Things to Do Before the End of the World by Emily Barr – #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Book Review
About the book
A timely and powerful coming-of-age thriller from the bestselling author of The One Memory of Flora Banks.
What would you do when you hear the news that humans have done such damage to the earth that there might only be a limited amount of safe air left – a year’s worth at most?
You’d work through your bucket list, heal rifts, do everything you’ve never been brave enough to do before?
Olivia is struggling to do any of this. What it is she truly wants to do? Who does she want to be?
Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know existed. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more. And as the girls meet up for a long, hot last summer, Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having an effect on her.
But Natasha definitely isn’t everything she first appears to be.
About the author
“I started out working as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. I managed, somehow, to get commissioned to go travelling for a year, and came home with the beginnings of a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, a thriller which won the WH Smith New Talent Award, and I have since written eleven more novels for adults, one novella, and three book for Young Adults, published in the UK and around the world. I live in Cornwall with my husband Craig and our children.”
What I thought
This book is a bit of an enigma, a little like the character that bursts into Olivia’s world; Natasha. It seems to be about one thing – the end of the world – but ends up being about something different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – it depends what you are expecting. Go into this book with an open mind and you will find a classic YA tale of finding yourself and your place in the world.
The two main characters, Olivia (Libby) and Natasha are well rounded and the fledgling relationship between them is at once transforming and unsettling.
There is a mystery within a mystery here with wondering what Natasha wants to the mention of a name that makes Olivia’s mother uncomfortable and trust definitely plays an important role in the plot.
Each chapter title is a thing to do before the world ends and at the start Natasha challenges Libby to do ten things, however that device became a bit throwaway at the end.
I loved the street magic/physic hustling they did and could picture those scenes vividly. And the middle portion does feel like a more classic road trip adventure.
There is also a f/f love story as a sub plot. The only thing I’d have maybe liked to see was Libby be more active in that relationship – and perhaps in the story overall, although the conclusion she comes to about herself was satisfying and it was nice to see acceptance of self over a complete transformation.
The ending felt a little rushed and the mystery reveal was quite telling – a little like the investigator announcing to the room who’d done it and why.
Overall strong characterisation with a mixed plot; the end of the world aspect was more of a backdrop although I found the prospect of how the world was to end, identified in the first chapter, pretty horrifying, and that gave the entire book a fraught tone.
Thanks to Dave at The Write Reads and the publisher for the e-arc for the purposes of an honest review. The book publishes on 13th May 2021. Do check out what the other bloggers thought too.
Publishing October 7th 2021 from Firefly Press is Josie Williams debut YA romance The Wanderer. With an added hint of the paranormal this is one I am definitely keen to read.
And here it is. The glorious cover🎆
About the Book
Nothing can stand in the way of love, not even death.
Alone in the world, Maggie only has her visits to her nan to look forward to. When the most popular boy in school saves her life she has no idea why he is suddenly acting like a different person.
Stuck between life and death, Ryder spends his days wandering around unseen by the living. When the girl he loves walks into danger, Ryder breaks the number one Wanderer’s rule: he saves her life.
But how can a Wanderer and a living girl ever reach their happily ever after?
For those who enjoy heart-wrenching teenage romance with a touch of the paranormal, The Wanderer is a moving and compelling YA romance dealing with first love and growing up.
Will this book be wandering onto your TBR?
About the Book
From bestselling YA rom-com queen Becky Albertalli (author of Love, Simon) comes a new novel about daring to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight in love, life and theatre.
[PRINCIPAL CAST LIST]
Best friends, and contrary to popular belief, not co-dependent. Examples:
Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient.
Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment.
Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.
But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script.
Enter Stage Left: Matt Olsson
He is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.
Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship…
About the Author
Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon), The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. She is also the co-author of What If It’s Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta. You can visit her online at www.beckyalbertalli.com.
What I Thought
This book was just what I needed right now:
Full of people being in confined spaces together – there is even kissing!
Pacy, easy read (written in scenes rather than chapters).
Drama, drama, drama and musicals!
With a backdrop of rehearsals for the school musical this put me in mind of Maggie Harcourt’s Theatrical (which I also loved) crossed with Grease (summer crush comes to town) with a love triangle that threatens to split up two best friends.
The cast is incidentally diverse in terms of sexuality, religion, gender, race and disability and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some of the background characters feature in their own stories.
But this story really belongs to five people with Kate the common denominator between them and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say she’s a pretty unreliable narrator. This is definitely a case of the reader knowing what is going on before the main character – at least for the most part – there are still one or two surprises to be had.
The relationships here are definitely the stars of the show and we have romantic, friendship and sibling relationships all explored – there’s even some parental dynamics in the background. I can’t really tell you who my fave character was but let’s just say he’s almost the living embodiment of a theatrical saying. What type of relationship comes out on top, and will Kate and Anderson end up regretting their communal crush if their relationship is crushed by it?
I’m not actually familiar with the musical they stage but plenty of others that I do know get a mention too, and I now have a new one to discover. I’m looking forward to re-reading Kate I’m Waiting after I’ve seen it to see if there are any parallels – and I think I might need to re-watch the film Get Over It now too.
Huge thanks to Dave at The Write Reads and Penguin Platform for the gifted eARC for the purposes of an honest review.
Kate in Waiting is out this week on 22/4/21 – do go and check out what other people on the tour thought. If you enjoyed Simon versus the Homosapians Agenda I’d definitely recommend picking the is one up too.