stole his beloved dog, he doesn't hesitate to sail after him to get her back. 

This wasn't action-packed like I thought it would be when I read the first few chapters. It's a journal style writing so it's more about day to day happenings. Sometimes I found myself a bit bored. 3 stars for me.
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I can’t give this book a full review because I couldn’t read very much of it. The beginning couldn’t catch my attention. I’m going to give it a while longer, read some other books and, then, come back and try again. I hope to read the entire book at some point.
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A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher is a very highly recommended story of a quest set in a dystopian world. Great novel!

Griz and family live on an island off the west coast of Scotland. They are part of only a few thousand people left in the world. The world has suffered a soft apocalypse that is called the Gelding, a global epidemic of infertility that left the vast majority of the world's population unable to have children. Griz's family sees no one else, so it is just them and their beloved dogs. Griz's dog are are Jip and Jess. When a red haired stranger shows up, saying he is a trader, he seems friendly, but when he leaves, he steals food and Griz's dog, Jess. Griz jumps into a boat along with Jip and they give chase, because you can't steal a person's dog and if you aren't loyal to those you love, what's the point?

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is an excellent, compelling, un-put-down-able story and I know this will be a contender for one of the best books of the year. It is written through Griz's voice via journal entries written after the fact. There is foreshadowing expertly interwoven in the tale of survival and courage in a strange world full of ruins. Griz is devoted to Jip and Jess and will do anything to rescue Jess from the stranger. The suspense and tension is palatable as danger abounds everywhere.

No spoilers, as I want to respect Fletcher's wishes to allow readers to experience the journey as it unfolds, so I'm not going to say too much more. The writing, though, is exceptional, and the tension and suspense is kept high. This is a classic story of an epic quest. Griz is a great character, well-developed and believable in this very different world. There are some plot twists that you will not see coming and they will shock and astound you.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Orbit.

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The world has ended, not with a bang, but more of a whimper. There were no meteors, no alien invasions, no zombie apocalypse. Instead, people just stopped reproducing. No more babies = no more humans. Of course, if that were 100% true, this would be a very short book. A minute percentage continued to conceive, and lived on in the fringes of the world, where they became known as Outliers.
Griz is one such Outlier.  A teenager who lives on a remote island with his family, about 100 or so years after the last of the infertile humans (the Baby Busters) died. Life is hard as they struggle to survive with just each other for company. Griz’s younger sister died at an early age, and his mother suffered severe brain trauma  There is another family on a nearby island, but we hear little of them and they don’t factor into the tale. Anyway, one day a trader arrives at their island, and charms the family, although Griz has his suspicions. When our hero discovers his family have been drugged and his dog Jess stolen, Griz leaves his drugged family and chases after the thief, setting him on an adventure that will blow his young mind
This book is all about Griz. Our hero is not like those irksome teens we see on TV or prowling out streets. He is smart, well-read, resourceful and brave, although he’s also impulsive and tends to let his fears distract him. But you will root for him all the way through, even when he makes some bonehead mistakes (he is a teenager). Griz tells the story, writing of his journey to a long-dead kid in a photograph he found in a house. His perception of the world, enhanced somewhat by his love of books, is amazing, and his little asides about how he doesn’t understand the likes of crowds and other things we take for granted are impressive. The writing style is that of an erudite teenager with no real schooling or opportunity to hone his schools, but it’s entertaining throughout, and I have a thing for unique writing styles.
Also along  for the ride is Griz’s other dog, Jip, who is a character in his own right. The little terrier is brave and fearless, and provides a staunch companion. Jip often provides moments of wisdom for when Griz is struggling to make the right choice, or about to make a bad one. 
On the road Griz meets a French woman, who he calls John Dark (get it?), and it can be quite comical watching the two of them try to communicate through mime and an English-French dictionary, and he often makes reference to the fact that he can’t actually talk to the first person he met in the big empty world. Her motivations are always viewed with doubt, but she is a compelling character.
The final major character is Brand, the trader who sparks the events of the book. Brand has a silver tongue, a glimmer man of sorts, and often endeavours to prey on Griz and his inexperience of people. But he also doesn’t seem to be a killer, sparing Griz on occasion, despite threatening him often. Their paths don’t cross that often, but they are memorable confrontations. 
There is one more character, and even though it never utters a line, it dominates the book, and that is the big empty world. Griz’s journey takes him across the north of England, and the decay of once great towns and cities is apparent. Much of what Griz experiences he knows only from books, and he has to recognise what he sees with his mind’s eye. Nature had reclaimed the world, and many species of animal have found their way back into the British countryside, making adding peril to our hero’s journey.
To sum up, this was a compelling read and I found I didn’t want to put the book down, from the introduction to the jaw-dropping twists down the road. If you read my reviews, you’ll know I considered The Gutter Prayer to be potentially my favourite book of 2019. It’s just been knocked off the top spot.

6 stars out of 5
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A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a dystopian tale of self-discovery, following a boy who doesn’t understand how things work in a post-apocalyptic landscape, who leaves the safety of his family island to bring his dog home. We see him experiencing the world for the first time, leaving the readers to balance a sense of wonderment and a sadness for what once was and can no longer be.

The real strength of the book lies in the elaborate creation of its setting. As the boy travels from home, the setting shifts along with our perceptions of his predicament. In the beginning, we see the safety of home, the pieced together lodgings and every day sights taken for granted. The world seems a little fresher at times with its lush vegetation strewn about local islands, slowly overtaking the few remaining homes. As the boy ventures further, the world becomes more wild and unexpected, revealing new hazards and wonders alike. 

You really get to know the main character and, through his eyes, the many intricacies of this changed world. Even when it seems terrifying to our sheltered selves, to him it’s an exciting adventure as he gets to experience things we’d never bat an eyelash at. The book really makes you think about appreciating what we have while we have it. 

Fletcher does a great job at balancing the tragedy of a dystopian world with the need to discover it. The remnants of a normal day are everywhere, left behind for time to overtake. Mixed in with the boy’s experiences is a sense of dread at the world becoming such a dead place. The realities of the setting are amplified by the boy’s ongoing conversation of a photograph from our time. He imagines what it would be like to walk the pristine streets, to ride a rollercoaster or fly in a plane. It’s a balance between excitement for the character and tragedy at what we could lose. 

Overall, A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World is a great dystopian novel, following a protagonist I was eager to know. His mission is simple at the start and gradually grows to change his life entirely. There’s suspense and excitement, joy and sorrow, and everything necessary for a great read.
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I never thought I'd be using "cozy" and "huggable" to describe a post-apocalyptic book...and yet here we are. I went into A Boy and His Dog thinking it'd be a story about the celebration of dogs against an end-of-the-world backdrop.

I was wrong.

It's a story about the celebration of life.

This book tackles the end of the world from an angle that I haven't seen before in the genre, and I think what it achieves for post-apocalyptic fiction is similar to what Life is Beautiful achieves for Holocaust ones--taking what is traditionally a grim subject matter and injecting it with an astonishing amount of hope and goodness. And you can hurl the exact same criticisms for A Boy and His Dog that people do for Life is Beautiful: that it's not dark enough, that it doesn't portray all the horrors of the situation, that it's too positive and hopeful.

But you know what? I don't think there's such a thing as too positive and hopeful. Not with stories like these.

Griz's narration is everything. It's companionable and warm, like you've been friends for your whole lives and this is just a story that he's telling you over a breakfast table. And it's laced with empathy and introspection that I think most book lovers can recognize and fall in love with. And he does this thing where he gets a certain feeling from looking at something or experiencing something, but he can't quite explain it with plain adjectives, so he tries to describe around it using imagery and comparisons to other things, and I just had to pause and stare at my tablet because it reminded me so much of myself and I rarely come across characters who think like this.

But the most brilliant part of the story is how Griz rebuilds this ruined world into something new--something quiet yet wondrous--just through his narration. He comes across empty bridges and crumbling buildings and old dusty records, but he doesn't see them as the loss of a civilization. He doesn't think, "Look what's become of humanity." He thinks, "Look what humanity has achieved." It's one of the most beautiful examples you can get of a character creating the world.

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), there aren't a ton of speculative book characters that I actually want to pull into this world and be best friends with. But with Griz? Sleepovers, baking sessions, camping trips, movie nights, book discussions--I want to do them all because he is my kind of people.

That being said, I did want more scenes of Griz bonding with his dogs; I kind of thought this would be a dog story first, post-apocalypse second, but the dogs felt more like catalysts for plot development than actual characters. And the ending wasn't as meaty as I'd hoped it would be. I wouldn't say "disappointing" but I was expecting something with a bit more impact. I think these complaints are fairly small in the grand of scheme of things, though.

A Boy and His Dog is the feeling of snuggling under your blanket fort, listening to the rain patter outside. A book that shines a light on the small everyday things we take for granted and says, "How magical. How beautiful. How extraordinary." And if the world ends in a fiery inferno tomorrow, I'll rest happily knowing that Griz will be narrating the life that comes after.
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Many Thanks to NetGalley, Orbit Books and C.A. Fletcher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy.

There is a note from C.A. Fletcher that says, and I’m paraphrasing, that is would be a kindness to other readers that the discoveries you make while you follow Griz’s journey remain a secret between us, meaning the reader and Fletcher. Who am I to go against an author’s wishes, and after reading, I understand why he is making this request. I almost think this is a disservice to categorize it as science fiction/fantasy genre, because there are readers, yes I know hard to believe, that will discount a book simply because they don’t “enjoy” that genre. I am telling you, this book is a must read, for everyone, no matter what genre you think you read. It is about love, family, loyalty, doing the right thing even when it is hard and all sorts of other things that make it so much more than a stereotypical science fiction/fantasy novel. 

If you haven’t gathered, I loved everything about this book. I really found it compelling, suspenseful, touching, endearing and everything else you might want in a novel. It has adventure and heart. I think kids of all ages will enjoy this but there are scary parts, so sensitive kids and the young should wait to read this one. There are so many ways I could use this in a classroom setting, I would pick this as a classroom novel and do a whole unit on this. It is so rich. There are so many themes to explore, and it brings up so many questions, I would love to do this with a classroom of kids and hear their ideas. Griz is a noble character with great qualities and equally great flaws. The pacing of the book is tense and exciting. The story is one that will stay with me and I will be sorry to say goodbye to the characters. 

Do yourself a favour - child, young adult, or adult and pick this one up.
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