Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang


Title: This Is Where the World Ends
Author: Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
A heart-wrenching novel about best friends on a collision course with the real world from Amy Zhang, the critically acclaimed Indies Introduce and Indie Next author of Falling Into Place.

Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivien moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship—as long as no one finds out about it. But then Janie goes missing and everything Micah thought he knew about his best friends is colored with doubt.

Using a nonlinear writing style and dual narrators, Amy Zhang masterfully reveals the circumstances surrounding Janie’s disappearance in an astonishing second novel that will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver and Jay Asher. 

With some authors, you just know when you pick up their books that you’re about to read an emotional and heart-wrenching story. But knowing that is what makes you want to read their books. That’s how I feel about Amy Zhang. And her latest, This Is Where the World Ends, was the emotional and heartbreaking read I knew it would be.

Even though no one knows it, Janie and Micah have been best friends since elementary school. They’ve always been Janie and Micah. Micah and Janie. They’re everything the other is not and together they have the perfect friendship. When Micah wakes up in the hospital with no memory of how he got there and discovers that Janie has disappeared, he becomes desperate to find out what happened to his best friend. But the more he finds out, the more he questions everything he thought he knew about Janie and their friendship. 

Amy Zhang wrote one of my favourite books of 2014, Falling Into Place, and I’ve been looking forward to reading more from this young author ever since. As you might have guessed, I was definitely excited about reading her latest, This Is Where the World Ends. But I also know that Amy Zhang’s books tend to be ones that are from light and easy to read. They deal with subject matter that we often would rather not think about even though we should be thinking and talking about those subjects. The way Amy Zhang handles these topics is what makes her stories such powerful and captivating reads. On the surface, This Is Where the World Ends may not look like the story it ends up being. In fact, based on the synopsis alone, I couldn’t have guessed that it was going to be the story I read. But that’s a good thing. Had I known going in everything this story had going on, it wouldn’t have packed the same punch. As a reader, I wouldn’t have gone on the same journey while reading the story. I’m realizing now, as I’m writing this, that it’s actually really hard to talk about This Is Where the World Ends without revealing everything. Because though this might not be some action-packed story filled to the brim with unexpected twists and turns, it’s one that shouldn’t be spoiled. If you knew beforehand what was to come, it wouldn’t be the emotional read this was for me. And for this story to be as powerful as it can be, it needs to be an emotional read.

At its core, This Is Where the World Ends is a story about friendship. The kind of friendship that is messy, complicated and far from perfect. A friendship that is based on shared secrets, midnight adventures and inside jokes. It might have been flawed and imperfect, but this friendship worked for Micah and Janie. Even if they were the only ones that understood it, there was a bond that connected them and that bond between the two of them really came through in the story. In the way they were always aware of each other when they weren’t close, in the way they were able to communicate with just one look, the way they always though about how their actions would appear to the other. All these little things added up to show the strength of the connection between Micah and Janie. Even if their friendship was at times a complete mess, it jumped off the page while I was reading.  It’s what made so many aspects of this story so heartbreaking and made it so the story packed such an emotional punch. 

Amy Zhang’s This Is Where the World Ends was a heartbreaking story about imperfect and all consuming friendships. This was a beautifully written and emotional story that left me completely heartbroken.

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