Cover Image: At the End of Everything

At the End of Everything

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Review of ‘At The End of Everything’, by Marieke Nijkamp

There is a lot to unpack in this dystopian young adult thriller.  When teenage patients exiled at the ironically names Hope Juvenile Treatment are abandoned during an outbreak of the plague (yes, that one from the Middle Ages), they have to figure out how to survive.  But survival means banding together, something this group of forsaken teenagers marginalised for various reasons has a hard time doing initially.   While there are more than two dozen teenagers at the treatment centre, the book hops between only three POVS: Logan’s, Emerson’s, and Grace’s.  Neurodivergent Logan communicates through a sign language that she and her twin sister have developed; through her POV we feel the frustration of not being listened to.  Emerson is nonbinary and struggling with their Catholic faith; through them, we feel the frustration of the dissonance that surrounds us.  And Grace becomes the group’s leader despite her own objections and her anger issues.  There is a lot of physical violence during the group’s struggle for survival, so reader beware.  I’m also not sure this is a book anyone struggling through the COVID19 pandemic should pick up; I can see it being quite triggering.  But for readers who can handle it, the book raises some very interesting questions that could be very useful in our quest to make the world a better place.
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Set in Hope Juvenile Treatment Center, teens are expected to follow the rules and to obey the guards. With only one real therapist, Hope serves as more of a detention center than a place for treatment.

I loved this book because you get to have multiple characters POV instead of just one MC. All the characters have their own distinctive personalities and I liked them all for different reasons. This gave me Lord of the Flies and Wilder Girl vibes. It was definitely an interesting read just like everything Marieke Nikamp writes!
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I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

At the End of Everything follows several delinquent teens of Hope Juvenile Treatment Center as the world succumbs to a pandemic. Now this feels eerily familiar....
I can't say the book was "enjoyable" per say because it was way too believable as for what we have all gone through in the past few years.
I really enjoyed how the characters were written and I understand the author's reasoning for not including POC and I appreciate that. 
I highly recommend this book if you're looking for some pandemic stories.
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A juvenile center of teens are left alone - no guards, no information as to what’s going on - just abandoned and basically left to die. 

While this book was not necessarily my ‘cup of tea’. It was not bad and it kept me interested and wanting to know what happens: 

Thank you for the review copy.
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*Will be posted on September 21st

When a deadly plague tears through the world, the teens at the Hope Juvenile Treatment Center are left to fend for themselves. This was an idea that really appealed to me initially, but the delivery was kind of disappointing.

The book started off pretty well. We're introduced to the various characters telling the story (Grace, Logan, and Emerson) and jumping into the action fairly quickly. The tension builds up fast initially with the teens discovering they have been abandoned and then them splitting up into two groups--one which wants to take their chances in the outside world and the other that thinks it's safer to say at the facility.

After the teens split up, Grace takes charge and starts assigning tasks to everyone. They work together to grow food, keep inventory, and care for their sick with the hope of surviving until help arrives.

I was really expecting to see tension, anger, and fear growing in their community throughout the book as the days dragged on, but it didn't exactly play out the way I thought it would. Most of the time we were learning about their struggles or challenges from another source (side characters making phone calls, documents, newspapers, etc). Some chapters were followed by a quick overview of their dwindling supplies or a mention of the group's morale.

I found it hard to be invested in the story this way. I think what makes you feel involved in a survival/dystopian story like this is seeing the characters struggling firsthand. We really only saw two POV's going out hunting or scavenging for supplies a few times. They didn't really have any problems until the last quarter of the book. Most of the pressure came from the outside world (other people, winter, etc) but I felt like in this situation we should have seen the people inside struggling too. Maybe stealing food, getting restless and going into town, or someone changing their mind about staying and deciding to leave. I just didn't get the "survival" vibe to this or feel connected to the characters when they weren't active in their own survival (we mostly heard about it in exposition).

Grace was the only character out of the main three that I really cared about. She had anger issues and had never set out to become a leader but when she was elected she really stepped up. Her character development was the most interesting to me. I liked that her flaw ended up playing so well into the story and weaving into it.

That said, Emerson had to be my least favorite. Emerson was a nonbinary character that almost felt... out of place? I love seeing LGBTQA/diverse characters in books, but I wish authors wouldn't make their sexuality/gender/etc their whole personality. The only thing Emerson struggled with was their family's rejection. There wasn't some moral struggle or overwhelming emotions that came with their situation/survival like with Grace so it made Emerson feel really one-dimensional. It was like nothing about their situation mattered or affected them.

The overall pacing of the story was very slow. After the initial tension where the group split up, I didn't feel like the pressure continued to build. I didn't feel like I was moving toward something. No one seemed all that concerned about the supplies either, to be honest. The teens were too calm, too organized, and too level-headed. It wasn't until very late in the book that anything interesting happened.

I think At the End of Everything was an okay book. It wasn't especially horrible or anything, but it definitely would've been better if Grace wasn't carrying the whole story.
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An apocalyptic thriller! This book was definitely intriguing, but it is difficult to read about what is essentially COVID during COVID. There are a lot of characters to keep up with, so I didn't necessarily feel connected to all of them. It also became predictable to me. Overall, not a bad book, but not a great one either.
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This was an interesting read for me. Having worked in juvenile treatment facility during a pandemic there were definitely some moments of wow and yeah, I can see that. I enjoyed the characters and the development but felt like there could have been a little more to the story itself. It was an interesting mix of characters though, much like what you can expect in a facility like this and an interesting premise!
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This was a very well done and well rounded novel. I really enjoyed the characters and the development of the plot throughout.
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"At the End of Everything" is so raw and beautiful. It was a fast-paced, real survival story that kept me reading into the wee hours. Reading this one on the tail of a pandemic was deeply scary, but also so satisfying.
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I took a chance on this book as I don't tend to read a lot of mystery / dystopian books. I really enjoyed At the End of Everything. The world and characters were great. It was definitely interesting as the characters had to navigate a plague which is a reminder of what we have went through the last year. I liked how the characters interacted with each other as well.
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I absolutely loved this book! I found it hard to put down. I highly recommend reading it! You won’t be disappointed.
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4.5 Stars

Told from three vastly different perspectives, At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp follows the teenage inmates at the Hope Juvenile Treatment Center as they’re abandoned by their caregivers and security guards at the onset of a plague, left to fight for their lives, discover their true strengths, and prove to everyone they are more than just their past mistakes.

Nijkamp did a fantastic job with all aspects of At the End of Everything. The writing and storytelling was fantastic and meaningful, the characters represented diverse backgrounds, and the three main perspectives were full of emotion and fear and uncertainty. However, no matter how good this book is, I know it will not be for everyone. Nijkamp does not shy away from a lot of topics that tend to make people uneasy, such as transphobia, abuse, ableism, racial profiling, assault, and the mass spreading of uncontrolled illness. While many authors or publishers have been avoiding illnesses and plagues during the pandemic, Nijkamp tackles those uneasy topics head-on in order to thoroughly illustrate how many, both juvenile and adult, have been forgotten or neglected during lockdowns. For those readers who pick up books in order to escape, the harsh realities portrayed in At the End of Everything may not be for you, at least not at this time.

For those readers who can handle some grim reflections of reality in their fiction, I definitely recommend this book. Our three main characters – Logan, Emerson, and Grace – all beautifully unfold their individual stories while having unique reactions to the hellscape evolving just outside their cells. None of the characters, main or secondary, are at the Hope Juvenile Treatment Center for the same reason, and each of their reactions to the global plague align with their personal journeys. Nijkamp gave each of her characters the time and recognition they deserved even as the adults in their own world forgot about them.

At the End of Everything was, at times, hard to digest. Obviously, the plague that takes out hundreds of thousands in the book mirrors our very real pandemic. While kids remain abandoned at the treatment center, watching their cell mates remain defenseless and dying, they have to listen to people on the outside deny the plague is real. This is a heavy story to read, and as the teenagers have little to smile about, so do the readers. But just like in our real-life pandemic, the people in this story find reasons to continue to dream despite how hopeless their futures may look.

Nijkamp’s newest release is at times gritty, stark, and desolate. When the unthinkable happened, the teenagers at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center were forgotten. This fictitious account may be too troubling for some and eye-opening for others. I personally thought At the End of Everything delivered just the right balance of desperation and hope. Their plague was realistic, damaging, and not everyone makes it. For readers able to enjoy such a story at this time, Nijkamp beautifully weaves a tale of growth, overcoming assumptions, and defying society’s prejudices.
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Thank you NetGalley for this book!

I read This Is Where It Ends a while ago and was just floored at how excellent it was. After all this time, the story has really stuck with me. So, when I saw a new book by Nijkamp, I knew I would be reading it. I’m so happy I got this one from NetGalley because it was another great one that I won’t forget anytime soon.

From Goodreads: 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. 

The story is told from various teens within the Hope center. You see their survival story from multiple sides, namely those who are trying to help and make their situation as livable as possible. Even though the teens are there because they were in some kind of trouble, thankfully this isn’t some kind of Lord of the Flies re-creation. Sure, they disagree at times, but it isn’t a battle for king of the hill, and they *mostly* work together. Clearly, this was written post-Covid because plenty of the “news” the kids hear is directly from what we have been going through. Overall, I really liked this book, and I’ll keep my eye on other books from Nijkamp.
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When compared to other YA apocalyptic-type books or series, this one stands out for a couple of reasons. Unlike the Gone series or the Quarantine series, this book features a more diverse representation in its characters and it's more hopeful.  

The End of Everything is a quick read (I read it in less than a day) but didn't keep me on edge of my seat. While the author successfully introduced diverse characters, it was frequently distracting because we were told more than we were shown. I would have appreciated a more subtle approach, which I believe would have resonated more with me. 

Like the series mentioned above, this book featured a group of teenagers abandoned during an apocalyptic event. While other books took on a very Lord of the Flies persona, The End of Everything focused more on survival and hope. While the book could have been better with a little more suspense, I did appreciate the characters working together and portraying humanity in a positive light when dealing with catastrophic events.
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Great premise especially in this time of Covid and epidemics. A bunch of kids in a remote detention home are abandoned by the adults in charge and need to learn to fend for themselves. The diverse characters provide a wide spectrum of different personalities and lifestyles which makes it appealing to many groups old and young.
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This is not an easy book to read as we are following a group of teenagers who have been deemed to be unimportant and forgotten about when a deadly pandemic sweeps the global. It is so painful to read about this kids struggling to just survive; I cry easily at books but I haven't sobbed quite so hard as I did at this book in a long time.

This was quite possibly the easiest 5⭐ that I have ever given to a book and I wouldn't be surprised if this is my favourite books of the year, possibly even the decade. 

As much as I loved this book, I would advise caution to readers going in as this book is very much set during a pandemic and people are every bit as selfish and self-serving as you would expect and people of all ages die.

This book does an incredible job of critiquing the so-called justice system and the way that those in prison are continually treated as sub-human, especially throughout the pandemic.
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It's still a little difficult to read plague books. But I did like this one. Not a lot of stories take place with young adults living in juvie. I think it's far too easy to let these kids move around the system and completely lose them, especially in the midst of panic and fear. But I didn't love the characters like I hoped I would. I did like the story - it was compelling and hard to put down - but it didn't fully grab me like I'd hoped it would. Good, very good, but somehow I didn't love it.

A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.
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3.5 stars

Lord of the flies, but add a plague, and you have at the end of everything.

A plague sweeps over the world, and those in juvie are left to themselves with no structure, protection or help; they are left to wither. The cast of characters works to survive as half of them go and half stay within the building, and while you'd think they'd be safe, the plague appears to wipe them out.

I think we all have episodes because of covid, and boy, does this add a new perspective. These kids face emotional and mental turmoil as they must face their past and what could be their future. The book does an excellent job of making you connect with the characters, but unfortunately, the story slowed and felt anti-climatic along. I can't be sure how it could have been better.
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While I do read some YA, I felt like this one wasn’t for me. Or maybe I didn’t read it at the right time! I also don’t read an abundance of character driven books. This was well done, but the story fell flat for me.
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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.
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