Book Title: How to Pack for the End of the World by Michelle Falkoff
Category: YA Fiction (Ages 13-17), 320 pages
Genre: Literary / Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins (HarperTeen)
Release date: Nov 20, 2020
Format available for review: Print, NetGalley Download (mobi for kindle, epub, pdf)
Will send print books out: USA and Canada
Tour dates: Nov 3 to Nov 23, 2020
Content Rating: PG-13. Language is clean, no sex on the page but reference to it, dark subject matter--wasn't sure the best category based on descriptions.
If you knew the world was going to end tomorrow, what would you do? This is the question that haunts Amina as she watches new and horrible stories of discord and crisis flash across the news every day. But when she starts at prestigious Gardner Academy, Amina finds a group of like-minded peers to join forces with—fast friends who dedicate their year to learning survival skills from each other, before it’s too late. Still, as their prepper knowledge multiplies, so do their regular high school problems, from relationship drama to family issues to friend blow-ups. Juggling the two parts of their lives forces Amina to ask another vital question: Is it worth living in the hypothetical future if it’s at the expense of your actual present?
Ever since an attack on her synagogue, Amina becomes obsessed with anti-Semetic behavior and has begun to live in fear with recurring nightmares. When a scholarship position to the prestigious Gardner Academy opens up, Amina's parents send her in order to change her mindset. Amina is very unsure about Gardner, but attends a pre-orientation game night where an interesting question in Would You Rather captures her interest. The question leads to a gathering of five people from the game night: Wyatt, Hunter, Chloe, Jo and Amina. Amina finds that she has plenty in common with the group, they all have fears. Moreso, she finds a group of friends that she is comfortable with. However, someone seems to be targeting their small group with very personalized attacks and Amina has a new set of fears to deal with.
How to Pack for the End of the World is a contemporary Young Adult fiction that deals with a lot of issues in a unique way. None of the issues become too heavy and none of the characters are designed around their fear, social standing, sexuality or mental health. They are all just regular teens dealing with everyday issues. Each character was well developed and unique. While their backstories and challenges weren't all divulged at once, this added another layer of mystery to the story. I loved the idea of the Eucalyptus Group and how each game they played helped them develop more as well as get to know one another. The personal attacks were another added layer that almost seemed like a side story to me but were really more at the heart. It was difficult for me to forget that this story took place at a high school and involved kids that were 16 to 17 years old as some of the situations felt more at a college level and classwork seemed to take a back seat. Overall, an entertaining young adult story with amazing characters.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Michelle Falkoff is the author of Playlist for the Dead, Pushing Perfect, Questions I Want to Ask You, and How to Pack for the End of the World. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently serves as director of communication and legal reasoning at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.
Connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ instagram ~ goodreads
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