Cover Image: All That’s Left in the World

All That’s Left in the World

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Member Reviews

I loved this book. For a debut novel I was really impressed! I am hoping that there will be a sequel because this was an AMAZING book!
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I really enjoyed this one. A story of two boys learning to trust each other in a post-covid, post-new-pandemic world where distrust is the new norm. For fans of post-apocalyptic shows like The Walking Dead or Y: The Last Man.
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Back when dystopian novels were truly fantasy and not a present (if not right-around-the-corner) danger, I would’ve been ALL about this. But because I’ve really been struggling these past few years with the unfairness of those who bully, abuse and take advantage of others, because they can, I found myself having to skim a little, starting when people finally show up to take all of Andrew and Jamie’s food.
Of course, I couldn’t stop thinking how today’s environment--with its current pandemic, supply chain issues, multiplying anti-LGBTQ laws and a WHOLE lot of guns--made some of the events that happen in this book downright quaint. (How had a “good” enclave not been overrun already by gun-toting militias?)
Still, Andrew and Jamie’s love story is a unique and much needed addition to the dystopian genre.
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This book follows Andrew and Jamie, going back and forth between them for each chapter. This book is set in a post-apocalyptic world where something deadly has spread through the world, killing most of the population. Andrew is traveling to Alexandria on a mission to deliver a message, if he can. He gets severely injured and happens upon Jamie’s house. Jamie helps him recover, and they begin an adventure through the country, avoiding danger and (of course) finding love along the way. 

I thought this was great! A little bit romance, a little bit action, a LOT stressful (but in a good way!). This is set after COVID, and isn’t the same thing that we are dealing with  now, but still so real! It gave me Walking Dead vibes too, just no zombies. Dealing with sketchy people, and trying to make a new way after everything has been basically set back to zero, civilization wise. The writing was great too! I will be excited to read more by this author! 

I was given an advanced reader's copy via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own
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I love a good postapocalyptic thriller, especially since it's so timely. Jamie and ANdrew are both so heartwrenchingly relateable that you can't help rooting for them, and the story moves along quickly to give them many situations to react to and help their relationship and growth progress. THere was tons of very descriptive writing, which I think is necessary for a story set in a future period.
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This queer, post-apocalyptic love story is set in an America that has been decimated by a superflu. Andrew has been wandering alone for months when he stumbles upon Jamie, a boy who seems to be doing quite well for himself in a small self-sufficient cabin in the woods (not that kind of cabin in the woods). The two form a strong bond, and a series of unfortunate events leads to them leaving their cabin to head south. 
Forgive me for the lackluster plot summary, it's just that so much happens in this book (in a good way) that it's a bit difficult to describe. Part romance, part dystopian thriller, this book was funny, heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and had me on the edge of my seat. The romance did not detract from the adventure and vice-versa. It is well-written and engaging. The characters are *chef's kiss* (all I want is to protect them from the bad things in the world). I haven't willingly picked up a dystopian in a long time, but Erik Brown created something new and different. Even if you're not a fan of dystopian, give this one a try.
PS: I read the author's note at the end and was interested to find out that this book was written back in 2015, long before COVID was a daily concern. Weird to think about a time before any superbug now.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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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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