Cover Image: All That’s Left in the World

All That’s Left in the World

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Member Reviews

<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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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!
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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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