Cover Image: At the End of Everything

At the End of Everything

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

At The End of Everything is the dystopian story of a group of kids in a juvenile detention center when a pandemic breaks out. The guards and staff all flee, leaving the kids to fend for themselves. The best word for this book is gripping. The description of the lives of these kids in facility is very raw and a serious insight into the state of our prison system. These kids were abandoned - first by their families and then by the facility meant to care for them and rehabilitate them. There is a sense of hopelessness, desperation and despair that permeates throughout mixed with suspense and hope as the kids learn to fend for themselves. There are very dark parts, parts where I had to stop reading and read a little fluff but also parts where I was holding my breath for these teens, rooting for them, completely sucked into their fate. I only wish there was more of a backstory on them to really get full development and what they were really like before they came to the facility. There are bits and pieces dropped but not enough to give me a full picture. I definitely enjoyed this wild, intense ride and would like to read more by this author.
Was this review helpful?
The teens at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center are used to being written off and forgotten, but when they're suddenly abandoned by all the adults and left to fend for themselves, they must let go of their pasts and work together to stay alive. Cut off from the world, they begin to realize that a deadly plague, THE plague, has quickly spread on the outside. They begin to get sick too, one by one. How long can they last on their own? Is there any hope of survival left for them?

I enjoyed this dystopian survival novel, and it took a different turn than I expected when I picked it up. The focus of the story was really more about the scrappy teens left behind by an uncaring government because they're criminals. The plague was an important plot point, but it was more of a catalyst and complication for the characters instead of the main problem. I think it also pointed out that as a society, we give up too quickly on "troubled kids", when most of them are just normal kids that made bad or tough decisions when put in less than ideal situations. Every kid in this story was in the Hope center for some serious mistakes, but when the world fell apart, they stepped up and took care of each other. It's a great book for another troubled teen that might need some encouragement to leave their past behind them and start over.
Was this review helpful?
The teenagers at the inappropriately named Hope Juvenile Treatment Centre are disturbed when the guards up and leave, and it is with good reason that they are concerned. Left to their own devices there is an atmosphere of fear and factions begin to form. Outside there is a virus running rampant, people are sick and dying in multitudes. They find this out when they go searching for food and encounter armed townspeople at the boundaries of the town. A scuffle ensues and contact is made. When they get back to the centre one of them becomes ill. And this is the dramatic beginning of this book.

The characters are fantastic, twins with a semi psychic bond between them, a sensitive musical soul, the spoilt bully and every other 'type' you can think of, and yet it works. It's pacy and sensitive and I was totally hooked. I liked that it showed the teens figuring out a way to be together, to work cohesively after their initial struggles. This is no lightweight dystopia, this is thoughtful and considered and the writing is great.

This is a great book for YA. Full to the brim with plenty to think about and lots of action, but alongside that action there is caring and bonding. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me early access to this book. 4 out of 5 stars
Was this review helpful?
This was typical of her other books, and just as good.  I really enjoyed the story and my heart broke for the kids that were left to fend for themselves.  That the powers that be could be so heartless as to leave a group of children (regardless of their crimes etc) by themselves with no continuous food source is unacceptable.  I love the way the kids banded together for the most part and really learned how to survive.  This was a great book and I’d recommend it to others.
Was this review helpful?
I went into this book blind, and I'm glad I did. I was clueless to the actual theme until I read the Author's Note. With that being said, I truly enjoyed this YA book minus the fact that it feels a little like our reality. 
I quickly got invested into all characters at Hope and was rooting for each of them. This tugged at my emotions and heartstrings. I was able to see the good in all of them.
A great story of strength, resilience, hope, love and teamwork. Thank you to Netgalley.com for my advanced copy.
Was this review helpful?
At the End of Everything tells the story of a group of teens in a juvenile treatment center who are left to fend for themselves when all of the adults abandon the centre at the onset of a plague outbreak.  The teens fight to survive the plague and each other.  

Good story line that explores themes of ableism, abuse, death, illness, and transphobia.  

The plague outbreak and reactions felt very similar to our current COVID experiences.  Interesting tidbit is that the author was recovering from COVID while writing this book. 

*I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book was just an okay read for me. The premise sounded interesting and I’ve read a book from this author before and loved it, but this book’s premise does not exactly line up with the actual purpose of the book. Sure there’s a pandemic that happens and the kids in this rehabilitation center are left alone- but the book is extremely light on action and focuses more on trying to make it a big point that these kids are people too, and they aren’t accurately seen or treated fairly. These things are true in real life but they don’t make for a very compelling or even realistic story. Sadly, not a book I will recommend to my friends.
Was this review helpful?
Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is full of teenage delinquents--all in the facility for a range of bad behavior. A sudden unexpected exit by all facility staff leaves the teens feeling lost and confused. After learning about a devastating plague spreading rapidly, a group of teens decide to leave the safety of the facility to seek refuge in the next closest town. After one of the teens is shot by a solider, the group became divided on how to proceed. The teens are tasked with trying to survive with the little means they have. The characters in this book were all different and complex. I enjoyed the change in POV and perspectives. 

3.5 stars out of 5. I was surprised to have struggled reading this book because overall, I like it. I think that the elements of the pandemic, abandonment, and anxiety about where the next meal would come from really hit me. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the advanced e-copy for review.
Was this review helpful?
The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center has teenagers that are required to follow a set of strict rules.  If they don’t follow the rules, the guards will remind them if not punish them.  The teens are asleep when they disappear leaving them without any message.  While they don’t mind the guards being gone it is discover everyone else is missing too.  A group of teenagers decide to go to a nearby town to find out why they have been left alone.  Sadly the road is barricaded with soldiers and Reid, a delinquent is killed by one of the soldiers.  The rest of the group returns to Hope Juvenile Treatment Center.  Hunter and his followers decide to grab supplies and leave for good.  Grace tells the rest of the delinquents that she is staying here at Hope for different reasons. They did find out from the officer of the soldiers that there is a plague that is easily caught and often kills the sick person.  Who will survive this plague — Hunter’s group or Grace’s group?  

The story reminded me of our current pandemic.  The author has written a story with different characters telling their view of how the plague has disrupted their safe life.  It is heartbreaking, timely and kept me in suspense.  It is a story of bravery, love and loss.  The novel explores the topics of ableism, racism, transphobia and juvenile justice reform plus more.
Was this review helpful?
At The End of Everything

By: Marieke Nijkamp

SourceBooks Fire

Sourcebooks Fire

Teens & YA

Publish Date 04 January 2022

100 Book ReviewsProfessional Reader

I would like to thank both NetGalley and Source Books for allowing to me read and review this book.

Good Reads Synopsis:

The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.

Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day…they don’t show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There’s a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they’re stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.

As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place.

Book Review:

I gave this book 5 stars. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to finish it because I didn’t like how it started. As I read on I couldn’t put it down.

There are trigger warnings at the beginning of the book so please read those before you start the book.

This book is about a group of teenagers in a juvenile treatment center. They are there for different reasons. Some you will learn about and others you won’t.

As I said before the first few chapters are rough and I almost DNF it.
But once you get past those chapters the true story takes place. The teens learn how to survive and get along with each other even if they don’t like one another. As the story goes on you discover the reason why they are there.

I also recommend that you read the author notes at the end because it gives you the reason why she wrote the book.

This was an eye opener to me because I couldn’t image that the government would do this to these teens in the real world but I could be wrong.

It is amazing how she wrote this book because you go from wanting to dnf it to you can’t put it down.

The reason I wanted to dnf it was because the adults were not nice or gentle with these teens. They allowed things to happen inside the building that shouldn’t have happen and the guards didn’t care. I also couldn’t believe that the adults in charge would just leave them alone during this time. Not one adult question that order.

I highly recommend this book everyone should read this book because it really makes you think.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Net Galley, the author, and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! 

At the End of Everything isn't the first book I've read about a pandemic. I was the psychopath that determined reading Stephen King's The Stand at the start of COVID-19 was a good idea... (spoiler alert: it wasn't). However, this was the first book I've read about widespread illness after years and years of our society trying to eradicate it.

Obviously, the plague mentioned in At the End of Everything isn't exactly COVID-19. However, the author knew what she was doing when writing this, creating a number of parallels between the characters' situation and the one we've unfortunately been facing for far too long.

The story starts at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center, an institution responsible for housing juvenile delinquents. We get small glimpses into the personalities and backstories of a number of different residents, with viewpoint chapters alternating between Logan (a young woman relying entirely on a personalized form of sign language to communicate, as a result of what seems to be trauma-induced selective mutism), Emerson (a non-binary teen from an oppressively religious family), and Grace (the group's eventual - and reluctant - leader).  Once a severe and deadly respiratory illness surfaces, the facility is abandoned. Forgotten. Deprioritized completely. And while many of the "inmates" choose to seize this opportunity and break out, these are roughly 20+ who stay behind, finding safety within the secure walls of Hope. 

Problem is, they have limited resources and no guidance from anyone as to how to handle their situation. We see these young adults assume different roles within their small community. The plague inevitably makes its way through the ranks, forcing the characters to look death in the eyes. To quarantine, isolate, and even bury their friends. 

This was a wild, sometimes difficult ride, that's for sure. I think that many of my students would enjoy the commentary Nijkamp made throughout regarding our current societal issues -- specifically as it pertains to gender identity and the poor state of the incarcerated in this country. However, I didn't always love the way the story was being presented. I liked the way the author broke up the story with different pieces of outside information (phone calls, articles, inventory, etc.), but I would have liked a more fleshed out, cohesive backstory for our main characters. I feel as though too many names were thrown our way in the beginning and when the story became more focused, we didn't get the satisfaction of having some of our questions answered. 

That aside, I love that YA-texts are trusting their audience/demographic to consider serious issues. The representation was good and I appreciated the rationale the author posted at the very end regarding some of the choices she made.
Was this review helpful?
This was my first Marieke Nijkamp since their debut so I was hopeful that I would enjoy this more given the context. Unfortunately, similarly with their debut, I felt the conflict to be very surface level and wanted more.
Was this review helpful?
At the End of Everything, by Marieke Nijkamp, follows the teenagers at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center, after they are abandoned by the guards during an unprecedented outbreak of the plague. The story is told in multiple POVs through the eyes of Grace, who becomes the leader of the group, Logan, a girl with disabilities limiting her ability to speak, and Emerson, a nonbinary teen. At the start of the book, we get a glimpse into the inequities in the justice system and the way that Black and Brown teens, as well as those who are not cisgender, are treated differently than White, cisgender teens in the system. As the story moves on, we see an acceptance among the teens of one another, something we did not see early on when they were guarded at the center.

The writing in this story was excellent, and I loved the format. Between the alternating points of view, we also got to see phone conversations between the teens and their families, as well as news reports about the plague and inventory supply lists. These added pieces made the story more engaging and whole in parts. The story took me awhile to get into (around the 35% mark I reached the point where I couldn’t put it down) but the content was jarring to me at first. Though the disease that ravages the world is not Covid, but a strain of the plague, it was presented in a Covid-like manner and that was a bit hard to read about. Once I got past that, I settled well into the book, and by the end, was crying as I finished the epilogue and author’s note.

I also loved the own voices aspect of this book and was heartbroken by Emerson’s story. Nijkamp’s ability to write about Emerson through the lens of being nonbinary themselves was powerful. Overall, I was greatly moved by the book. My only issue is with the Author’s Note at the end. As Nijkamp states they wanted to include the “overwhelming racial inequalities in the juvenile justice system” and while this was addressed a bit in the first few chapters, after that it is not highlighted much at all and certainly not the focus of the book. I wish there had been more on that aspect and a larger highlight on these negative effects of mass incarceration.

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for a free electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

It was okay. I think I would have liked it a lot more if it didn't so closely mirror what's going on in the world right now. Some of it used such identical language and scenarios as we're seeing on the news that it didn't feel very original.
Was this review helpful?
I love love LOVED “Even if We Break” by Marieke Nijjkamp so I was VERY excited to receive AT THE END OF EVERYTHING from NetGalley at no cost which thus resulted in this review. I downloaded this the instant I got it, read a few chapters, took a break to have dinner and hang out with my roommates, and then it was 3am and I was finishing it. It follows the pattern of one of my other favorite books, LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer, where a huge event happens (in that book, when an asteroid hits the moon and the tides change completely) and it changes everything, and the government isn’t doing anything so it’s up to the characters to continue to figure out how to live. It’s basically LIFE AS WE KNEW IT smash cut with THE SOCIETY, but it takes place at a juvenile detention center, and the huge event that happens is a pandemic that’s much worse than the one we are currently living through. The feeling of dread that surrounds the entire book reminds me of WILDER GIRLS, which is also about girls surviving in a remote location while terrible things happen.

This story is told through first-person narration of three main characters interspersed with phone conversation transcripts. It’s extremely effective and evocative, especially as more of the characters and residents of the facility succumb to the pandemic. I loved all three of the main characters in this book: Grace, a headstrong girl who just wants a future, Emerson, a nonbinary teen who plays violin, and Logan, who is a _nonverbal autistic character_, something that I have literally never seen in a book. 

Was it rough reading this book during a pandemic, as cases are getting worse and worse? Yeah, a little. But it’s worth it. This ranks as one of my favorite books this year. Five stars.
Was this review helpful?
This is such a heartwrenching story with an incredible cast of characters. All three POVs are so interesting to read. I love the autism rep and the nonbinary rep. While this is not a Covid-19 story, it is *based on* the current pandemic, and the plague in this story had some similarities to our real life situation right now. I think this story is very important and shines a light on how people in prisons and other similar institutions are being forgotten and left behind during the pandemic. The main characters are Logan, Grace and Emerson. Logan is autistic and nonverbal, and she has her own secret sign language to communicate with her twin sister, and I really love their bond. Grace is the one who takes care of everyone, she's such a strong and important character, and this book wouldn't be the same without her. Emerson is nonbinary and religious and they just seem to care so much about their friends, I love them. Special mention goes to Casey for being such a wonderful caregiver and doing his best to keep people alive. I have big love for him. This is not an easy story to read; it's sad, it's infuriating, and at times it made me cry - but there is a message of hope weaved into the pages. There is love, there is kindness, and there is friendship. There is a community, working together to survive. Fighting to stay alive. And that's important.
Was this review helpful?
enjoyed At the End of Everything. I liked the different viewpoint of a pandemic (not COVID)….the forgotten and how they coped with surviving. It made me think about what I would do in similar circumstances and how realistic that scenario could be. 

The kids in this book had to deal with a lot including surviving with minimal resources and learning to trust each other. And I respected them for being able to put issues aside to work with each other for the most part.

At the End of Everything also reminded me that not everything is how it seems. You only see what you want to see. A lot of these kids in the juvenile center weren’t only left alone in a pandemic but also in regular life. And maybe they wouldn’t be in the position they were in if someone had notice their struggles and helped them versus locking them away.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending but it wasn’t a deal breaker for the book for me.  

Thanks to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for a copy of At the End of Everything in exchange of an honest review
Was this review helpful?
At the End of Everything centers around a Juvenile Detention Center during a pandemic. Obviously given what is happening in the world right now this hits pretty close to home, government shut downs and all. I don't want to be too harsh with a rating or review as I knew going into this book it was pandemic related and I don't really want to read about that given we are living it. I think it was an interesting choice to release this type of book right now. 

I enjoyed the multiple perspectives and I think it was a good choice for this type of story. The ending felt rushed or just not executed properly? It wasn't any awful reading experience I just didn't find it enjoyable either or something I had to keep picking up to finish. I would still chem out books by Marieke Nijamp
Was this review helpful?
This book was creepy, hit way too close to home, and perfect all in the same breath. I wasn’t sure I’d want to read a pandemic book while in a pandemic, but it totally worked. Character development and plot was great. Lots of action, enough suspense for the pages to continue flying. Great read!
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely LOVED this novel! Sometimes I enjoy reading young adult novels and just about every time I do, I end up loving it, so I think I need to read more of them. I have watched so many series and movies with my teen son over the last two years (since COVID struck), and this novel reminds me so much of a combination of several of the ones we watched. I was enraptured and fully immersed throughout the entire book and could not read fast enough. 

At the end of the book, the author shares her/their motivation behind writing this novel and touches upon the “overwhelming racial inequalities in the juvenile justice system, the lack of support for disabled youth, … mass incarceration, and criminal reform”. Recognizing these truths and to be able to expose them in a creative outlet such as this novel is incredibly commendable. I have no doubt that this novel, this author, and these topics will gain immense attention and hopefully enough to bring us a few steps, leaps, or bounds towards support, equality, and reform. 

I was fascinated by these vibrant and colorful characters and found myself captivated by them and their lives. I had to take notes about the characters in the beginning to keep track, but I soon was able to remember who was who and it all fell into place. The author did such an outstanding job at creating personalities and mannerisms that fit each character perfectly. We are introduced to a myriad of personalities and backgrounds and there are quite a few controversial and uncomfortable scenes. There is even a content warning stating that “this book deals with ableism, abuse, death, illness and implied eugenics, imprisonment, and transphobia. In addition, it includes mentions of assault, blood, gunshots, racial profiling, and (sexual) violence.” These scenes are necessary and fitting to the story and are also REAL topics that happen in real life and I think they make the story and characters even better. 

This is a new author for me and I am eager to read more books by her/them.
Was this review helpful?