Hello everyone and welcome back to The Reading Room where I talk about the upcoming/recent releases I’ve read recently and am excited to talk about.
Today I am sharing my thoughts on one of my most anticipated YA novels of the year: At The End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp.
*I received a free copy of At The End Of Everything in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect that of the publisher or author.
About the BookAt the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 25, 2022
The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.
Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day...they don't show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There's a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they're stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.
As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place.
About the Author
MARIEKE NIJKAMP is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where it Ends and Before I Let Go. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, has served as an executive member of We Need Diverse Books, and is the founder of DiversifYA. She lives in the Netherlands. Visit her at mariekenijkamp.com.
I have read everything Marieke Nijkamp has written. I fell in love with their work with their debut, This Is Where It Ends, a controversial and buzzy novel about a school shooting.
At The End of Everything is set largely at a youth detention center where teenagers are sent to be rehabilitated in the hopes that after serving their time they can be potentially be reintroduced back into society. But the Hope Regional Detention Center is as ironically named as Nijkamp’s title. Here there are children that the world has turned their back on. To society they are at the end of their usefulness.
But then the literal end comes.
It begins with guards leaving and not coming back. The grim reality of the abandoned teenagers unfolds in three alternating perspectives: Logan, Emerson and Grace.
One of the trademark’s of Nijkamp’s work is their diverse cast of characters. Logan is mute and communicates with her sister via a made up sign language that only they know. Emerson is a nonbinary youth who was kicked out of their home when they came out. Then there is Grace, outspoken and angry Grace.
When a party ventures out to figure out what is happening it results in the group fracturing and a handful of the kids deciding to set out and find help and attempt to survive on their own while another group stays behind, wanting to believe that rescue, or at least supplies, will come.
What follows is a character driven examination of humanity and we do when we are pushed the breaking points. Logan, Emerson and grace all wrestle with their own demons while simply trying to survive and maintain connections with each other and the outside world.
As supplies start dwindling desperation grows and people begin to die. It’s a bleak, emotional story that hits especially hard in light of the last two years of the global pandemic that we’ve lived through- and many haven’t.
We’re not rejects. We deserve to be cared for and deserve to be remembered. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I believe the world—Your glorious creation—is broken, and when I’m not scared, I’m so angry, I could break it all further. I won’t honor my parents. I won’t forgive those who trespassed against me. I will not accept a single moment of this. If You are love or mercy or whatever scripture tells us, and Your will is being done, You have failed us. You have failed me, and I will not forgive that either.Emerson, At The End of Everything
At it’s heart, At The End of Everything is novel about humanity, the worst and best in all of us, and what it means to move forward when all seems lost.
Overall, I gave this one 4.5🌟, knocking it half a 🌟 because of pacing issues and cannot recommend this one enough to those who like their books heavy like that of Mindy McGinnis and Kathleen Glasgow.
What About You?
Have you read At The End of Everything? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!