Cover Image: All That’s Left in the World

All That’s Left in the World

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

4.5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for an advanced copy of this to review! There is a definite lack of gay post-apocalyptic fiction, so I'm so glad that this exists. I'm also happy to report that this lived up to my expectations, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I think I saw somewhere that this is being pitched as David and Patrick from Schitt's Creek as teenagers at the end of the world. That absolutely describes Andrew and Jamie's dynamic so well. Jamie is much more reserved, level headed like Patrick. Andrew puts himself out there more, like David. They have bickering, they have sweet moments. The romance definitely isn't lost in this post-apocalpytic novel. But it also doesn't take away from the seriousness of what's happening around them. It feels realistic, given the circumstances.

The only reason this isn't getting a full five stars is honestly because I was a little taken out of the story by the mentions of COVID. I get the importance, and appreciated the author's note at the end about it. I'm still of the opinion that it feels too soon to put COVID in books. Does anyone else feel this way?

Anyway, this is definitely a very character driven novel, as there's not necessarily a central conflict driving the plot except for the apocalypse. Personally, I'm a fan of this kind of story, but always feel like it's helpful knowing that before you go into the story.

All in all, if you're looking for a good character driven post-apocalyptic novel, this is for you! I also appreciated the Tom Holland references, because of obvious reasons (or maybe not obvious, if you haven't seen my posts about Spider-Man). This might be one I add to my personal library when it comes out in March!
Was this review helpful?
I read this ARC via Netgalley.

Andrew hasn't seen another person in so long that he barely expects anyone to be home when he enters a house with a severe injury.  Jamie hasn't seen anyone else either, but after the surprise of someone his own age showing up on his doorstep, Jamie uses the medical notes his mother left after the plague took her to help him.  During the weeks of healing, the two boys become close.  But then their safe haven is threatened, and they hit the road.  Andrew has a destination in mind, only it means he'll have to reveal to Jamie a dark secret...

This was the gay post-apocalyptic novel I never knew I wanted!  It took all the survival stuff I love from "The Walking Dead" minus the zombies and added in some mutual pining.  For the most part this was a bromance that turned to romance, as Jamie - presumed to be straight by both himself and Andrew - begins to sort through his feelings and realizes he has fallen for Andrew.  Only every time he tries to say something, some other post-apocalyptic situation arises.  I started reading this yesterday and just could not put it down, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Rating: 4.5 stars

I absolutely loved this so much! As soon as I started it I couldn't stop until I finished in one sitting. The writing, plot and overall atmosphere was completely my jam, I've been craving more queer post apocalyptic type stories for years and this one delivered everything I wanted and more! 

Such a fantastic debut book, I truly can't wait to read more by this author in the future! I loved the fact that this was dual POV, the friendship between the main characters was lovely and their journey to lovers was done so well. I felt like the plot lost its footing around the 50% mark, but honestly I didn’t care at all, it was all just vibes and I was having such a great time I didn’t want it to end. 

Overall, highly recommend this one if you like post apocalyptic YA with queer characters and fast paced writing.
Was this review helpful?
This is the queer post-apocalyptic novel I have always wanted. I adore both protagonists Jamie and Andrew so very much. Their voices sing on the page. Watching their relationship bloom from the ashes of a society ravaged by a pandemic is truly beautiful, hopeful, and affirming. I cannot wait to get this into the hands of my students.
Was this review helpful?
This was a cute book, but I wasn't really into it. It wasn't really a topic that I enjoyed, it had potential but I didn't see myself getting into the writing.
Was this review helpful?
All That's Left in the World by Erik J. Brown is a fantastic blend of a postapocalyptic quest and a love story. After the super flu wipes out the majority of Earth's population, society breaks down and life becomes a survival of the fittest. When Andrew is injured by a bear trap, he seeks refuge at a cottage deep in the woods that seems abandoned, but he quickly learns that Jamison is living there alone. What begins as a tense, untrusting relationship quickly becomes a deeper respect and friendship as the two teens set out together to try to find what it is they are each looking for. 

I loved all the aspects of the book! I appreciated the intensity of the postapocalyptic world and the universal goodness of finding someone you can trust and build a hopeful future with. The LGBTQIA+ representation is beautifully written and lends a sweetness and sense of humor and normalcy to the storyline. At times, the references to the pandemic, societal breakdowns, and bigotry was triggering, but there is a goodness to the main characters that offers and emotional relief to the reflected reality of current events.

CW: gun violence, pandemic, bigotry, lawlessness

Advanced copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
"All That's Left in the World," follows two teenagers navigating the world after a deadly disease has wiped out 80% of the population. Andrew and Jamie find each other unexpectedly but quickly find themselves relying on each other to survive a wild journey across the country. And maybe feelings also develop? You'll have to read to find out.

I was pleasantly surprised by this; I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. I was worried that it was going to just be an allegory for Covid and feel overwrought with cliche's of the last two years. However, the book very successfully avoids these. The book acknowledges the existence of Covid, but because it is ultimately a post-apocalyptic love story with such well developed protagonists, I never found myself cringing or being turned off by any of this content. There are some pop culture references in the book that I found myself doing that with; however there are some that are also much more tasteful and gave me a good ole' chuckle. 

I also have to appreciate the author's willingness to put trust in the reader to "figure it out." There is a point at which the two characters find a community of people, but something isn't quite right. And while it is never said outloud what this community is up to, the book makes it very clear with the clues provided and trusts the reader to piece it together.

I still can't get over how much of a delight this book was. It was fast-paced, comical, and heartwarming while also tackling some heavier subject matter and darker themes. What a pleasant surprise.

**Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC of this book.**
Was this review helpful?
I've been anticipating this one since I first read the synopsis but unfortunately it fell flat for me. The writing was kind of choppy and I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I enjoyed the dystopian aspects though and how it takes place during an apocalypse of sorts and doesn't start right where the pandemic starts. I also felt that the stakes weren't as high in this one as I like them to be in survival stories but I will still be recommending it to friends
Was this review helpful?
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review*

I absolutely loved this book. Jamie and Andrew were so well written, and their journey from strangers to travelling companions to more was absolutely enthralling. I loved the descriptions of everything, and how bleak the world looks when a huge chunk of the population has died from a super flu. I also appreciated that that bleakness came without giving us graphic depictions of the loss of life or what can be found in homes where no one survives. Henri, Cara, and Amy were well written as well, and they felt like they had their own stories that just happened to coincide with Jamie and Andrew's journey, instead of being flat storytelling devices. Cara was someone that I didn't think I'd enjoy, but I found that by the end I wanted to know way more about her than we ever get to learn. No spoilers, but I love the ending location and wanted to know even more about how everything ran so smoothly. In short, I wanted to keep reading but I ran out of pages! Definitely going to recommend to anyone that will listen!
Was this review helpful?
Andrew has just had a less-than-pleasant encounter with a bear trap when he stumbles upon Jamie's cabin. In the post-apocalypse, everyone has lost someone to the deadly pandemic. But the two boys learn to trust each other and start to feel something more... 

I will start off by saying that this book was extremely difficult to read. That is no fault of the book or the author — I was simply not prepared for how many complicated emotions I would feel during a book about a pandemic that wipes out the majority of Earth's population. 

I did think, however, that the author handled this topic extremely well. He explored the tragedy as well as the hope. There was one very interesting (and worrying) section about a group of white supremacists who use the apocalypse to live out their America-first eugenicist fantasies. I appreciated the acknowledgment that fascists would have a field day with the apocalypse. 

I also loved everything to do with Henri, an older woman Andrew and Jamie meet on their journey south. Lots of dystopian books assume that we’ll fall to chaos immediately. But I, and the author, seem to believe that some people will come together. 

Henri asks: "Are people running around killing each other with reckless abandon? Honey, if all that stops people from killing each other is the laws of men, they maybe we deserved to be wiped out by the flu. You have to trust people sometimes. The good in this world might surprise you."

While there were some parts of the book I found a bit ridiculous — pretty much all of the zoo section, honestly — this was a solid book about what we lose and what we gain in the midst of tragedies. 

- the slowest of slow burns
- extremely heavy handed pop culture references
Was this review helpful?
<i>Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.</i>

<b>First, Some Excited Rambling</b>
So, I started reading <i>All That’s Left in the World</i>, oh, maybe an hour or two after the year officially changed to 2022? I just wanted to read a couple chapters of something before I went to bed. And then this book kindly put me in a chokehold and said FINISH ME. FINISH ME IN ONE SITTING, YOU FOOL. READ YOUR FIRST BOOK OF 2022 IN ONE GO UNTIL YOU FEEL SICK FROM STAYING UP TOO LATE. 

I’m not starting off the year with bad vibes so I didn’t argue. 

In conclusion, I stayed up until 6am, technically on New Year’s Day, sitting in the same spot for four or so hours, unable to shut my Kindle until my eyes had processed every single word within the file, right down to the copyright page. 

So if it wasn’t clear, I very much enjoyed <i>All That’s Left in the World.</i> An easy 5 stars if you some how missed my rating. 

<b>A Warning</b>
Do be aware that this book is a post-apocalyptic novel that isn’t directly about, but does reference, the COVID-19 pandemic. While our real world hasn’t exactly reached the dire state that the novel is set in, some of the fear and anxiety within the book resemble actual experiences of living through a pandemic.  

<b>The Writing</b>
Other than that, I was surprised by how hooked I was by page 1. I never read post-apocalyptic books, and nearly never read any kind of book that gets my heart racing. But <i>All That’s Left of the World</i> was such a fantastic blend of humor, action, suspense, guilt, hope, and delicious soft moments, all made possible by a fresh writing style. Although the book alternates POVs between our two main characters Andrew and Jamie, both of their voices were distinct and their backgrounds and motives were equally intriguing. The dialogue was also fantastic—quippy and sarcastic in the good moments, which only made the dire moments seem so much more intense. This is certainly a YA novel, laced with many pop culture references, but Erik J. Brown does not hesitate to include the gritty details of this post-apocalyptic world. Yet, the writing was still somehow light and consumable without glossing over any important moments. 

<b>The Plot</b>
As I mentioned, I don’t usually read this genre so I can’t compare it to much. But with the post-apocalyptic movies I’ve seen, I can’t say the plot was entirely unique or unpredictable. And that’s what surprised me! I still was aching to know what was going to happen in each scene. This is the kind of story where you’re not exactly making predictions about how it will end; rather, you want to figure out how the characters will get out of the far too many sticky situations that they get themselves into. That’s probably why I sat down, unmoving, until I finished this book (digital) cover to cover—each scene feels like it’s own little adventure. It’s great. Even my tiny attention span was roped in. 

<b>The Characters</b>
I loved them, Your Honor. They were beautiful. Guilt-ridden. Soft. Broken. Funny. Protective. Still capable of love despite all the tragedy. They meet so quickly, come attached so quickly, and yet everything else is so slow and gentle in the best way. And, as mentioned by the author, this is a <i>queer</i> post-apocalyptic story. That part was woven into the novel so effortlessly. Yay for representation among a deadly flu! (But in all seriousness, I really appreciated that. For the most part, if I am looking for queer representation, it is usually found in romance and fantasy novels, so it was exhilarating to find it elsewhere.) I’d give the author anything just for a bonus novella of Jamie and Andrew just living life, having a conversation or something. 

<b>Overall, Read If…</b>
You love
- Bickering between two lovable idiots
- The “tending to the other’s wounds trope” within the first few pages
- Sharing a bed when there wasn’t only one bed
- Sarcastic dialogue
- Tom Holland
- Brief but intriguing side characters
- Working through guilt
- Slow burn romance that honestly doesn’t feel too slow burn at all
- Just two boys protecting themselves against the dangers of the world

TWs: pandemic (fictional), reference to COVID-19 pandemic, death, descriptions of dead bodies, violence/murder, guns
Was this review helpful?
Much like the author says in the author’s note “Why did I write a pandemic book?” About twenty minutes in I’m wondering, “Why am I READING a pandemic book?”

Not gonna lie, I thought there might be zombies, because when it’s zombies, it doesn’t feel as real. This book terrified me because what in the past seemed impossible has been part of our lives for the past two years.

This isn’t a book about COVID, though it is referenced as something in the character’s recent past. This is the world not learning from that and completely falling apart. Besides that it’s very much a survival story, with two teen boys, two really wonderful characters that I loved, and their experiences. I loved Jamison and Andrew so much 🥺. 

I haven’t read a book like this since the pandemic started, I was a little worried about starting this one, but I have to say that this story really got me. I read this in one sitting, because I had to know what Andrew was hiding, I had to know what would happen to them, I wanted to make sure they were okay.

And *spoiler* sort of love that after everything they end up in Florida 😂. There are indeed good people in Florida.
Was this review helpful?
It's a queer post-apocalyptic ya novel and it is really good! I was hooked almost immediately and enjoyed reading the journey Jamie and Andrew go on, both physically as they walk hundreds of miles together and emotionally as they fall in love. 

Did some of the intense outrun/outsmart the bad human survivors scenes get a bit repetitive. Sure. But that is to be expected in apocalyptic stories.

But Jamie and Andrew also discover wonderful humans and learn what they are capable of when necessary. Erik J. Brown also delves into the guilt they feel surviving wasn't easy. They go through a lot together, save each other, and find love. The journey is beautiful and absolutely worth the read.
Was this review helpful?
I love post-apocalyptic stories, and I love queer stories … and I have never really read anything that combines the two. So when I saw this book on Netgalley, I knew I had to read it! The premise: two boys find each other in the aftermath of a superflu that wipes out most of the population and have to learn how to survive together - all while encountering lovely apocalypse things like armed bandits, white supremacists, bear traps, and an abundance of canned mushrooms (ew).

I was worried that reading this book while we are still in the thick of COVID would be difficult, but I was so engrossed in the story that it didn’t give me any anxiety at all. There were brief mentions of COVID in the beginning, but I didn’t feel like it was “preachy” or anything like that … just factual. 

I enjoyed that the story was told from both character’s viewpoints, and that there were many pop culture and movie references. There were lots of nail-biting moments, of course, but many sweet, wholesome, hilarious ones as well. That’s one of the things I like about books like these - they show that life can really still go on and hope can be found, even after the world as we know it has been broken. 

I’m looking forward to the next book by this author! 

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Out March 8th, 2022.
Was this review helpful?
A pretty rote postapocalyptic tale featuring queer protagonists.

It was never boring, but also never really surprising. These scenarios all seem to shake out the same: a huge number of people die, and the ones left lose their marbles. Antics ensue. The relationship between Andrew and Jamie is the selling point. The boys get off to a rough start, but quickly find their personalities mesh  (by luck or by necessity).

I thought a few of the situations they got in were unique, or had an interesting take. It was kind of insane to me that they'd travel through the rural South, considering parts of it are still not the friendliest to outsiders without the world devolving into warring feudal states. Still, their motivations for continuing their travels were reasonable considering these were teenagers who kept encountering untrustworthy adults. Nowhere really felt safe to them.

I liked it. I read it all in one go, and felt the author successfully brought queer representation to the genre. It's always refreshing to see queer people simply existing in literature.
Was this review helpful?
All That’s Left in the World is a post apocalyptic book. You should know that going in. Yes, it does mention COVID so if that is not a subject you want mentioned then please be hesitant. While not specifically about COVID it is mentioned. 

I enjoyed this story. Seeing two teenage boys fight for survival while also falling in love was such an interesting point of view. Andrew and Jamison are so different and what they think and how they grew up clash, but not in a bad way. I really felt their personalities shine as the novel went on. The writing was very easy to understand and make it through. 

The flaws for this book might be very picky, but as a reader it had a good amount of things I do not enjoy in books. The pop culture references in my opinion will date this book very quickly. The mention of certain movies and tv shows did nothing to help the story and at some points were annoying. I also felt that a lot of things were surface level and nothing really dived into major details that could have been added to enhance the story. Maybe a backstory on the superflu? 
I think a teenager reading this looking for lgbt representation in an apocalyptic type book would do wonders. However, for me so much fell flat. 

I did enjoy this novel. I think the author did a great job with this, but it wasn’t amazing in my eyes.

3 Stars
Was this review helpful?
Thank you so much, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Balzer + Bray, for allowing me to read this wonderful book early!

I fell for the cover, then I fell for the blurb and the queer representation, and a few pages in, I fell for Andrew, such a funny and sarcastic guy. And finally, I fell for Jamie, the sweetest boy ever.

All That’s Left in the World is a fantastic debut. Andrew and Jamie are two lonely boys who meet each other after an apocalypse, not knowing whether to trust one another. Then they become best friends and slowly realize they like each other as more than just friends. The story is sad and scary at times, but so funny simultaneously. And I loved the writing, it was incredibly captivating.  I couldn’t put the book down. A huge compliment to the author!

This young adult has it all! A slow-burn romance, a dual POV, grief, discomfort, fun (so much fun!), mystery, and more. I loved it! All That’s Left in the World will be a beautiful addition to our school library!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?