Oh good, the world didn't end yesterday! YAY! The End of the World as We Know It will be referred to as TEotWaWKI from here on out.
Review Time, but first a blurb:
They wanted to party like it was their last night on earth. They just might get their wish….
Meet the four most unlikely heroes ever:
Teena McAuley: Queen Bee, first-class problem solver, resident heartbreaker.
Leo Starnick: UFO conspirator, pizza delivery boy, all-around slacker.
Evan Brighton: Baseball all-star, extreme virgin, Teena-worshipper.
Sarabeth Lewis: Straight-A student, weekend hermit, enemy of the color pink.
When Teena locks Leo, Evan, and Sarabeth in the basement during her biggest party of the year, she doesn’t plan on getting trapped in the Loser Dungeon herself. She can barely imagine a night with these dweebs—let alone a lifetime. But when an alien invasion destroys their entire Midwestern suburb, it looks like these unlikely friends are the last people on earth. Now, it’s up to them to save the world….
Published July 17th 2012 by Alloy Entertainment
On the surface, TEotWaWKI seems like a mash up of a lot of stories that have been done and redone. We have a group of teens who wouldn’t normally be seen with each other thrown together in to faceoff with invading aliens. So basically, The Breakfast Club meets The War of the Worlds. To me, just that combination was intriguing and had me interested, but I was honestly surprised by how much I grew to love this book. I thought it was brilliant how the author took two very different ideas, threw them together and created something that was completely her own.
The book was in a lot of ways a demonstration on how extreme circumstances can lead to character transformations. What first appeared to be shallow and selfish characters turn into a team full of depth that grow to genuinely care about each other. At the beginning we are introduced to these characters that appear to be simple archetypes: the Queen Bee, the smart girl, the stoner, and the jock. I thought it was really interesting how the author played with the archetypes and gradually added layers to each character. But it wasn’t just the reader who these layers were being exposed to; it was also the other characters. Each character discovered not only things about themselves, but also depth to each other that they never knew was there.
What I was surprised by was how by the end of the book, I found some characters endearing where at the beginning I loved to hate them. Teena in particular, who is our resident Queen Bee, starts out very typical: self-absorbed, catty, and mean. Not a nice girl. However, it’s not that she makes a 180 with her character; it’s that you start to see her from a different perspective and form sympathy for her because you begin to know her as a person and not as a simple archetype. This also happens with the other characters in their own way.
Is TEotWaWKI a realistic interpretation of an alien invasion? Who knows! What seems to be the overall point is that we don’t know who we are going to be in extreme circumstances. So who is to say that a group of teenagers thrown together from a party mishap couldn’t save their town from an alien invasion? I personally loved the message and how it was humorously explored, but I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. Drugs and sex are casually talked about in the book, along with some swearing. I didn’t think it was gratuitous, but if you’re sensitive to those things, I thought you might want a heads up.
Final Thought: 4 out of 5 toadstools
This review is also posted on GoodReads
But no, there's more goodies:
Top Ten Books You Should Read Before the End of the World by Iva-Marie Palmer
So, when I initially set out to write my top ten for Where the Mome Raths Outgrabe, I had in my mixed-up head that it was to be a list of my favorite books. Which freaked me out a little because I feel like choosing a limited number of favorite books is like choosing which body parts I’d most like to lose. (Yes, I’m alluding a Neil Gaiman quote.) But really, my Top Ten Books You Should Read Before the End of the World is a little different than that, no? With this list, I want to share some must-read books that might be new to some of you, I hope. Nine are not-YA picks and one is a YA that I feel was somewhat under-read. I think they’re all good to have under your belt should the world bite it. (And yes, I know it didn’t happen yesterday or anything, but one never knows, really.)
I hope you find something new to check out, and in turn know that I’m always scouting book recs so please friend me on GoodReads and recommend away!
American Gods – If you haven’t read Neil Gaiman yet, it’s time you did. In this book, I felt like he exposed the cracks in the world and found magic in them.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – I feel like I need to tell everyone I know about this book because I don’t feel like it blew up in the YA world the way it should have. Frankie’s not just a girl, she’s the girl. This has an awesome feminist, girl power message without seeming at all preachy.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt – Even though I’d read other adult books before this one, this was the first book I read that made me feel like a grown-up. There’s something so seductive about Tartt’s storytelling. It seeps right into your blood. Okay, now I want to read this one again.
L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy – World-building is a skill attributed to fantasy and sci-fi writers, but I don’t understand why James Ellroy doesn’t get credit for being excellent at it, as well. No one does grimy, gritty, old Los Angeles quite the way he does, and you feel like you’re part of the action when you read him.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – I read this this year, and yes, it’s a bestseller, but it might not be a natural pick-up for YA fans. But you should pick it up, because Harbach is amazing at his craft. Every character matters. Every word matters. But the cool thing is, Harbach’s so skilled he doesn’t draw attention to how much it all matters, which is something only the best writers manage.
Vurt/Pollen by Jeff Noon – I am making clear how old I am, but I read these books right when the Internet was becoming a thing, and they’ve stuck with me. Really great science fiction makes us think not just about the future, but where we are now, and Vurt and its companion, Pollen – about the blurred lines between reality and virtual reality do just that.
Automated Alice by Jeff Noon – A lot of people try to retell Alice in Wonderland (one of my favorite books), but Noon does it best, I think. In his version of things, Alice travels to the future (which, since this book is older, is now the past: 1998, to be exact.) I like digging this one up to reread every now and again. (Momo, I think you’ll like it, too.)
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby – Four people show up on the same rooftop on New Year’s Eve all with the same idea: To jump off. Sounds cheery, right? Told in alternating points of view, something I’ve been wont to do in my writing (and in End of the World), every character feels unique and important. Plus, reading this makes me think Nick Hronby has as many voices in his head as I do.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Atwood was doing dystopian YA before that was even a thing. I’m forever grateful to the hip sociology instructor who assigned this to me. If you haven’t read it, do so soon.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – This one is on here for me. I confess to never having read it but I always keep meaning to. Supposed to be a stellar example of first-person storytelling (my favorite, often), I’m putting this on my 2013 to-read list. Hold me to it.
Iva-Marie Palmer is the author of The End of the World as We Know It, a sci-fi action comedy from Alloy Entertainment (creators of Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries). Find her online on Twitter (@ivamarie), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ivamariebooks) and at her website (www.ivamariepalmer.com).
Palmer lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son and lots of (filled) bookshelves.
The books are each linked for easy GoodReads access! Go forth and read! I think it's a stellar list and am definitely adding them to my TBR pile (especially Automated Alice -- I think I'll like it too). Think the Iva-Marie Palmer seems pretty cool? Stalk her by checking out these links:
Iva-Marie Palmer's Website
Goodreads Author Page
These links are for TEotWaWKI: