Thursday, December 9, 2021

ARC Review: At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

Title: At the End of Everything
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 400
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//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends comes another heartbreaking, emotional and timely page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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.

I’ve just finished reading an ARC of At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp and I absolutely LOVED it. This was a great 5/5 star read for me.

One day, the juveniles at the Hope Juvenile Treatment Center, where delinquent teenagers are sent for various reasons, are abandoned and forgotten by those who were supposed to take care of them. A few curious teens break out to get freedom from the center. They are surprised to run into armed soldiers who tell them that an infectious disease, a plague, has broken out and everyone is confined to their houses and they are not allowed to travel without a permit. Stranded at Hope, the teens who decide to remain there are forced to find a way to survive. With their dwindling food sources, limited medical supplies, and with the plague having broken out within the facility, they have to bind together to make it.

There are three main characters and three points of view throughout the book. Each of the three main characters are white. However, the book is full of people of different races and nationalities. There is also a non-binary transgender teenager who was kicked out of their religious parents’ home. Too many authors nowadays are forcing diversity they don’t want into their stories. The problem with this is they write their characters in offensive manners. Nijkamp, however, doesn’t do this. When they describe a character’s skin tone, they do so in such a way that you can tell they aren’t forcing the diversity. For example, a character named Khalil is described as “Dark-brown hair, light-brown skin, laughing brown eyes.” I also love that Nijkamp didn’t try to write about the injustice black teens experience in the justice system. They didn’t want to take away space from a writer of color.

“This is what the plague looks like. It’s not illness, at first. It’s fear. The type of fear that nags at the back of your thoughts, that crawls like a parasite under your skin. It’s like every bruise that brushes against my clothes.” The story itself was slow. Not in a bad way, but in a good one. They took the time to humanize each character, even the worst ones. They make you feel like you truly get to know the characters of this book. Not just the three narrators but the characters who surround them as well. I could write an entire book on how this book made me feel and the profound thoughts I had about life, fear, and COVID while reading it.

It was surreal to read about a plague when we have one of our own going on in real life. The plague in the book was far worse than COVID is but still, it was emotional to read about. I’d say the genre of this book would be YA Dystopian Psychological Thriller.

This book will be published on 4 January 2022 and I can’t recommend it to others enough!