At the End of Everything – Marieke Nijkamp, Sourcebooks Fire, (9781492673156), 2022
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Grace finds herself at the Hope Juvenile Treatment Center in Arkansas. Many teenagers share her fate, a routine of austerity, punishment and even violence – from the guards. Solitary confinement exists. Boring skimpy meals that are far from healthy. And, of course, there is also a group of bullies.
One night a bunch of the teens discover the guards are all gone and none of the doors are locked- A group ventures out to be met with a roadblock of soldiers forbidding them to go any further. It seems a pandemic has struck the area that is spreading rapidly. The kids are left on their own to care for themselves. And then some become sick – and die. Food is running out. They have no medical supplies.
Many races and sexual persuasions are represented along with medical/emotional issues. The story mirrors the covid-19 pandemic feeling realistic and dystopian at the same time. These kids don’t allow themselves to panic, they call on all their strengths to work together – to survive.
Anything you did not like about the book? I had a difficult time keeping all the characters straight; there are so many and most are part of a pair. I hope the finished book will provide a guide to the characters at the beginning of the book; it would help immensely.
To whom would you recommend this book? Would make a provocative choice for class or summer reading.
Who should buy this book? High school, middle school and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? YA Fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Administrator of Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: 6/28/2021