Cover Image: At the End of Everything

At the End of Everything

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Member Reviews

Teens sent to Hope Juvenile Treatment Center are abandoned after a pandemic overtakes the country.  Left to their own devices, they devise a plan to survive when they recognize no one is coming to their aid.  

The law has labeled each character flawed, and the only "Hope" left are their flaws to survive.  At the End of Everything is wonderfully paced, enthralling with writing that catches the reader.  It is story centering on community, friendships, trust and a fight to be NOT be forgotten.  

It is also thought provoking read- this line stuck out especially considering the times we are living.  "...claiming their right to freedom supersedes others right to live." 

Thank you Sourcebooks, Fire for the Advance Reader Copy.
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This book was hauntingly reminiscent of the current pandemic. While the world goes in lockdown after a disease has begun to spread, the teens in Hope Juvenile Treatment Center are literally abandoned by the guards and staff. Suddenly left on their own, they are ill-prepared to treat their peers when the disease strikes. Soon they are running out of food and supplies. Fights break out and alliances are made. Forgotten by all, will they survive? 

This book was equal parts hard to read and hopeful. Overall, I enjoyed it. It will be released on Jan 4, 2022.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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t the End of Everything is a YA Science Fiction novel by author Marieke Nijkamp, and well, it's very much a book written during the COVID Pandemic.  The book features a group of teens at a juvenile detention center - a group of teens who are more misfits for not fitting in with society than actually being deserving of imprisonment - who are abandoned their when a deadly plague strikes society.  If the parallels to what happened during the COVID Pandemic weren't apparent, the occasional interludes with news articles are very blatantly almost ripped from our own headlines.  

And while the resulting story isn't very original (it could go one of two ways, and it does indeed largely go that way), it works very well at hitting on its biggest theme - how society cruelly abandons those who don't fit in, forcing those people to fight for themselves, sometimes successfully, other times...not so much.  The book's three main protagonists - non-binary castout Emerson, mute girl Logan, and leader Grace - are really well done, as they struggle with their situation, trying to help each other and themselves out, and find a way to do more than just survive.  The result is a story that is far from optimistic, with an ending that is bittersweet, but works pretty well at hitting its readers' hearts, so they learn the lessons its trying to teach. 

Trigger Warning:  Dead-Naming/Misgendering (only in the first few chapters), Ableism, references to abuse - physical and sexual - and transphobia.  For the most part, the worst of these behaviors are in flashbacks and only implied, as they form parts of characters' backstories, and not their present problems.  


---------------------------------------------------Plot Summary----------------------------------------------------
The teenage residents of Hope Juvenile Treatment Center know better to think that the center's name is accurate - no one there really wants to provide treatment or hope to the teens imprisoned there, teens who aren't criminals as much as misunderstood.  

For Logan, the center is only bearable because her other half, her twin Leah is with her - as Leah is the only one who understands her, with or without sign language.  

For Emerson, a non-binary teen who ran away from his religious family after they cast them out, the center is just the latest place that doesn't understand them.  

For Grace, a girl who wouldn't let injustice go just because it was being perpetrated by a privileged white boy, the center is just another unjust place to survive.  

But then one day the guards, staff, and warden of the Treatment Center disappear, and a trip outside results in the discovery that the teens have been abandoned in the wake oh a deadly world spanning plague, resulting in many of the teens deciding to flee the Center in search of something better. 

But for Grace, Emerson and Logan and others, there is nowhere else to go, and so they decide to stay and try to survive.  But do they really have a chance of doing so when no further aid or supplies are coming, and the plague begins to hit some of the teens themselves?  
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In case it wasn't obvious, At the End of Everything is very much a story built upon the events of the COVID-19 Pandemic, especially in how its effects were felt by disadvantaged peoples - peoples who were imprisoned (who suffered greatly without much care from the general population) as well as those from disadvantaged groups without money and resources to give them access to care.  And so here we have a group of teens, all of whom were thrown into Hope due to unjust circumstances that resulted in them "acting out", whether that be Grace assaulting a privileged boy implied to abuse/rape other girls or Logan and her sister setting on fire a building supposedly meant to be a shelter for kids that was instead abusing them.  And then of course there's Emerson, a non-binary teen from a religious family that cast him out and then wouldn't take him back when he ran away, resulting in their imprisonment.  

These are a group of teens who are cast out by society for their differences*, without regards to their own individual needs whatsoever.  Each struggles with their own issues - Grace with finding something other than simply surviving and leading in an unjust world; Logan with being separated from her lifeline in her sister, without anyone who can understand the only language she can "speak"; Emerson with knowing they're non-binary despite the religious foundation of their life failing to allow for that possibility - and is now forced by the plague to struggle just to survive together.  And none of them deserve the abandonment that occurs to them, forcing them to do desperate things to survive on their own, because no help is seemingly coming.  

*As noted by the author in an afterword, individuals who aren't White who face these situations are treated even worse by society, but the author stated that she didn't make any of her protagonists non-white because she didn't feel that was her story as a white author she could tell, and instead the author includes a number of references to other books where readers can find those stories.  I appreciate the afterword and references, but I do wish the author had tried to tell that in part in this story, using assistance from others to make sure she wrote the "other" in a proper way.*  

Stories like this tend to go in one of two ways - they can go all Lord of the Flies and feature the teens forming a monstrous society that eats itself or they can feature the teens trying to work together to survive, and this book goes for that last one, because unlike the classic novel, real kids like these aren't cruel at heart.  And Nijkamp makes this story work by making each of our three main protagonists, who the story jumps around between from chapter to chapter, as well as the other protagonists, well, real, in their own different ways.  And so they act real when they first face being abandoned, sometimes acting out on their own, and facing new circumstances, like what seems like a betrayal, in the realistic but struggling way that you'd imagine.  

Again, none of this original, and it's not even a little bit subtle, but it works for how real Nijkamp portrays things, leading up to the book's ending, which is very bittersweet and not at all happy for all of our characters.  Because well, such an ending wouldn't be real or fitting, and Nijkamp doesn't try to force it onto this story.  The result is a book well worth reading for young adults and adults who could really use its lessons, even if there isn't really much here unique or otherwise interesting on offer.
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A quiet, heavy novel reminiscent of the current pandemic, but a more exaggerated version. The stories shared in this book were full of grief, and the writing was actually quite beautiful. I do wish there had been a bit more of a mystery element to the book, where the questions behind the disappearances at the beginning weren't so easily and quickly resolved, but overall a meaningful, timely novel that shows what could have been if things had gone so far awry in our world with Covid.
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Wow this is an interesting read given the current times! Without giving too much away, At The End of Everything is a story about teenagers in a juvenile treatment center who are abandoned during a plague/pandemic. While the illness in the story isn’t actually COVID-19, the struggles that the characters face are very reminiscent of those we experienced in 2020 and may be triggering to some. However, the plague is put somewhat on the back burner to the main characters and their stories. I appreciated the diversity amongst the main characters and enjoyed following along with their stories and POVs. 

Overall, I think that if you can handle a pandemic related story and enjoyed Lord of the Flies, you’ll enjoy At the End of Everything. 

Thank you to Marieke Nijkamp, Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my review.
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I'm afraid At the End of Everything is just not for me. I think reading about a pandemic while living through one is just a little bit too much for me. I'm sure many people will enjoy the book and maybe I will in a few years time when, hopefully, we are out of the current situation we find ourselves living in.

Thank you to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for my ARC.
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I received an ARC from Sourcebooks Fire through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm struggling with my feelings about this book because my main opinion about it is that it isn't bad, I may have even liked it at a different point in time, but that publishing it now, especially as new variants of COVID-19 rage across the world, rubs me the wrong way. Other people will probably have no issue reading this book, but I thought I was going to be fine reading it and instead it was hitting on things that were just too raw and real for me to be able to enjoy this book.

For me, this pandemic has not ended, so having it fictionalized and having this book directly pull from the way that this pandemic has been reacted to was just rough. I had really enjoyed the previous works of this author that I have read but I majorly struggled with this one. I just kept thinking that I probably would have enjoyed this book if it were published five years down the line when everything isn't so raw and continuously ongoing.

I enjoyed the character development throughout the novel and thought that the little epistolary elements to break up the chapters were a nice touch. The relationships between the teens were constantly in flux as they reacted to the stressors which felt very real. I didn't like as much that each character seemed to have their one defining trait and that one trait made up most of their personality. If there were not as many narrators and each character seemed to have one trait, I would chalk it up to how that narrator views others, but even the POV characters feel like they each have one main distinctive trait.
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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.

Review: I found this to be an interesting story that kept me engaged. I do however find that the overall character development was lacking, I will say, that as a parent of a child with selective mutism, it was refreshing to see representation of it in the book.
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At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp takes place at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center. It follows a group of teenagers who are living at the facility. When the guards and the rest of the staff at Hope begin to act strangely, one day they just don’t show up for work. The teenagers come together to bust out of the facility, but are soon met with soldiers blocking them from the closest town. It turns out there is an extremely infectious disease spreading outside of Hope. No one can leave home without a permit, so the teens are stuck at Hope with no one looking after them as supplies dwindle. The group is on their own to try to survive in a world that has left them to die.

This book is very timely and emotional. It spreads the message that everyone deserves a chance to survive regardless of their past. The multiple points of view allow the reader to learn so much about each main character.
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"At the End of Everything" provides an alternate perspective of the pandemic we're currently living through. Readers follow the stories of several teens from the ironically named, Hope Treatment Center and their abandonment during a "plague". Of course, there is a very obvious diverse representation within Nijkamp's book. As with other Nijkamp books that I've owned and read, there is a perfect balance of back story, build-up, life skills, and suspense present from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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Although I wish I could say that this novel lived up to my expectations, unfortunately I cannot. Like This Is Where It Ends, the novel does not reflect its variety, plot and reality. I ended up not finishing my novel after being stuck at 55% for a long time.
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This book is not my normal read but when I read the blurb it drew me in and I had to read it and I am so glad that I did ! Wow the writing is exceptionally good I was immediately drawn in and couldn’t put it down this book was amazing if you love YA apocalyptic thrillers than you’ll love this story! It’s full of action suspense and mystery the storyline was unique and intriguing and that’s what drew me in and this was a unputdownable story like no other that I’ve read! Amazing characters phenomenal writing this was a EPIC page turner !
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Thanks to Sourcefire Books and Marieke Nijkamp for an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

At the End of Everything takes place at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center, where teens are sent to 'rehabilitate'.  No one cares for them or about them. One day, the staff starts acting weird and when the kids all wake up, they are alone. No guards, no staff, no warden, just all the juvenile offenders. When a group of them leave the Hope compound, they find armed soldiers telling them they aren't to leave. They learn there is a deadly plague, spreading around the world at a rapid pace. The teens at Hope realize once again, no one cares for them. They were left  alone, with no plans for anyone to care for them, provide food or medical care. They were left to die. So they take it upon themselves to survive... through the plague and through lack of food and supplies. 

Through perspective jumps between three of the teens at Hope, Grace, Logan and Emerson, along with recordings of phone calls and news articles, we follow the group as they try to survive and learn if they can trust and who they can trust. 

It is a heartbreaking story of kids being abandoned, and finding their worth when the world continues to tell them they are worthless. It was hard to read, as we are still in the grips of the Covid pandemic that inspired this book. If you are able to handle the topic, it is a beautiful and thought-provoking story.
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Reading At the End of Everything was quite the journey. There are so many threads of issues with each of these teens that can resonate with a broad audience. With an inclusive cast in a no-win situation, the teens are trying to survive in the way of a pandemic, which might hit close to home for some readers.

I appreciate Nijkamp is writing about juvenile facilities, as it’s a step toward spotlighting the obsession with mass incarceration in this country. Emerson reflects so many teens in America whose family uses religion to justify not supporting their children in their quest to find comfort in their own body.

There are a few things that didn’t work for me. First, anyone in essentially what equals a coma for months will not be kept alive without the aid of IV feeding and such, which is something that isn’t even a possibility in this situation. Second, I appreciate when a book will have, for example, newspaper clippings, a phone call transcribed, a podcast transcribed, and so on because it furthers the story. Nijkamp had several various transcriptions unrelated to each other but related to the situation. But I found the food inventory lists tedious and completely unnecessary as the storyline made clear that food was at a premium, and it felt like filler to me.

Aside from those minor issues, this character-driven storyline comes at a time where we’re all still very much in a pandemic. Readers looking for an escape from the pandemic won’t find that reading this book, but they will find so much more in the varying teens that comprise this thoughtful novel. Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire, for sending this along.
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Kids that have been sent to Hope Juvenal center.  Delinquents that are abandoned by the staff. Now they need to figure out how to survive on their own.  The world has been hit by a major  infection that is killing many. They are running out of food and no one seems to want to help them. Will they survive or will this be the end?
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Wow. I mean… wow. I didn’t know quite what to expect going into this book. Was it going to be more horror-like? More dystopian-like? More thriller-like? I had to throw out all preconceived notions of what this book might be pretty quick in favor of what the book actually is, which is a hauntingly sad but somehow still beautiful tale of how all humans, no matter who they are, deserve to be deserved with at least basic human decency. It’s a book that’s horribly relevant to our current lives here in America and feels so close to something that could possibly happen to some of the most vulnerable people in our population I found myself getting goosebumps at the very thought of it. And, if you’re wondering: yes, I was pretty much bawling by the end.

I appreciate Nijkamp’s serious commitment to a diverse cast of characters in this book while simultaneously trying to not take away space for the voices that might better represent what life is like in juvenile detention for POC. Our three main characters are white, but one is mute and speaks their own form of sign language and the other is nonbinary. While the ratio of white to POC characters in the book is likely close to what might be representative of a juvenile detention center in America (with its issues concerning mass incarceration at every level of the penal system), Nijkamp is careful not to exploit her POC characters for their ethnic status, which could’ve been an easy and steep slope to stumble down as an excuse to flesh out her characters. Instead, Nijkamp took the time to flesh out her characters through their experiences, backgrounds, how they react to both the circumstances of their imprisonment and the central conflict of the book, and (in the cases of some) phone calls to their friends or relatives as the events of the book proceed. 

The bleak, cold, desolate setting of this book only serves as an echo of how the characters must be feeling both physiologically and psychologically. The juvenile detention center is a place where one is literally locked down, but these people–not even adults yet–have been forgotten by everyone in the midst of a nation-wide lockdown. And just how far will human decency and the notion of charity extend when it seems like the world is ending? Who is willing to go the extra mile to help others no matter the cost and who will always help themselves first? Who will own up to their mistakes and make amends and who won’t admit when they were wrong? Who has the courage and ability to lead and who will trust them to? 

As with most books that study the human condition and questions of morals and ethics, what you take away from it will be up to you as a reader. I came away with a profound feeling of grief, and I saw the philosophy behind it as being the kind of optimistic I can get behind with a dose of the pragmatic I tend to believe in. But I really think every reader will take away something different. It’s that kind of book. And I highly recommend it.
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I suppose in the midst of a global pandemic it should not be surprising that authors are inspired to create works of fiction that showcase the potential horrors faced by ordinary people. This author who previously wrote the disturbing This Is Where It Ends again seeks to emit emotions but this time it's the displaced, forgotten inhabitants of a young offenders institution.
Hope is such a twisted name for the place this rag tag bunch are forced to call home. We meet numerous characters and indeed get their various viewpoints but it was hard for me to connect particularly with any of them. That doesn't mean this story lacks emotion its just that I personally would have preferred less viewpoints. The system they exist in is appalling and I sincerely hope that no one in reality would simply be deserted the way these characters are. They learn to accept their differences, they sadly learn that life is pain but ultimately these characters learn that survival isn't everything and its life that truly is important.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
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This timely thriller about kids versus the world is fantastic and I couldn't put it down! A group of teens at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center in Arkansas live with lots of rules, locked doors, and zero freedom. Then one day everything changes. The adults are gone and the doors are unlocked. Happy to venture out into the world, they discover a deadly pandemic is underway and they have been mandated back to the center. With no one to help them, and nowhere to go, they must figure out a way to survive. As food and medicine supplies run low, they go to town on missions and find the townspeople are hostile and scared. The story has lots of highs and lows as they navigate how to work together and what to do when things get out of hand. Strong attachments are formed and sacrifices made. The themes of acceptance and working together make this an unforgettable story that I highly recommend!
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Two years ago I would have called this a dystopian story…about a plague that keeps people from being around each other, a sickness no one knows anything about, is very contagious…sound familiar? This young adult spin on it takes us to Hope, a place where kids that are troubled go to be rehabilitated. The story is told from the perspective of several of the kids, When the plague breaks out the guards and administrators leave without telling the kids anything. They are left on their own to decide what to do. Some leave and some decide to stay. They deal with hunger, sickness, death…so many things. 
This book was intriguing. It was a different take on the books I have been reading about COVID. This was a different plague, told from a different perspective. It was a solid story. Thanks to #netgalley for the chance to read this one and give my honest opinion.
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**Many thanks to NetGalley, SOURCEBOOKS Fire, and Marieke Nijkamp for an ARC of this book!**
Wow! i loved this book it was definitely a wild ride but i couldn"t put it down.
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