After the End by Amy Plum

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This is not the kind of book that I would normally pick up, but seeing as we’re in the middle of moving, my choices are limited.  I’ve packed up almost all of our chapter books and it’s been quite some time since I’ve gone to the library to pick out a book for myself.  My choices were limited to a couple of books that my 11-year-old son had checked out.  Something is better than nothing, right?  Please note that my commentary will probably spoil the story for you, if you haven’t already read it.

The premise of After the End is quite interesting.  It’s about a girl, Juneau, who harbors some kind of pharmaceutical anti-aging secret, but she doesn’t even know about it.  She grew up in Alaska in a tiny community that lived off the land.  As a child, she had been told that the rest of humanity had either perished in WWIII or were ruthless scavengers who must be avoided at all costs.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to find that her entire clan has been abducted, she ventures out into the wider world to search for and rescue them.  What she finds completely rocks her world.  Not only is there a thriving metropolitan city mere hours from her home, but WWIII never happened.  For some reason her entire life seems as if it’s been a sham.  The adults in her clan have lied to her and she doesn’t know why.

Fast forward a bit, and Juneau is being tracked by two different groups who are trying to get something valuable that she harbors.  She meets up with the son of one of her pursuers and they go on an adventure to try and find her people, while evading their pursuers at the same time.  A love interest develops, though it’s quite tame by today’s standards.  (Thank goodness–there’s nothing more annoying than a couple of teens spouting off about how they can’t live without one another.  Yes, you can.  Start acting like rational people, please.)

Juneau also has remarkable powers throughout the book, with the explanation being loosely rooted in Gaia and eastern mysticism.  To be fair, it alludes to the idea that all spirituality is really just tapping into the same source, no matter what you call it.  This spiritual/superpower part is a bit confusing because it doesn’t have any good explanation.  I guess readers are just supposed to accept it at face value.

Towards the end of the book, Juneau’s love interest, Miles, is wounded and she performs the rite on him that is performed on all the members of her clan.  Presumably he becomes like her, though that is left wide open at the end.  When I finished the book, I thought, Wow, either that’s one of the worst endings around or they are setting it up for a sequel.  It looks like there is a sequel.

While I like the premise of the story quite a lot, the execution was just so-so.  The flow of the story is a little strange, but that is partly because the chapters alternate between being told from the perspective of Miles and Juneau.  Also, it’s not super believable.  For example, for being such a bad guy, Miles’ dad is rather dense when he leaves Juneau virtually unattended at his home, allowing her to easily escape.  Whatever.

The story was interesting, and if you’re young and not in the market for great quality literature, it will probably satisfy you.

Possible Objections:

  • Bad language–not a lot, but encompassing most cuss words.
  • A little romance–kissing and one person lying on top of the other.

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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