This is a spoiler-free review.
The End by Mats Strandberg
Published October 6th, 2020 by Arctis (first October 5th 2018).
As a meteor races toward Earth, two teens search for the truth behind the murder of a friend, even as they face down their last days. Dry meets Sadie.
When will the world end? With Foxworth, a massive meteor, hurtling toward Earth, humanity now knows the exact date.
Seventeen-year-old Simon wants to spend his last weeks with the people he cares about most, especially his goal-oriented swimmer ex-girlfriend, Tilda, who dumped him shortly after the news broke. Since Lucinda was diagnosed with cancer she’s, retreated into herself preparing for the inevitable. Suddenly facing down a death that makes her the same as everyone else, she longs to connect again but doesn’t quite know where to start. Reaching out to her former best friend Tilda seems like a good first step. Then Tilda is found dead and accusations start circling that Simon is the killer. As the days tick down, Simon and Lucinda only want to know the truth, but the more they uncover about the final days of the girl they both cared for deeply, the clearer the things that really matter become.
Probing the question How would you spend your last days if you knew exactly when they’d run out?, The End is a taut and riveting pre-apocalyptic thriller underpinned with sharp social commentary, that blends the urgency of Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s Dry with the dark tension of Courtney Summer’s Sadie.
Content Warnings: underage alcohol and recreational drug use
Thank you to the publisher, Arctis Books, and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.
What would you do if you knew when the world was going to end? That’s exactly what happens when it’s announced that Foxworth, a massive meteor, is headed straight for Earth – and now it’s only a few weeks away.
The End is told from the perspective of two teens: Simon, a 17-year-old whose whole world just came crumbling down, literally, and Lucinda, a cancer patient, who suddenly feels less isolated with the entire world now staring down their own mortality in the same way she has had to for years.
And, if things couldn’t get any more screwed up, Tilda – Simon’s ex-girlfriend and Lucinda’s ex-best friend – is found dead and presumed murdered. But with the apocalypse looming, no one is too concerned about finding her killer. Except for Simon and Lucinda that is.
The End is the first Sci Fi book I’ve read in a while. But, it isn’t your typical YA apocalyptic novel. Though, with a premise that immediately grabs your attention and makes you sit up like the one-two-punch of both an imminent meteor crash and a murder mystery rolled up into one, that may not come as a surprise.
Nevertheless, Strandberg manages to cram in more than just a few unexpected plot twists into this novel’s pages. The End provides surprising nuisance and a thoughtful, emotionally-driven discussion about human nature and what it does when faced with the reality of the end of the world.
My only critiques were that I did find some of the twists a tad predictable, the plot slow to start and some parts a little too preachy. But after it’s revealed that Tilda has died, I felt as though the novel really picked up the pace and became a lot more engaging! There’s really so many different elements to this story, that even if one aspect doesn’t resonate very strongly with you, there are others that likely will. 💫
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