I really wanted to love this book and I am sure there will be people who do love it. Unfortunately for me I didn't love the writing style, thought the plot was confusing, and was really disappointed with the ending. I will say I did love the relationship between Izzy and Raven but other than that this one fell flat for me.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my digital ARC
This book had me on the edge of my seat and the author did a great job of giving me a sense of dread. I needed to know what happened next. Izzy is such a great main character and I love her relationship with Akka and later on her friendship with Raven.
This book deals with a lot of heavy topics so I would definitely recommend this for an older middle grade audience (12-14).
I really really liked this!!! 🥰
K.A. Reynolds is so good at writing kids dealing with grief and mental illness and not being completely overtaken by those things. Her characters are always fully realized people who aren't hindered by their disabilities, but they also aren't ashamed of them. Izzy is my favorite of her protagonists so far.
She's one of my favorite MG writers and this is my favorite of her books so far as well. I can't wait to see what she writes next!
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to the free advanced digital copy of this book.
Still reeling from her mother’s death, an alien invasion appears to make Izzy and her faithful canine companion, Akka, the only ones left on Earth. She embarks on a quest to find the rest of her family, finding guidance from the journal and a music-filled Discman left behind by her mother. With anxiety-inducing alien encounters at every turn, Izzy, Akka, mysterious fellow survivor Raven, and a truck called Bob, work to put the pieces together as they risk everything to find the ones they love.
I loved brave, strong Izzy and how the story integrated grief, anxiety, and neurodivergence into the action. The unpredictable alien interactions kept tension high as the story progressed and the growth of the friendship between Izzy and Raven as they searched for their families was authentic and engaging. The music references were fabulous, too! I’ll be recommending this one to readers at my school looking for something that goes a little deeper than the typical alien invasion story.
I'm not sure I really understand anything that happened in the sci-fi aspect, but I really like how this handled Izzy's grief over her mom. I also appreciate that Izzy explicitly says she's autistic and that is a recurring part of the story.
I'm all for outsider narratives. I want to like a book featuring autistic and nonbinary characters. But this one doesn't really work for me. The characters are fine. It's the plot that's the problem. It's random and doesn't follow a logical progression. Discoveries are happenstance, not intentional. I was half convinced that Izzy was going to find the whole thing had been a fever dream. Well intentioned but not well executed.
It might be the end of the world, but that doesn't mean that Izzy is going to go quietly. She's ready to kick butt and figure out how to set things right.
After aliens abduct what Izzy thinks might be the whole world, she sets out with her mom's journal, a fire playlist, and a determination to find her grandparents and sister. As Izzy travels, she notices the bizarre way that the music her mom left syncs up with what Izzy is experiencing. It seems to give her clues and point her in the right directions. As Izzy travels, she meets a fellow survivor and they team up to see if they can save the world.
Izzy works hard to explain her thinking and feeling because, as she tells readers, she is on the autism spectrum and her brain works a little differently. This is part of the book's appeal as it lets readers into the mind of someone who is neurodiverse.
This was fun! Happy to see the autism representation, it's executed very well. It touched on a number of issues.
Izzy at the End of the World was a unique take on the apocalypse survival story, being led by Izzy, a 14 year old girl on the autism spectrum, which is what drew me to this story in the first place. Izzy’s dealing with the death of her mother when her family disappears and the alien invasion begins. It’s up to Izzy to travel rural Vermont and put an end to it. I related to Izzy’s point of view, her thinking patterns and her geeky interests, and loved her determination in general, even though she stands out in more ways than one. I also loved that she named a car Bob. Along the way, Izzy meets a new friend and discovers some life changing revelations. I’m sure mainstream music lovers will squee over the almost bottomless references, as many of them serves as journal clues, but explained enough to even someone like me that mostly listens to video game OSTs can understand the the trail. The setting was intriguing and it felt very end of the world, and the twists were executed well. Most of the paranormal elements made sense, but I felt some aspects could have been expanded a bit more, and the story slow down slightly to not have 15 things thrown in at once as it felt like late in the book. The ending was totally wholesome despite a couple of nitpicks. I’ll recommend this if you’re looking for a middle grade journey book that’s a little scary and deals with heavier topics (mental health, depression, suicide) in a way that kids and teens can understand. Due to Izzy’s age (14), this could be also considered younger YA.
K. A. Reynolds' Izzy At The End of The World is a wild romp of a story that starts with heartstopping action and keeps you running through to the end. After mysterious lights and creatures erase her family, Izzy and her doggo have to go on the run in her grandpa's rickety old, but reliable truck (named Bob, in a heartrending nod to her late husband who died while she was writing this book) in search of help, or really ANYONE THAT'S STILL ALIVE.
Izzy is scared and alone and heartbroken but she bravely faces down every obstacle to her goal--reuniting with her family.
Along the way she gets help from a fellow survivor and some supernatural hints from her late mother in the form of a mixtape. There's also a killer playlist (check Spotify) to accompany your reading!
It's a mashup of every end of the world movie you've ever seen, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Alien...with a dash of rock and roll and wonderfully neurodiverse queer youth in the mix. This book is hopeful, and sad, and funny, and freaky, and everything 5th-8th graders want in a good time!
This fast paced story is about Izzy, who lives with her little sister and her grandparents because her mother died the previous year. It's been hard on Izzy, who is on the autism spectrum and is searching for answers about her mother's death. One day, strange lights appear and all the people and animals, except Izzy and Akka, her wonderful dog, have disappeared and it appears that they have been abducted by aliens. Izzy starts on a quest to get her family back. She's joined by Raven, a gender neutral person, who is searching for their mother. Together, they search and ultimately make a plan to get their families back. It's an exciting story that is nostalgic and adventuresome at the same time. There are poignant passages about dealing grief as well as exciting passages about fighting aliens. It's a complicated story and one well worth reading. I think the kids are going to like this one a lot.
I starting reading this, but I found that the story was not going to be something I could really get into and enjoy. I do think the target audience could like it, and I love the representation the book offers. The trigger warnings at the beginning was really nice and more books of all genres should do this.
Haunting and evocatively written (and who can say no to that cover?). I only wish the whole thing could have been a graphic novel, but that's absolutely my own bias at play. That said, my one complaint was that the action sometimes was bogged down by overly-reflective prose in the early sections of the book. Regardless, a worthwhile read.
Izzy at the End of the world is a Middle Grade story with fantastic autism rep, that’s both light and cute, with some heavy and hard-hitting topics. This one was definitely enjoyable, and even though I had some issues with it along the way, I did overall like it. I will say that this book is more intended for younger audiences, which is apparent in the writing style and the MC’s voice, so if that’s not your thing, this probably won’t be the story for you. But if you’re like me and enjoy middle grades regardless of the age group, then I’d suggest picking it up!
The beginning of Izzy at the End of the world was a little slow, but once Izzy and her best dog Akka meet up with Raven—the only other person around after the lights appear—it picks up substantially, and adds a great mix of mystery and high stakes. I particularly enjoyed the friendship between Izzy and Raven. Their communication with each other, while maybe not 100% accurate for kids their age, was very healthy and clear, which I think sets a great example for younger kids. Even when the stress of their situation got to them and they snapped, they were quick to apologize to each other and vocalize what was going on in their heads. And of course, Akka was the best boy who deserves all the treats.
Even though Izzy at the End of the World was a bit of an apocalyptic or dystopian story, there was a heavy emphasis on mystery elements. Izzy is convinced that her mom, who’d died a year before the events of the book takes place, is with her during this journey, and is leaving her clues to figure out how to find her family and save the world. Between her mom’s journal, the songs on her end of the world playlist, and other clues Izzy and Raven discover, they realize the coincidences are adding up and it’s something they can’t ignore. I loved this part of the plot, because while the story seems like it’s about Izzy, her dog, and her new friend battling aliens at the end of the world, it’s also a journey of grief and processing loss. This part was done excellently.
Really, the biggest issue I had with the story was some of the exposition. Some of this might be changed in the final edition, but there was a lot of telling instead of showing, especially in the beginning. A lot of the emotional parts in the beginning were also told instead of shown, which is a bit of a bummer because the experiences Izzy deals with are incredibly intense, and when it was told like that, it lost some of its depth. The other issue I had was the ending of the story. Throughout the entire plot, the mystery is woven so tight that I was practically on the edge of my seat, but it’s never really resolved. The way it happens felt so open ended and was a little disappointing to me.
However, I can’t mention this book without talking about the autism representation, because this was absolutely my favorite part. I’ve been seeing more and more books being released that follow autistic characters in a variety of situations instead of just contemporary books about autism, and I’m so excited for that variation in representation. Having an autistic MC lead the charge in saving the world made my heart soar, and I’m so glad autistic children today will be able to grow up with books like this. Even though Izzy was put up against situations that challenged her sensory issues, her sense of routine, and more, her love for her family persevered, and she did everything in her power to get to them. I just love this, because it shows autism authentically, in a way that it doesn’t hinder Izzy from being the hero of her story, but it’s also still part of her, and it doesn’t just go away for the sake of the plot. Also, I adored her bond with Akka, because it reminds me of my bond with my cat. I’m so glad he was with her on that journey.
Overall, I did really enjoy Izzy at the End of the World! While some of the writing choices might not have been for me, I still recommend checking this one out, especially for the autism representation.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this novel. 4/5 stars.
CW: Mental health, suicide, depression (also, the way the trigger/content warning was Izzy introducing herself and the CW was AMAZING).
The representation in this is beautiful, and it is done so nonchalantly and does a fantastic job of destigmatizing mental health, gender, autism, etc., in society. Izzy is a lovable protagonist who, in the midst of an alien invasion, also learns more about herself and deals with the grief from losing her mother a year ago. Izzy's mother's death changes how she sees the world, and there are some revelations about it that fundamentally change Izzy. Oh, and there's a massive alien invasion in Vermont that leaves Izzy suddenly by herself with her dog, Akka...and the mysterious boy, Raven, who was also left alone by the aliens.
Izzy and Raven set out to save everyone else, following clues and a journal and a magical, ghostly radio and playlist (also, shout out to the playlist) Izzy's mom left in a closet that predicted, well, the end of the world. Oh, and a truck that was inevitably prepped out with exactly what the aliens hate that Izzy names Bob.
This was just a delight to read. Some of the pacing felt rushed and it is definitely middle grade in terms of the writing style, but I could see high schoolers enjoying this as well (Izzy is 14).
This inclusive and affirming upper mg novel is like a beautiful letter from a loved one who has passed on to a family member still living, encouraging them to live on… it addresses tough topics like death, betrayal, autism, anxiety, healing, perseverance and more.
There’s even some fun pop culture references and a CD playlist!
I especially loved how at the end of book, the author discusses connections to her own life when developing parts of the story.
This one will easily become a favorite for kids and adults alike!
Fourteen year-old Izzy Wilder is in a bit of a bind. Her entire family disappeared through weird lights and now she’s the only human left as far as she knows. But, at least, she has her dog and her grandad’s car… That’s a start, right? But there's very thick black dust that’s starting to cover the Earth and I haven’t even mentioned the Uglies yet… Yep,those are very ugly aliens with tentacles that want to catch her… So yeah, she’s in a tiny little bit of a bind…
This was super cute but also pretty stressful. I loved Izzy, she was fun, relatable and smart. I enjoyed being in her head. I liked Raven too and I was very happy when he showed up because the beginning was a lot of Izzy talking to a dog and it was not talking back.
The plot was also interesting but I find the resolution a bit too simple, fast and easy. I would have liked an explanation of some kind. I also wasn’t that into the romance aspect of this book cause I thought it all went all too fast but that’s part of it being a middle grade I guess.
All in all, this was a good middle grade with great characters but I wished it was a bit more developed.
I had no expectations with this book because I haven't read much middle grade since I was young. I was chosen to read an arc here, and I finally got to read it.
There are many words that remind me of this story but the first ones are: sweet, fresh as the wind, fast and the most important for me: real.
Reynolds writes Izzy's perspective with a clarity exactly as old as the protagonist. All the elements that go into the story work in synchrony.
This is a gem and to my past self, she would have meant the world to her if she could have read it.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
Izzy has lived with her grandparents Grams and Pops, and little sister since her mother passed away, ostensibly from cancer. It was hard on Izzy, who is on the Autism Spectrum, and she is trying to take comfort in her routines, including taking care of Akka, her loyal dog. When lights flash in the sky around the family's somewhat remote house in the woods, it's alarming, but when everyone but Izzy disappears, it's terrifying. When shadowy creatures, the "gray uglies", emerge and Izzy's amythest necklace from her mother is hot to the touch, Izzy starts to wonder if her mother might have had contact with aliens. Luckily, Izzy has an emergency plan, so tries to stick to that and try to figure out what has happened. There seem to be messages coming from her mother, but they don't make a lot of sense. Eventually, she finds a truck that will turn on, and uses this to get around. She also finds a boy, Raven, who is also on the lookout for his family, was drawn to follow the lights to Brattleboro, and helps her follow the clues. Between the "Playlist for the End of the World that her mother has left, and her mother's journal, there are a lot of clues to be followed. Will these give Izzy and Raven the information they need (bolstered with some research at a local library!) to save the world?
Strengths: This starts with trigger warnings for issues that don't show up very soon in the book, but come into play in full force at the end of the story, and in the author's note, where big twists occur and all becomes clear. Raven was an interesting character, and I liked the relationship that the two had. Akka is definitely a great addition to the story, as well as a good boy! The idea of driving around in a truck, searching for clues leading to space aliens while dealing with the "gray uglies" will appeal to readers who like some adventure with a lot of links to various fandoms.
Weaknesses: I'm never sure how much vintage music will appeal to readers. The playlist of older titles features largely in the plot, and while some readers will love this, others might not.
What I really think: This reminded me a lot of Freeman's Alone, and would be a good choice for readers who wanted an updated, mental health version of Nelson's The Girl Who Owned a City and O'Brien's Z for Zachariah. I preferred Smith's The Switch, for a Where Have All the People Gone feel. Do not be surprised if this makes a lot of lists for suggestions for the Newbery award. Like Malinenko's This Appearing House, it is an allegory of the author's recent, devastating circumstances.