Cover Image: At the End of Everything

At the End of Everything

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Member Reviews

Great story about the kids at the Hope Juvenile treatment center.  The guards are oddly absent and no one is watching, so an unlikely group bands together and breaks free.  Stopped by the military and told there is a pandemic and they must return.  What happens next is twist after twist in a story of survival.
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This book was rushed to publication.  The structure wasn't tight enough, the characters were too stock, stereotypical and not developed at all. The suspense was not sustained and the  ending too predictable.  Was this an effort to be the first YA book published about a pandemic?  The seed idea this book is based on is a good one, but readers would have been much better served if an editorial team had worked with the author to create something worth reading.
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I really don't know how to review this book.  I found it impossible to put down, I loved many of the characters, I thought the the idea of "throwaway" kids was right on target, and of course a pandemic (plague) is very timely.  BUT (spoiler alert) I hated the ending.  When a character is killed off, especially a loved character (in this case a self-sacrificing character) there should be a reason.  I realize that life is not fair and it doesn't always work out, but the last death in this book was just cruel.  Maybe because I am not a young adult, I am a 68 year old YA librarian, but I read a lot of YA and enjoy it, but this I found just too sad.  I will have to wait to discuss with YA readers and get their opinions--should be interesting.
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*Spoiler free*

I was drawn to this book because it was about the teens left behind, the teens in a juvenile detention center, when a deadly disease hits. I knew it would have a queer and disabled characters. Those things were enough to sell me, and enough for me to want to know what this book is all about. Trigger warnings: misgendering, blood

I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I liked it, but it also wasn't my favorite. I feel sort of neutral towards it. I think it just wasn't for me, but other people are definitely going to fall completely in love with it.

First off, for some reason I was expecting this book, and the disease, to have fantasyish/scifiish edge to it. It does not. Which isn't a bad thing! Just not what I was expecting and I was sort of hoping for. It mirrors real life, and I think I'm still sorting out my feelings about that. I fear that people will write this book off because of it. It's not a bad book at all,  and I hope people give it a chance.

The emotion that this book holds, and evokes, is spectacular. The anger and the frustration and the worry and the pain and pure teenage angst comes through so strongly. It's a book about teenagers, and dang do the teenagers feel like teenagers. So much of their emotion felt so authentic and so real. It was wonderful.

Though, I felt like there were a lot of threads this book was trying to connect, and it left some aspects in ways that could have been fleshed out a bit more. I think I wanted more out of the emotional journeys of all the main characters. Since there is three of them, and there are a ton of side characters as well, there is so much going on. And then there is the overarching plot, and the overarching message. This book does a lot, and I guess I wanted more in some spaces.

This isn't to say that the book felt overpacked or like it left things hanging! There were so many good things it. It didn't feel rushed, and the emotional pull it has is immense. I just wanted more from each character, I think I wanted more from the ending as well. The very ending was a gut punch, and incredibly incredible, but the ending as a whole felt a bit abrupt. It felt like the book was going and going, and then it just ended. I wanted more from the story.

Overall, this is not a bad book. It's emotional and well written and has a wonderful cast of characters.  I firmly believe it is going to find the people who adore it, and I am excited to see them love it.
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How can I begin to review this? It was something! I went in as blindly as I could, didn’t even read the synopsis and it surprised me in a great way. 

This is my first time reading the author and what an amazing pen! The plot, the writing, the characters...all build amazingly.

I flew through it, finished in no time and absolutely recommend.
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For the kids at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center, the days are very structured: they wake up, eat, and go to bed at certain times.  It's a constant, boring cycle, with moments of interest when a new kid arrives and threatens the well-run system. One day, everything just feels off and the guards and other adults in the facility act a bit strange.  And the next day, there are no adults anywhere.  The kids realize that they have been left to fend for themselves,  

When they venture out into the world, they are stopped by soldiers, who let them know that a deadly plague has broken out: an airborne virus that affects the respiratory system.  People all over are dying and the kids have been forgotten at their treatment facility.  As the virus attacks some of the kids, they try to figure out how to survive.  Will they have enough food?  What will they do for the sick and the dead? Will anyone come to their aid?

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this felt timely, but it really dragged on and on.
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Wow, this was an interesting story. Ms. Nijkamp had to have put this together somewhat quickly as 2020s hot topics were all ingrained in the storyline. This novel falls heavily on society dealing with a plague (COVID) as well as both social and political ramifications on that. It's a YA novel and if you have read any of The Shadow Children series, I saw a lot of influence there (I'm curious if the author took any inspiration from this). As the book also covers identity issues and racism, I could see this as a strong novel to incorporate for classroom discussion. very fast read and would recommend!
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A deadly pandemic breaks out...and everyone seems to have forgotten about the kids at Hope, a juvenile rehabilitation facility. In addition to keeping safe from the pandemic, they must also rely on each other for the basic elements of survival. All while not really knowing what’s going on in the world around them. Super chilling in light of current events.
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