Cover Image: At the End of Everything

At the End of Everything

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A very thought-provoking and timely read. It is an emotional rollercoaster that ranges from heartbreaking to full of hope. Being left at a detention center when a pandemic occurs puts the action into overdrive within the story. The story has its ups and downs and I felt like it ended abruptly.
Was this review helpful?
i didn't enjoy this book, and DNFed it around half way. i don't think it's fair to review this book based on that.
Was this review helpful?
Whew, I was not ready for a pandemic read, especially one that feels post-apocalyptic/dystopian (not one of my favorite genres). I liked This Is Where It Ends, so I was excited to read more Nijkamp. And while I didn't love the way this one began, I grew to appreciate how much the characters were there for each other, and the literal and metaphorical themes of abandonment of our most vulnerable really cut me deeply as I read. I understand that this might be a TOUGH read for many, but it's worth it.
Was this review helpful?
This was a little bit rough to read during a pandemic, as it takes place during a horrible pandemic as well, but it was a great book which I will definitely purchase for my library. I appreciated how the setting (a juvenile detention facility) forced the kids there to really depend on themselves and work together after the guards abandoned them when the illness began. Many of the kids there don't feel super confident about themselves or their abilities, have been let down or abandoned by others, and have difficulty trusting people. By struggling through a pandemic together, despite many difficulties, those that survive find new kinds of strength within themselves. The end was pretty heartbreaking, and I suspect I won't be actively recommending this book still for a little while, but I think it will find an audience when the real-world pandemic isn't quite so fresh.
Was this review helpful?
Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is a misnomer; there is no hope in this juvenile detention center. When the guards start acting odd and then its residents wake up to no supervision, the teens feel a little celebratory. Though they’ve grown accustomed to living by strict schedules and demands, now they get to make all of the decisions. And one of the first choices is do we leave to find out what’s going on, or do we stay with what we know? The answer splits Hope’s residents in half, only to have the group who leaves discover that a deadly, highly contagious disease is spreading outside of the boundary fence. Armed guards, in fact, are stationed at the gate to keep them in, and they have no words of advice or comfort. When illness breaks out at Hope, the teens must join together to survive. But getting close to and helping others goes against everything they’re used to and puts them at a greater risk of becoming sick. As more people become ill and supplies dwindle, leaders step up to help. But with no rescue or aid in sight, will these teens make it out alive or will the infectious disease take over?

THOUGHTS: Written during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Nijkamp will captivate readers with this sci-fi thriller. Narrated by a diverse group of teens, readers will root for their survival and be amazed at what limits they push themselves to in order to make it out alive. Recommended for high school collections.
Was this review helpful?
The story was beautifully written and heartbreaking. It’s a story about teens who have been exiled to a juvenile treatment center. When the guards don’t show up a group of them make a break from the facility only to find that the there is a worldwide pandemic and people are dying.  They are all forced back to the center by soldiers and must learn to figure out how to survive. 

I love dystopian/apocalyptic books, but unfortunately this one fell flat for me. They were a lot of characters and it took me a while to get them all straight, and I felt like it was just too slow. I loved the author’s writing and was just waiting for something “big” to happen throughout the book, but unfortunately nothing did – it just ended. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was very unrealistic for me, considering how much it is based on the actual pandemic we're living in.
I thought there would be more high stakes and difficulties, having a big group of teenagers figuring out how to survive on their own, but it was all weirdly easy.
The characters were interesting but a bit stereotypical as well.
Was this review helpful?
This is an apocalyptic thriller concept that has young narrators who are a bunch of broken, criminal kids who have lost their ways and who don’t have any chance to recover and starting over.
The place they stay is called Hope Juvenile Treatment Center.  The name is ironic considering there is no hope for those living there. The center lies amid a small clearing. A piece of elevated grasslands between the wild oak and hickory trees and mountain ranges of the Ozarks.

Those delinquent teenagers who are kept there haven’t seen the outside world for months or years, living under strict rules. There is an inner hierarchy between them. A wild and vicious boys group provide protection to some of them leading by the boy named Hunter who is a killer. And his group used to welcome new members with their special initiation ceremony by kicking them till they bleed out.

Then one day the guards start acting strange--and then they don't return. When some of the teens leave the facility, they find a group of armed soldiers. They tell them there is a respiratory plague spreading throughout the country and no one is allowed to leave their homes. The group realizes this means they've been abandoned to try to survive a plague at Hope.

This was a wild book and I enjoyed every bit of it. I loved the world, the characters, the plot. I would definitely recommend this one to all. I must mention that I loved how the author included diversity in the characters.

4.5 rounded up to 5 stars!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sending a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I have mixed emotions about this one. The writing was well done but I think the struggle for me was the far too familiar similarities between the plague that these kids are abandoned during and the COVID pandemic we are currently experiencing. I really tried to focus on the bones of the story and put my feelings aside. Good premise. Good writing. Sympathetic characters. But after investing 10 hours 
into this, I was very disappointed with the ending. I was hoping for some closure or an epilogue much further in the future. Hope. I needed some hope.
Was this review helpful?
If you like Marieke Nijkamp's style, and you're prepared for a plague book, this will be a great read for you. 

As the back copy indicates, this is a book about what happens to a group of kids at a juvenile detention center when a massive illness completely disrupts the world. The kids are left to fend for themselves and need to figure out how to survive. 

At the End of Everything follows Nijkamp's typical style, with several different POV characters offering different perspectives on the action as it unfolds. The characters are outside of the typical cis white het neurotypical norm, which I deeply appreciate as a queer autistic person. The action is intriguing and interesting; there was a real possibility the book would go seriously Lord of the Flies and I appreciated that it found a more interesting story to tell about people working together to survive. They take care of each other, because it's the only way to survive. The book touches on how kids like these tend to be abandoned and ignored, and as someone living in DC who saw what happened to kids in the DC jails at the beginning of the pandemic, this rang very true for me. Nijkamp does have a white main cast; she explains in an endnote that while Black kids are disproportionately targeted by the juvenile "justice" system, she did not feel it was appropriate for her to try and tell their story. 

One flaw in Nijkamp's style for me is that the characters' voices are not particularly distinct from one another. I rely on the chapter headings to tell me whose story I'm going to be reading, although the character's situation does tend to clue you in pretty quickly. If you don't like her style for that reason, I doubt this book will change your opinion. 

Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Marieke always writes stories that put faces to real circumstances that other people might have overlooked. In this case, she has gone and written about a respiratory illness that has taken over the world and circulated by people travelling, and her characters are a bunch of kids at a Juvenile Treatment Centre.

While some of this felt a little bit like Tomorrow When the War Began for a new generation, it was incredibly real to read while various strains of Covid is still running rampant around the world after two and a half years.

It was also completely unputdownable.

We have three point of view characters: Grace, Emerson and Logan. The author makes a note at the back of the book about her decision to have all three of her PoV characters be white. Logan is a twin and is also autistic. Her entire life changes basically as soon as her twin sister gets sick. In a lot of ways, she becomes more independent, despite the fact that her primary way of communicating is a series of hand signs that only her sister understands.

Grace is the one who first realises that the guards have left them at the beginning of the onset of this illness. She also becomes a sort of impromptu leader of this group, made all the better for the fact that she doesn't at all want to be the one in charge.

Emerson is nonbinary, religious and a musician. They are probably the most passive of the main characters, and often make decisions to put themselves out of the way of what is going on around them while at the same time not really shying away from putting themselves in danger. The best example of this is when they elect to be the grave digger for the kids who end up dying of the disease. It's a job no one else wants and sort of removes them even more from the outside gardening they'd been doing prior.

What I'm really surprised by is how little this story devolved into a Lord of the Flies scenario as soon as the guards left. There were hints of it, but the fact that all the violent kids kinda leave the facility in search of freedom as soon as the break out happens really does manage to abort that. The kids who are left want to work together and get through this. Bonds are made where beforehand the kids were only wary of each other.

In the midst of a pandemic and the seeming end of the world, the kids who are left in this facility end up making a sorely needed chosen family.
Was this review helpful?
This is a story about the end being the beginning 

This book caused me so much anxiety- every-time I  cough since reading it, I pause to consider if it’s the plague… reading this after Covid was particularly unnerving.   I enjoyed the characters & the excellent rep- and found the events felt realistic.  Children of the system are often left behind when systemic changes occur & I think this did a really good job discussing that.

Thank you so much Netgalley & Sourcebooks Fire
Was this review helpful?
Teenagers arrested or needing help, but not deemed hopeless, are sent to the Hope Juvenile Treatment Center. Where they soon learn to follow the routine. Up at six, the movement line, headcount, and breakfast at seven. Two wings have school in the morning, the other two in the afternoon. Lunch and dinner at set times, with bedtime at nine. It never changes. 

The novel is in first person, with the name of the character at the top of the page, as several tell the story from their viewpoint. The main three are Grace, Logan (both she and her sister, Leah, were sent to the place), and Emerson (a binary character). I liked that all three actually grow in their characters, unlike many books where the main characters never do. 

One night the teens realize all the staff is gone and the teens have been abandoned. Grace has one of the kids, a boy nicknamed the Professor, use the warden’s computer. They learn a terrible plague is happening, and that the warden knew and left them there to fend for themselves. A group of kids leaves, those remaining work to take care of themselves, especially when one of the girls, Leah, comes down with the virus.

Intense thriller, with danger from either the virus, adults, or one of their own, this Young Adult has many elements that might be considered disturbing to some readers, including death. There are warnings at the beginning of the book. But the story is good, and I really learned to like some of the girls and boys, especially the main characters. Since the author admitted having Covid and working on this book during the pandemic lockdown. You see the parallels between the story and people's real-life reactions (like one of the kids' uncles who said it was all a government conspiracy--not real) when they are dealing with so much death and being forced on lockdown. Except for the virus in this story is a lot scarier and deadlier.

Most would not want to read a book about a pandemic while we are going through one, but this was a good book, with likable characters. And can be enjoyed by young and older adults.
Was this review helpful?
This is a hard, melancholy story that invites reflection. With a very clear reference to what we had to experience due to the COVID-19 quarantines, this story presents a group of children who must survive abandonment, violence and lack.

Freedom and survival in a highly recommended novel.
Was this review helpful?
I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was okay. There were so many characters to remember. Also the non-binary character made it hard to follow the grammar at times. It was a little too close to Covid for me to appreciate a story about a plague. Lots of the books reminded me of things happening then. 2.5
Was this review helpful?
Teens at a juvenile detention center are deserted by the adults, warden, guards and caretakers in one day. A group of teens leaves for the nearest town only to be stopped by soldiers at the town’s edge. The soldiers tell them everything is on lockdown and a sickness is going around. The soldiers instruct the teens to head back to the center. They do only to break into two groups; those leaving and those staying. A sickness soon breaks out at the center and teens start dying. The sickness starts with a cough and turns into a bloody cough. Each teen is dealing with their own problems and reasons for being sent to the center which is a good chunk of the book. I can see dystopian readers devouring this book, especially because the pandemic is so close to our current reality. Though-provoking dystopian for young adult readers, 3 stars!
Was this review helpful?
This is my second book by this author. Both of the books I've read by her have definitely made feel so much for the characters. 
Though it was never said the word, this felt like a covid story. 
What could of happened if a group of kids were left to fend for themselves during the heart of the 2020 pandemic. 
These kids had to figure out a way to survive on their own, when they were abandoned by people meant to protect them. 
This group also has some LGBQT+ characters to give the story some diversity. 
I definitely Reccomed this book and author to any YA fan
Was this review helpful?
Nobody’s ever wanted the delinquent teens of Hope Juvenile Treatment Center. When they wake up one day and discover they’ve been abandoned by their guards, they think they have a shot at freedom…until they realize that a pandemic has taken hold of the world outside, and they’ve actually been left to die. Now their ignored existence has become a deadly fight for survival—and the only people they can rely on are each other.
Was this review helpful?
As much as I wanted to like this book I just couldn’t get into it. I felt like there was too much going on and a strong agenda being pushed. I decided against posting a review on my instagram, thank you so much.
Was this review helpful?
This book was absolutely fantastic. I've already added it to our list for order this year and will recommend it to students.
Was this review helpful?