Cover Image: All That’s Left in the World

All That’s Left in the World

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Member Reviews

Because of this book I’m sleep deprived and I’m emotional over the bond between two boys at the end of the world. And I love it. 

On the surface, it is what it is. A post apocalyptic story. It does that job well. The world we find ourselves in is quite scary and frighteningly familiar. Not only are our characters fearful of the “superflu” but they’re scared of people as well, because as always people are the worst. And sometimes, people are the best. 

At the first mention of Covid I rolled my eyes. I just experience it, still an experiencing it, and I really didn’t want to read about it. However, as I continued I realized how much this is about healing from it. I felt very seen in both Andrew and Jamie, although those situation is drastically different it still felt familiar given last year. 

Speaking of them. The way I adore those two boys. Some of the pop culture references were a little cringy but it worked for the character. Mid way through I finally understood: this isn’t a book this. It’s an Andrew thing. And I loved that so much. I love when a character feels so real that you’re going “yup that’s them.” It’s a huge tell for good writing. 

There’s tension, there’s action and humor, pinning! I love a good pinning. Their friendship feels so natural and the slow progression is so real. Most of the story centers around just two characters talking and it’s so well executed. 

I had a blast reading this. I truly loved it.
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I was interested in this book because of the lack of queer representation in post apocalyptic stories, and it fully lived up to my  expectations! The story is less about the end of the world and more about what happens after: how do you learn to trust again? Love again? Be happy again? I enjoyed every page!
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All That's Left in the World by Erik J. Brown, a Queer YA post apocalyptic story. I devoured this book in one day and couldn't put it down. I also immediately preordered it after I finished, both the US and UK versions because I'm going to need both covers for my shelves!

Andrew and Jamie are both alone in a world that's been mostly wiped out by a flu like virus called "the bug". After being wounded in the woods, Andrew stumbles upon Jamie's cabin. Jamie helps heal his wound, and eventually they find themselves on the road together. They have a destination in mind, but the world outside Jamie's cabin is far from safe. They will have to trust each other in order to survive against both the inhuman and human monster out in the world.

I don't even know where to start with this one. I was invested in the characters and story right from the start. The story is so well paced, the story moves along by weeks without getting weighted down by filler material or dragging. It was more than a little eerie the similarities between the recent pandemic and this fictional bug, but I feel like that added a whole other layer to the story. This bug takes place in a fictional world that went through COVID, and somehow we still weren't prepared for it. The entire setting gave me walking dead vibes minus the zombies of course lol but the theory that catastrophic events will change people drastically for better or worse and in a lot of instances it's going to bring out the worst.

Yet among all the heavy of this post apocalyptic setting we have our main characters Andrew and Jamie. Who bring hope and love to the rough journey. Andrew is always quick with a sarcastic joke, pun or innuendo and Jamie has managed to retain his innocence in the new hardened world. While both are forced to do things in order to survive, they retain the goodness inside them even when they themselves believe otherwise. Two young strangers who learn to trust and lean on each other, who form a friendship that blossoms to more. Their romance was sweet and innocent but still EVERYTHING !

All That's Left in the World is a page turning post apocalyptic Queer YA that will bring you through a range of emotion. A strangers to friends to lovers, romance between two young men while recounting movies scene by scene and surviving in an unforgiving world.
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ARC received by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I am really bummed because I wanted to like this book so much. The premise sounded awesome but sadly I just couldn't push myself to finish it. First off, I am not quite sure why so many books keep mentioning Covid lately. There was only a small mention but it really threw me out of the book. The other thing is because it was really hard to believe that one of the boys would have all this information and a house off the grid. It felt a little too perfect to me. The writing was one of the better things about this book. It was quick enough that I didn't feel like I was taking forever to read one page. I would certainly give this author another try because I really did like the writing style.
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All That's Left in the World is a refreshing take on post apocalyptic literature. Usually, characters in this genre are not LGBTQ, so I greatly appreciated queer representation and romance. I liked the characters, and the romance wasn't too fast too soon, which is a struggle when reading YA. I liked that it focused on their survival in the face of a virus wiping out their loved ones and what that would look like for teenagers.
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This was such a fun read. The representation in the story was well done.The plot and pacing of the story was engaging and interesting. Teen readers will definitely love this story and it would be a great addition to classroom libraries.
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There’s something surreal about reading a post-apocalyptic, collapse-of-society-due-to-super-flu book during a pandemic, and it wasn’t one I wanted to read right before bed because it occasionally crept too close to reality. But at its heart, All That’s Left in the World felt like a slice-of-life roadtrip story more than anything else… just with a bit more peril. The characters and communities Jamie and Andrew met on their journey were varied, each handling the disaster they’d survived in different ways, and it was interesting to see how they reflected our own society’s diverse responses to a pandemic of (hopefully) less apocalyptic proportions. Perhaps it’s not the most comfortable book to read right now, but ultimately, still a hopeful one?
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Whew! What an absolute R I D E this book was. 

Timely and poignant, it really is a post-apocalyptic story that resonates with the current state of the world, and that makes it an emotional, impactful, edge-of-your-seat type book.

The synposis:

When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he’s injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population, including everyone both boys have ever loved. And if this new world has taught them anything, it’s to be scared of what other desperate people will do . . . so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other?

After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But something isn’t adding up about Andrew’s story, and it could cost them everything. And Jamie has a secret, too. He’s starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey.

The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together. Only one thing feels certain: all that’s left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other.

This book has depth, and some major heaviness to it -- no fluff or unnecessary toxic positivity -- while still containing humor and hope. I really enjoyed this book and think it's one we all need!

A big thanks to Balzer + Bray and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. ALL THAT'S LEFT IN THE WORLD  is out March 8, 2022.
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Let me begin by saying I LOVE post-apocalyptic stories. Love them. This book hits that vibe sometimes, but not so much other times. I think one thing I felt it missed through most of the book is the urgency I expect from an apocalyptic novel. That said, it's an incredibly emotional ride. I loved both Andrew and Jamie so much. They are very interesting in that as different as they are, there are cool glimpses of each other within. They are great foils of each other.

The beginning of this story starts off slow, but it soon picks up speed, especially once they depart their safe haven and head out into the world. The plot is believable, the growing romantic tension between the two believable and builds naturally. There isn't a lot to say about the plot in general because while Erik J Brown doesn't tread new water here when it comes to post-apocalyptic stories (if you're familiar with the over-structure of the Walking Dead show then you can sort of figure out the basic plot beats) he does make them hella-gay, and isn't that what matters?
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This book has it all. Romance, suspense, adventure as well as homophobes, thieves, and survival. The plot was well thought out so the story was believable in an unbelievable world. 
This book will make you think.
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I went into this book fully expecting not to love it. After all, we’re still living in COVID times - how could a pandemic book do anything but make my heart hurt? And sure, it definitely did that, but it also made me laugh and cry and have to get up to take a lap because it was just too cute and I couldn’t contain myself. So while it might be about a world ravaged by a pandemic, it’s also hopeful, and I couldn’t recommend it more. I can’t wait until my bookstore can have it on our shelves for real!
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The book gave me all the feels. I thought the beginning was super sweet and I felt for the two boys, when they were learning to be comfortable with each other at the cabin, but I understand the need for building up their relationship, which then leads them to wanting to leave.

I'm so excited to see this out there in the world when it comes out. Erik's going to do fantastic!
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I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It was well written and I enjoyed the sarcastic humor and the teasing banter between Andrew and Jamie. 

This story is about two teens trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world where every man is out for himself and it doesn’t seem like there are many moral people left in the world. The two slowly develop their friendship into something more while meeting some interesting new friends, fighting against new enemies, and trying to keep hope and the goodness within themselves alive.
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This book really wasn't my thing. I only ended up reading about half, which was all that I needed to figure out most of the plot. It might be good for fans of apocalypse stories, but this one didn't wow me enough to keep going. I do really love the cover; it perfectly captures the characters.
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“All That’s Left in the World” is the queer, post-apocalyptic, survival-adventure-romance novel that we all so desperately need. This trailblazing story follows two teenage boys who befriend each other months after the world goes to ruin. They travel down the U.S. east coast in search of a second chance at life, discovering truths about each other’s pasts and coming to understand their developing feelings for one another.

While this book was enjoyable overall, some particularly strong points include its consistent and upbeat pacing, well-incorporated exposition, suspense, strong and distinctive character voicing, and representation present. The POV that switched between Andrew and Jamie every chapter was very well-done and the story and characters were so engaging that I had a hard time putting the book down. I ended up finishing all 400 pages over two days.

In terms of critiques, I have very few, though most importantly I could see the pandemic-induced apocalypse of the story being a potential trigger for those who have lost loved ones to illness in recent times. I do believe “All That’s Left in the World” handled this tactfully, however. Less notably, I would have liked for the story to end on Jamison’s last chapter, rather than with the epilogue. I found the vagueness of the epilogue to be a bit confusing and detached, and consequently I was not as engaged reading it as I was the previous chapters.

I very highly recommend “All That’s Left in the World,” and I cannot wait until it releases so that I can purchase my own copy of the book. It is unique, heart-pounding, heart-warming— really, just full of heart— and is an incredibly memorable first step into the world of queer post-apocalyptic fiction. Thank you so much to Erik J. Brown and NetGalley for providing me an ARC, I look forward to seeing what you do next!
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Andrew and Jamie live in a post-pandemic, post-apocalypse world. After stumbling into a bear trap (ouch) and gravely injuring his leg, Andrew happens upon a cabin in the woods—and Jamie inside it. As Jamie nurses him back to health, the two boys grow attached to each other and their no longer lonely life. But their new world is not as idyllic as it seems, and after a run-in with an outside group waving guns and touting The Walking Dead-eqsue survivor logic, Andrew decides to leave Jamie in order to protect him. Jamie follows. The boys go through a myriad of tribulations in their travels thereafter, encountering dangerous and helpful people alike as they make their way further south.

I always find it sort of hard to summarize apocalypse stories, because there aren't many ways, I've found, to shake up the genre. And in truth, All That's Left In the World does follow a fairly typical apocalypse plot: leave safety, find Other Groups surviving the apocalypse in their own way, get hurt a few times along the way, ultimately ending with a hopeful ending (because no apocalypse, of course, can be solved perfectly and neatly). Where this book does shake it up is in the slow burn "enemies" (like, briefly) to friends to lovers romance of the two main mlm characters. I don't know of any queer kids (or people in general!) in apocalypse stories. I remember watching The Walking Dead when I was younger and always getting attached to the queer characters before—woopsie!—they were magnanimously killed off the moment we get their backstory or coming out story. (Really? C'mon guys.) So the boys in this book were, for me, a beautiful breath of fresh air. Both Jamie and Andrew are also incredibly life-like characters, throwing around pop culture references and grappling with their own inner journeys with understandable teenage fun and angst. Their romance never felt forced, either, which is sometimes hard to achieve with apocalypse romances. I'm very much looking forward to recommending this book to the teens at my library. I think they're going to eat this book up just as fast as I did!
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I was surprised to read the author's note and find out the book hadn't been started as a reaction to the pandemic, because to me, it almost read as if it were written as a way to cope with COVID-19. I think this is a good example of a book that would have gone over better with me if I were the target audience. Parts of the novel were very compelling, but I felt like those passages were somewhat camouflaged in standard post-apocalyptic tropes and time skips (granted, those are hard to avoid in a book where the characters have to walk everywhere). I think maybe if the details about the characters' backstories were sometimes flashbacks instead of always being recounted verbally or mentioned in snippets, it could have made what the characters went through come across more strongly. Despite some missed potential, I do think the book had a way of keeping you invested in what was happening.
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Set in the near future in a pandemic-ridden world, All That's Left in the World is a gripping read that asks hard questions about what all of us are capable of in terrible circumstances but manages to temper that drama with a sweet coming of age romance.  Jamie and Andrew find each other in the middle of the apocalypse, both with secrets to hide.  Can they trust each other enough to survive?
The pacing of this book is dynamic, moving quickly from one set piece to another with ease.  I appreciate how the author kept the tension going for most of the book, both romantic tension between the two leads and the outside problems that threatened the two teens’ survival.  The details seemed realistic and the shift between perspectives of both boys was never forced.  Both characters were well defined, and there were lots of great moments of levity in what could have been a very dour book.  There was something surreal about reading about the aftermath of a pandemic in the middle of one, but I think this was handled well.  And although I felt the book wrapped up too quickly, I think that is more a testament to how much I don’t want to let these characters go than any fault in the storytelling.  I look forward to recommending this book to my students who love action, suspense, survival stories, and romance.  A fantastic read!
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✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ 
5/5 Stars

Synopsis: This book is set in a post apocalyptic world after a disease wipes out most of the population in North America. Andrew stumbles onto a cabin, inside he finds Jamison. Together they try to find a way to escape North America or try to find more civilization to help them. 

Definitely hooked me from the first chapter and the characters seemed very real and you can easily relate to them. The last quarter of the book really kept me wanting to read and didn’t feel slow and boring. The plot goes right to the end of the book and I could not put it down until I found out what happened.

The banter between the two main characters Jamison and Andrew began at the beginning of the book and it was so funny, realistic and really felt like two teenage boys trying to figure out how to work together. The author used a lot of pop culture references but they didn’t feel cringy or overused, it really felt like how teenagers would talk. In the book they mention Covid, it is very relevant to what a lot of people are experiencing right now and it helps us relate to the story a lot. While still being a dystopian and apocalyptic novel it does a good job of bringing other relevant topics to the table such as homophobia, gender roles, religion, white supremacy and woman’s rights. The LGBTQ+ aspect of the novel is definitely an underlying plot as in the whole book isn’t about them trying to figure out the identities and I really like that because not every book that contains LGBTQ+ characters has to have them trying to figure themselves out as the main focus. It really is nice to read a book where people are already comfortable in their identities. As you would expect from an apocalyptic novel it does touch on the subjects such as morality and survival and does a really good job of finding the positives and negatives of their situations. The only downfall I found was it felt sluggish when they were just walking to get to the next destination but that’s expected, but at this time they would also have very personal conversations. I feel like it helped grow their relationship. I added notes as I was reading and can bet that half of them just say “aw” and “so cute”.

Favorite Quotes:
1. “Christ, even after the apocalypse I can’t resist a pun”
2. “Oh man, I hope Paul Rudd survived the bug“
3. “This is the first time — in the entire time I’ve known Jamie — I’ve ever heard him laugh. All my snarky comments, my clever jokes, my anecdotes, retelling him movies, none of it made him laugh like this. And it sounds wonderful“
4. “A gender-bent, postapocalyptic Bonnie and Clyde”
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It gets three stars. I feel like when it comes out in audio, it will be amazing, the voices will lend themselves nicely to narration, but the pacing is not quite what I wanted. Great concept, love the queer representation though.
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