Title: At the End of Everything
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Publication: January 25, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Teens, YA Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
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.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I am a huge fan of Marieke Nijkamp. I have read previous books by her (links below) and her books are always so gritty. So let’s start there. I read At the End of Everything with the idea that I was going to get the same grittiness I got from This Is Where it Ends and Before I Let Go. I was not disappointed. At the End of Everything has that same general story line that a lot of other authors stay away from because its not generally happy. However, I quite love books like this. They are real and raw and make you feel things.
First I want to warn everyone, this is not a happy book. Not saying it doesn’t have a happy ending… I won’t give away anything there. But the general topic is not a bright one. This book follows a group of kids living in a facility for kids who have done something criminal or behaved very badly. These kids are quickly left to their own means when a crazy illness takes over the world outside. Sound familiar?
This story gave me a little anxiety. Probably because it reminded me a lot of Covid-19 and the anxiety and stress that surrounded the last few years of our lives in the real world. However, this is different, I assure you. It’s a much worse virus than Covid, so while it could be triggering from some, it’s not as realistic as our current situation, although could be if you think about it. This story has a lot of hard hitting topics. Child abuse, drugs, depression, anxiety, childhood delinquency, assault, hunger… the list goes on. But it is written SO well. The story jumps between a few key characters and their P.O.V.’s. These characters have all different kinds of backgrounds and represent all kinds of people.
Overall the story was a hard one to read because it had such a similarity to our current ongoing pandemic, but the way the story was written and watching the character’s growth during such a hard time was so interesting to read. Nijkamp always does a great job with writing deep and meaningful characters that go through a crazy journey to get to where they end up, whether that be a good or bad place is another thing.
This was a great story. Well written, takes you on a journey with the characters, interesting individuals introduced throughout, and multiple viewpoints from people of all backgrounds. It’s a melting pot of perfection. I can’t wait for Nijkamp’s next book.
Check out our previous reviews of Marieke Nijkamp’s other books below.