Cover Image: At the End of Everything

At the End of Everything

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Member Reviews

This book in 3 words: Tragic. Brave. Exciting.

This is my second book by Marieke Nijkamp and just like the first, this one tore me apart, in the best way. This story features a group of kids at a juvenile facility who are left behind during a pandemic. Let me say, I'm not particularly drawn to books about pandemics, ever since being in one, but the combination of the description and author intrigued me. I do think this is a tough plot for many and readers may be hesitant. But I'm here to tell you, if you can pick this up, I THINK IT WILL BE WORTH IT.

I thought this book was well-done. The characters were brief, but beautifully crafted. Kudos to the author for one of the most inclusive roster of characters I've read in a while.

The story is a bit dark (and a bit of a trigger for me personally... hands up for anxiety) but I still found myself invested. I read most of this in a single sitting, in my uncomfortable kitchen chair, because I so badly wanted to know what was coming next. This book takes a look at humanity, people who are "good" and "bad", and challenges thoughts and preconceived notions.

I think the author did a stellar job of approaching this subject matter and found a way to keep pulling at the reader. If you're ready for a book about a pandemic, or just about people rallying together to take care of one another, I recommend this one.

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At the End of Everything is a new novel from the author of This is Where it Ends. The novel starts off in a juvenile treatment center, ironically called Hope. The teenagers there are all in for various reasons, although no one (besides the employees of the center) knows why each teen is there. The days in the center are very structured and orderly. So much so, that when the guards start to act strange, a couple of the teens take notice.

Then one day, the guards (as well as all the other employees) don’t show up and the teens are left by themselves. With no one there to stop them, a group of the teens decide to leave the facility, only to encounter a group of soldiers, who turn them back to the center because a deadly disease is spreading throughout the country. With limited supplies and the disease already within the walls of Hope, the teens struggle to survive in a world where no one seems to want them.

I really wanted to love this novel. However, I just felt like it was rushed to get published and to capitalize on the current pandemic. (While the author may not have intentionally done this, it is how I feel.) The characters are very cliche. There’s the smart one, the bully, the different one, the quiet one, the one that makes poor decisions, and many more. While we don’t really know why everyone is in the detention center, we know why the three main characters are in. Grace (the smart one) is in because her foster brother attacked someone and she tried to stop him. Logan (the quiet one {selective mute}) is in with her twin sister for starting a fire that killed a person. Emerson is in because they are gender fluid and got kicked out of their house. Other characters are mentioned, along with what they supposedly did to get in the center, but they too are cliche. The author made it a point in the author’s note to say she didn’t want to add to the racial inequalities, so she kept the main characters white. I can appreciate that, but that left very little diversity among the main characters.

So that brings me to the “treatment center" itself. It’s in the middle of the Ozarks and the people nearby don’t want to have anything to do with it. It fronts as a place to rehabilitate the teens in order for them to be productive members of society, but the way the center is described, it's more of a prison than a rehabilitation center.

The idea of a mutation of the Black Plague is different, but given the current variation of the COVID-19 virus, it's not very creative. The teens social distance, wear masks, and even wipe down goods they scavenge from the nearby town. I understand this is the best way to prevent the disease from spreading, but again, being in the middle of the pandemic still, something feels off.

Overall, I just didn't like this novel. I didn't feel any connection to the characters. At the end, when one of the main characters dies, I don't even feel sad, especially given all they sacrificed to try to save the others. Yes, there were some good moments, like when all the teens took up a job within the center to keep it running, but those moments are few and far between. The ultimate sacrifice at the end could have been great and could have been really heartwarming IF the character was likable.

I give this novel 3.5 stars.

Thank you to Netgallery and Sourcebooks for this advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the digitarl ARC. My opinions are only my own. I am sorry to say that this was an absolute fail for me. I know my teen daughter has liked this author so I wanted to try but there was something about the writing that felt very clunky and did not flow naturally. It also seemed that in trying to be inclusive with the characters (which is admirable) because the author was trying so hard, it did not come through as genuine, it just felt cut and pasted. I think it is a much more natural flow to have things be revealed about characters as it is necessary to the story. To obviously state, "this character is non0binary, watch" or this character is "special needs" just was terrible. Many other elements seemed very obvious and hitting every trope. I am truly sorry I didn't enjoy it.

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I stopped on page 4. I’ve never not pushed past my dislike and given up on a book before at least page 50. I just couldn’t do it with this one. I’ve somehow managed to get away with books that have yet to be published, and in today’s political and social climate it seems everyone has something to stay about everything. Most authors keep their commentary subtle and gently nudge their readers in the right direction, but nope, not this one! I should have known, as this is the first book I have ever seen in my 24 years of being with a fucking trigger warning. A TRIGGER WARNING! I'll stop you right there, this is not my type of book.

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At the End of Everything is a story following the wake of an epidemic. We meet our main characters in the ironically named Hope Juvenile Treatment Center - a dark and dreary, survival of the fittest, dangerous jail-like institution for adolescents who have caused legal infractions. After meeting the main characters we learn of an epidemic that causes the guards to not to return to the Center. The book follows the characters as they deal with a very real life deadly disease (no syfy).

I did not connect with the characters in this book. Too many times the characters were similar to others with reactions and interactions based on many other stories. Because I didn't connect, it was hard to keep focus on the story and the ending.

If you like real-life disease stories, juvenile discipline underdog stories, this might be for you! Thank to @Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I felt like this book had a lot of hope. I was a fan of previous things that this author has written so I was excited to read this one. However, I felt like it lacked authenticity. The characters were problematic and seemed unrealistic and one sided. Also I found myself to be bored throughout much of the book. To me it kind of dragged on and although the theme of the book shines through, I just thought it could have been handled better.

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To start off this review, I just wanted to say thank you to Netgalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book is about a group of barely acknowledged teens who live in The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center which is crazy because that place seems to have no hope to them. But one day the guards to the facility have start acting weird, and the kids later find out the guards have left. When the teens find out, they are determined to break from the facility but when they do they only discover that there is a deadly disease spreading in the outside world.

It was actually really hard to get through this for me, I don’t know if it was like that for anyone else but, I didn’t really feel interested in this story. I did like some of the characters and their authenticity, their emotions felt so real and I like how the author wrote it. There was a lot going on in this book and it just wasn’t my fav. I’d give this a 2/5 stars.

Again, thank you to Netgalley for the arc!

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Think about trapped inside the juvenile treatment center: abandoned, left behind as an outbreak spreads through the entire world. What if being caged behind the locks is equal to take your chance at the outside world.

What if nowhere is safe enough to run or hide!

I loved this apocalyptic thriller concept surrounded by young narrators who are a bunch of broken, criminal kids who lost their ways and who don’t have any chance to recover for starting over!

The place they stay called Hope Juvenile Treatment Center lies amid a small clearing. A piece of elevated grasslands between the wild oak and hickory trees and mountain ranges of the Ozarks. It may be considered as wilderness camp: cut out from all kinds of civilization.

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.

Emerson already gets bullied by guards because of being non binary and she forgets to attend her initiation meeting with that vicious welcoming committee because she meets Grace lurking around the corridors, telling her there are no guards watch them. This strange situation triggers the boys group to take their chances to flee!

But as soon as they take a few steps outside they realize a group of soldiers waiting for them with their guns trained on them, telling the group to go back where they came from.

After a violent quarrel breaks out, teenagers find out the ugly truth: right before Christmas, there was an outbreak of respiratory disease in several cities across the state and country. The very same disease is highly deadly and dangerous, spreading fast as the people keep traveling outside the country. The government placed the state in total lockdown.

This means they cannot go anywhere. If they try, they will get shoot. But this never stops them even though some of them still think stay at the treatment center is safer, some unexpected incident force them to change their minds.

It was gripping, surprising, action packed thriller with multi narrators. Grace was already my favorite one who was fighter against the inequality, barely restraining her temper.

The conclusion was also satisfying enough which made me give four pandemic, thrilling, riveting, young adult, mysterious stars.

Special thanks to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

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Book was good, but not my favorite of the year, but still worth the read.
It takes a while to get into, but it is much better as you get into it.
Not something I would put at the top of my list, but it is worth the read.

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I received an advance copy of, At The End of Everything, by Marieke Nijkamp. This is a really heavy book. Its different to what I normally read.

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This book is a definite example of "art imitating life." As I was reading it, I thought it was very relevant to the times we are living in (COVID) and felt like it was part historical fiction. The story was a heartfelt one, about friendship and survival, and yes, social injustices of the world. I rate it 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

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This was the first Marieke Nijkamp novel I've read and I really wanted to enjoy it! The premise seemed interesting and looked like a contemporary that would fill all my needs. However, a lot of this novel didn't do it for me.

My problems with this novel started from the very first page. From the start, I could tell that the characters were going to be off and I wouldn't like them that much, however, my problems with the cast would extend a bit more. There wasn't a single person that I enjoyed reading about. Meaning that there was also not a point of view that kept me engaged. All the characters were an oversaturation of already existing stereotypes, they had very little depth and very little development. The dialogue and interactions that we witness are all very immature and juvenile. I found myself cringing a lot while reading, so obviously my entertainment levels were fairly low.

I also don't believe that the ending was properly executed. I'm not a reader that can predict endings or plot twists, but in this novel it was somewhat more obvious to me. I wasn't hooked on the plot and I found myself not caring that much.

I appreciate the idea that the author had, but with more editing I think it could've been better. I'm not sure if I'll end up reading any more Nijkamp novels, but if you enjoyed her other novels, you may end up liking this one!

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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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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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