Title: Things to Do Before the End of the World
Author: Emily Barr
Publication Date: May 6, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Number of Pages: 320
Summary: From Goodreads: Timely and powerful; the new coming-of-age thriller from the bestselling author of The One Memory of Flora Banks.
One minute you’re walking in the park, hiding from a party. Then you discover that the next nine months will probably be your last. Everyone’s last. You realise that you happen to be alive at the time when your species becomes extinct.
You have to decide whether to go with it meekly like you usually do, or to do something brave, to live your last months with all the energy and bravery you can muster, to rage against the dying of the light.
Olivia struggles to live her real life as fully as she wants to. She plans out conversations and events in her head but actually doing them and interacting with other people is hard. When the news breaks that humans have done such damage to the earth that there’s only nine months of safe air left everybody makes bucket lists and starts living their best lives – everyone, that is, but Olivia who is still struggling to figure out who she wants to be.
Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know existed. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more. And as the girls meet up for their last summer on earth Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having a effect on her. But what if Natasha isn’t everything she first appears to be . . . ?
Review: Thank you to The Write Reads for organizing and inviting me to participate in this blog tour. Thank you, Penguin Platform and Net Galley, for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This coming-of-age story takes place during the lead up to the end of the world, and it was unlike anything I’ve read before. The premise of this book seemed promising, and I really wanted to love it, but unfortunately, I could not suspend my disbelief enough to fall in love with the story.
My favourite thing about this book was the main character, Libby. Libby is shy. She’s the kind of shy that plans out conversations in her head before having them, and she often doesn’t have the courage to have the conversation she planned. I found her shyness to be relatable, and I enjoyed watching her grow and become more confident and comfortable with herself. However, I found her too naïve at times, and I wanted to throw some red flags at the book to help her out during some parts.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of the other main character, Natasha. I don’t want to say too much about Natasha, but a lot of her actions made me uncomfortable and anxious, which took away from my enjoyment of the book.
The other thing that I liked about this book was the travelling. I haven’t done very much travelling in my life, so I always like to see different places through the eyes of fictional characters. I enjoyed the descriptions of Spain and France, and I enjoyed exploring these places with Libby.
One thing that threw me off with this book is that the end of the world didn’t seem like it was that big of a deal. At the beginning of the book, a doomsday date is announced, and a large portion of mundane, everyday life continues to go on as usual. I don’t read a lot of books about the end of the world, especially right now with the current global health crisis, but it felt unusual to me.
Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was the family secret aspect of it. I enjoyed trying to piece together what happened with Libby’s Uncle and the truth about that portion of her family. I wasn’t a huge fan of what was going on with Libby’s mum during the second half of the book because the trope where an adult refuses to tell their almost-adult child the truth is one of my least favourite tropes; however, that’s a personal taste thing for me, and it probably doesn’t bother most people.
The main reason why I rated this book three stars is because there was an aspect of the story that I could not suspend my disbelief over because I’ve worked in a law firm for the past five years. It’s a very specific thing that probably won’t bother most readers, but it bugged me because of my personal experience. I don’t want to say anything specific about it because I don’t want to spoil anything, but if that portion of the story didn’t exist, I likely would have enjoyed this book more.
Overall, I enjoyed the twists and turns in this book. Some aspects were predictable, but other parts kept me on my toes. The story itself was interesting, and the characters were memorable, but unfortunately, I couldn’t look past some moments.
Rating: 3 Stars!