Cover Image: All That’s Left in the World

All That’s Left in the World

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Member Reviews

The world learned nothing from COVID (believable) and a bird flu type pandemic has swept...well, the world. The survival rate is devastatingly low, society has completely collapsed, and Jamie's mother was one of the victims, leaving him alone in their well-stocked but remote vacation cabin in Pennsylvania. Andrew's entire family is dead and he's traveling from Connecticut to Alexandria, Virginia for reasons he doesn't want to think too hard about when he steps in a bear trap, breaks his leg, and stumbles upon Jamie's cabin. After this apocalyptic meet-cute, Jamie joins Andrew on his trek south partially in hope of the international aid that's supposed to come to Reagan National Airport on June 10th. On their travels, they run into your typical set of apocalyptic trials (cult-y preppers, survivors who have gone insane, etc etc) - and very slowly realize that while they've become friends, they may want more from their end-of-the-world relationship.

This was an excellent novel, and I was honestly surprised to see that it was a debut. I think it probably benefits from the relative dearth of recent apocalyptic YA; there weren't any real twists, but because there hasn't been a whole lot in the genre in the past several years, I wasn't upset by the straightforward and predictable plot. It's honestly kind of a fluffy novel (are we allowed to say that pandemic apocalypse books are fluffy yet??) and just really...wholesome? The dynamic between Jamie and Andrew developed very naturally with an appropriate-but-not-overdone amount of "in love with the straight guy" angst on Andrew's part and an appropriate-but-not-overdone amount of "oh shit am I bisexual" angst on Jamie's part. The tension, both in terms of plot and in terms of their relationship, was very well and consistently built and by the end I kind of wanted to cry but in a cathartic way which is not a feeling I usually have about books.

Overall highly recommend to anyone who enjoyed the movie Contagion or anything in the 28 Days Later franchise, everyone who just needs to feel feelings about pandemics but in a good way, and the gays in the back who have been patiently waiting for the queer post-apocalyptic dystopian and/or apocalypse fiction for the past decade and a half.
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An excellent rendition of teens in a post-apocalyptic world trying to survive and thrive in a seemingly hopeless environment. 

The main characters of Andrew and Jamie are really well thought out. Both have their own personalities, motivations, and interests that make the interactions between the two feel genuine. I loved reading the slow burn and the relationship develop between Jamie and Andrew. It felt authentic and didn't push them to be together, the story just let them develop and progress into their own attraction and love for one another. I also liked seeing the different types of people that would survive and either thrive or have a power complex in this new world.  

Their struggles and compassion for each other and those they meet is great. They're personalities and mannerisms are unique and you really feel for these characters and what they have lost. This story comes out at a time when the world is going through some many harsh times and this book gives a sweet and bitter hope that even through the worst times there are still people with fighting for and caring about.
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All That's Left in the World was such a fun read! What more do you need than a post-apocalyptic glimpse at two young adults struggling to survive, only to find one another amid the end of the world? This novel has a pleasant balancing act between slower paced characterization and faster action, and it succeeds in both. I can definitely see this being a hit with the YA crowd come publication.
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Despite this book being about the end of the world via a worldwide pandemic that killed 95% of the population, I had a smile on my face for most of this book. The way that the author wrote these two beautiful boys felt genuine. They felt like real people that I knew in high school (and that I know now!). Both of our main characters were absolute delights, they balanced each other and both had moments of failure and success. It was a story of these two boys falling in love, surviving, and trying to find moments in a destroyed world where they could just be teenagers.

The pace of this book was breakneck but in an absolutely good way. We had our travel montages, meeting settlements and individuals that are trying to survive (in very different ways). We had our potential for rescue, moments of “Will he die??? I swear to the gods Erik. J. Brown, I will hunt you down if he does not make it”, and the absolute reality of a person with a crush on another and does not know if they like them back!!!!!

My one qualm with the pace was that by the middle of the book we had reached a goal that I thought was the end goal. And this was the only place where I found it floundered but I can see that it was meant to symbolize how our MCs were also floundering. They had accomplished a goal…so what’s next? And while it took me a few chapters to reorient, I also can appreciate that moment now. It felt like a moment for the story to stop but it needed to continue. We needed more of Andrew and Jamie.

The stakes were high, the reality hit home. I felt myself cringing when wounds were at the forefront of the story when injuries had to be fixed or pushed beyond what they should be. I found my eyes widening in shock when previous threats returned or new ones jumped out of the bushes. The world was eerie, so very empty and the author captured it perfectly.

The romance was so sweet and I believed every moment of it. The characters questioned it themselves and that lent to the authenticity. I tend to overthink and seeing that laid out in front of me, helped me really connect with Jamie and Andrew.

I don’t want to give much more away, I want you to read this book.

Final Thoughts:

Go get it. If you love post-apocalyptic stories and can get past the very close-to-home premise, you will absolutely enjoy this book. I read it in three days only because I had to work during the day. It was reminiscent of everything good about The Walking Dead before it went on too long (in my opinion) without the zombies (which is a plus for me!).

It also took the time to remind me how much I love this genre. I was such a big The Hunger Games fan and it’s been hard to find something that upholds my love for dystopian stories. Thankfully, All That’s Left in the World reignited my love of it.

Trigger Warnings: pandemic (fictional), reference to COVID-19 pandemic, death, descriptions of dead bodies, violence/murder, guns

Representation: gay MC, bi/pan/queer MC
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I didn’t know I was in the mood for a post-apocalyptic pandemic read… but I guess I was because I freaking loved this book. The characters were great, the adventure was fun, and I appreciated the comparisons to COVID after the author realized he was writing a pandemic book right before a pandemic started. Very sweet and very witty, I loved it all.
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Daring to write in the oversaturated pandemic apocalypse genre, Erik Browne has produced a bog-standard pandemic novel distinguished only by its LGBTQ representation. I found Jamison too much of a Mary Sue and the general level of melodrama much too high, which diminished the novel’s impact for me. I’d recommend it because I know many people enjoy melodrama and there is a paucity of SF novels with gay male protagonists.
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This was such a wonderful book that made me feel warm and fuzzy. The character development was also excellent and the writing! This was a great read and will definitely become one of my favorites. If you're looking for a YA post-apocalyptic queer romance give this one a try!
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This was exactly what I needed. It was fun and exciting with a cute love story. It's still a little eerie reading books that even mention COVID-19, let alone a book like this that takes on the next, even worse, pandemic. I'm glad there were alternating perspectives because I felt really close to both of the characters and fell in love with them both. I even fell in love with Clara who only really comes in for the last 30% or so, which was a weird choice but worked really well. I have nothing bad to say about this book except that I would've read so much more of it.
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Ok, so let me start off this review by being clear that my choice to DNF this book had nothing to do with the quality of the writing or the storytelling from Erik J. Brown. I absolutely love the set up of this story with two young men who are essentially all alone finding one another in this post-apocalyptic world. The book is intense from the start as we open with Andrew, severely injured and barely hanging on, finding Jamie’s house like an oasis in the wilderness. The two boys are wary, both knowing how dangerous life is right now and afraid to trust anyone. And even as they were easing into the start of a friendship, I could feel the tension of what was to come. So I found the writing to be very good and the story itself was engaging and drew me in. I was eager to see how Jamie and Andrew’s adventure would unfold and, again, I have nothing critical to say about the writing or the story in the portion that I read.

Where I struggled here is that I found myself very triggered by the premise of a deadly virus that kills most of the world. I love post-apocalyptic stories and have read books featuring deadly diseases before. And I have read end-of-the-world, post-apocalyptic stories since the start of the Covid pandemic. So I really didn’t expect to have such an intense reaction here to this story, but I found it actively upsetting and inducing panic in a way that meant I just couldn’t keep reading. To be clear, this story is not about Covid. While the book takes place in an undisclosed future (at least not disclosed in the 15% or so that I read), it is clear that Covid has already happened and that this is a new and different pathogen. But there are similarities, including how fast it spread, how people originally thought it was just flu-like, how the U.S. responded, etc that definitely evoked a sense of our current situation, albeit in a much more severe way. I’ll also note that I happened to be recovering from Covid when I picked up this book. It was random coincidence; I received this for review months ago and put it on my schedule for release day, so I didn’t even remember details of what it was about before I picked it up as next on my list to read. But I will say that when I was sick in bed coughing, reading about people in the book having coughs that then led to their grisly deaths, I realized it was just too much for me. Even thinking about the story was making me anxious and brought out all my larger Covid anxiety of the past two years and, unfortunately, I found it just too triggering to keep reading.

I am really sorry about that, because as I said, everything I read made me feel that this has the potential to be a very good book. So if this story seems like one that intrigues you, I definitely encourage you to check it out. I am engaged enough with the story myself to hope that I reach a point where I can try it again, but unfortunately, that isn’t right now. But I did want to at least get this book out there and share my thoughts, as well as let more folks hear about it in case this might be a story for them. And I will definitely be keeping my eye open for more books by this debut author in the future.

P.S. As a note, our official blog policy is that we do not DNF a book until at least reading 25 percent. I feel as reviewers we need to give every book a fair chance before deciding not to continue. However, in this case I broke my own rule because the story was just triggering my panic and so I stopped at around 15 percent into the book.
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I have to be honest, I put off reading this book for the longest time because the apocalyptic aspect in our current climate and I wasn’t emotionally prepared for it. When I started it, I still wondered if I should wait. However, it was such a wonderful experience. More of an escape from current events than anything else. These characters are so fleshed out. I fell in love immediately. I loved that this was not a romance story. It was a survival story with aspects of romance. I cannot wait to see what is in store for the future with this author.
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More like a 4.5/5 because I know I will forget the names of these characters in the future and probably never reread this book, but oh my GOD this was such a fun story to read. I love post apocalyptic stories, but especially ones that include a little bit of humor and warmth along with all the sad and terrible things that happened. Jamie and Andrew were both such fun characters, and I found myself grinning at a lot of lines (like the reference to the Paul Rudd “look at us” meme and hoping Paul was still alive in this new world).

I think this story had the perfect blend of action, heart, slice of life, plot, and romance for a YA post apocalyptic novel, and I highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a quick, fun read!
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Thank you to Harper Collins children's books for this copy of all that's left in the world by Erik Brown. This is a post-apocalyptic gay MM young adult romance. It stars Jameson and his friend and burgeoning crush Andrew as they try to survive. Through their journey, they will combat injury, roving bands of misfits, weirdly stepford-like communities for the time. All in all, they will go on a very long journey so it's hard to summarize. But I did enjoy this book and I would recommend it.

On the sum of what I feel could be improved in this book or in a subsequent novel. A lot goes on in this book. So much so that sometimes it's hard to keep track of where exactly I am and despite having many twists and turns, it can almost drag because it seems to jump from one to another so quickly at certain points. Then the pacing will be slow and almost arduous for a few chapters and it's kind of weird to jump from one to the other, but that might just be the author's writing style. I think that if they cut it down a little bit by an event or two, they really could have drawn out some of the growth between those characters.

I did enjoy the dual POV, I thought it was done very well and that it was nice to see each characters side of the same situation without it feeling like it was repetitious. That is very difficult to do. And this author did it well. All in all, I struggled between reading this a three or four but I felt it was on the lower end so I'm going to rate it a three. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who likes romance with a little bit of inks with a guaranteed sweet ending. Anyone that likes coming of age stories, or post-apocalyptic books in general. It is a solid read.
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How in the world could a book about a blossoming queer romance set during an apocalypse be romantic?? But it is! It's wonderfully romantic and vivid and heart pounding! I absolutely loved it, and Erik J. Brown is amazing! Plus, it is so unexpectedly funny! I wanted to savor it over several days but could not help finishing over the weekend! Highly recommended!
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DNF @ 30%

This book definitely has a lot of potential, and I really appreciate finally seeing queer representation in the apocalyptic genre. However, for me, the plot and the characters fell flat, and I'm not invested enough to continue reading. While this one isn't my favourite, I am sure that it will appeal to many, especially considering all the five-star reviews I've been seeing!
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Unfortunately I DNFed this book at 30%. I didn't hate it by any means but I was definitely bored, and after the first "altercation" between the main characters and their antagonists, I just was not liking it. I hated the circumstances they were in and definitely would have liked to see it done differently. 

I also was not in love with the characters. I would have liked to have seen more chemistry between them before they started laying down their lives for one another. 

Though this wasn't my favorite book, I feel like it would be perfect for YA readers who love post-apocalyptic worlds and quick romances. Definitely for light-hearted readers!

xx
-Christine
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We all know that I am always here for an apocalypse book. And All That's Left in the World did not disappoint! And as such, I shall tell you the reasons I enjoyed it so much!

►The characters were great. Jamie and Andrew were so different, but both so wonderful. And they were on very different apocalypse trajectories before Andrew found himself outside Jamie's house. But I really enjoyed what each character brought to the table. They felt very well fleshed out, and realistic, like you could see a part of yourself in them as they try to navigate the world they've found themselves survivors in. Neither is particularly well equipped, mentally or physically, to handle the trials thrust upon them, but they haven't a choice. It's basically exactly how a huge majority of us would feel, I assume.

►There's nothing better for me than an apocalyptic road trip. That's just facts, okay? For whatever reason, I am a huge sucker for not just the end of the world, but having to go on some epic journey during it. So when the guys set out to see what's shakin' in Washington D.C., I was beyond excited. In this book especially it works great, because they happen to find some people and a whole lot of answers along the way.

►The pacing was spot-on. A great blend of action and character development, I absolutely flew through the story, yet at the same time didn't want it to end! Kind of the perfect combo.

►The whole apocalypse was presented in an authentic-feeling way. Ugh, humans, am I right? We are always over here sabotaging ourselves, and this is no different. I mean, sure, a virus is the reason, but we know no one did humanity any favors. There's frank discussion about how the US basically shat the bed (again) in terms of trying to control things, which at least gave the guys a little hope that some other country maybe handled it better. People, of course, are both amazingly kind and incredibly evil. I love that the author explored both types, frankly. Because yeah, there is a lot of human garbage out there at the end of the world. But there are also some real pillars of mankind out there too, and I love that both were featured.

►Speaking of which, despite the ruined world, there was an air of hopefulness. I mean, that's what you need in the best apocalypse books, right? Not just despair and death, but hope that there is enough left worth saving. And this book, even when things looked bleak, managed to keep the hope alive.

►And as such, it gave me many feels. I loved the bond that grew between Jamie and Andrew, and I loved learning more about the lives they had lost, too. There are a lot of moments during the course of the story that also broke and/or warmed my heart, that I won't mention because spoilers. And, there was a perfect amount of lighter banter, too, so the story didn't feel too heavy.

There was one tiny thing that wasn't my favorite, which was a pretty big Lie of Omission™ situation. But while it isn't my favorite device, I could at least respect and understand the context, so I was mostly able to overlook it.

Bottom Line: A heartfelt book about the apocalypse with great characters and an exciting story made me fall in love with this one!
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Raimskie Read: All That’s Left In The World by Erik J. Brown (@erikjb)
Digital Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC),
To be released on March 8, 2022
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Hope—that is what the reader would feel as they flip through the pages of this book and as the story progresses. It would be one of the reasons the reader would want to keep on reading as they join Jamison and Andrew in their quest to find other survivors of the superflu.
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[FULL BOOK REVIEW on my Bookstagram, @raimskiereads.]
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All That's Left in the World was such a whirlwind of excitement! I loved following Jamie and Andrew on their end-of-the-world trek full of secrets, reservations, and pining. Erik J. Brown has done a fantastic job creating a post-apocalyptic world and characters with depth. I was absolutely blown away with where this book went, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in YA dystopian fiction. I look forward to seeing what this author comes out with next.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy.
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4 stars 

Andrew and Jamie, the main characters who share their joint perspectives throughout this gripping YA novel, are in an unfortunate bout of good or terrible luck, depending on the reader's perspective. On one hand, they've managed to beat the odds by surviving the superflu. On the other, they've lost everyone and now have to navigate a post-apocalyptic world that includes the kind of creeps we actually live with today. Which is worse? Well, these characters see more reasons to find themselves among the fortunate once they meet each other. 

There is a lot to like about this book, even for those who think of the superflu/pandemic/but I'm reading to escape reality! connections. These characters are likeable, and the romance is well drawn and not overblown (as is the case in so much YA). There's great queer rep here (though it appears limited to the two central characters). The plot is also mostly engaging, though - as would be the case with any post-apocalyptic adventure - of course there are times when for both realistic and stylistic purposes, events have to slow a bit. 

Overall, especially considering my skepticism regarding how much I could enjoy a pandemic-y book at this particular time, I really appreciated the read. I'll be looking for more from this author for sure and will be recommending this particular novel to my students.
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This post apocalyptic YA book is amazing, I felt like the author did great with the world building. I found Jamie and Andrews  relationship adorable and well built. If you like Fragile Remedy you would most likely enjoy this!
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