A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

336p. Hachette/Orbit. Apr. 2019. Tr $26. ISBN 9780316449458.
Since the Gelding rendered most humans infertile, the global population has dwindled to a mere few thousand. Griz has never had neighbors or been in a crowd, though he and siblings Ferg and Bar are familiar with the concepts from photographs, homeschooling, and handed-down stories. Griz directly addresses readers about his family, his dreams, and life on an island, somewhere near what might have once been England. "In my whole life, I haven't met enough people to make up two teams for a game of football," says Griz, who scavenges and explores on land and sea. When a stranger steals Jess, one of Griz's beloved dogs, what's to be done but go after them? Griz is comfortable taking care of himself, though he is grateful to encounter John Dark, who speaks a different language and helps Griz after a nasty encounter with a boar. Action builds as Griz closes in on Jess, the stranger, and other "Baby Bust" survivors. While not as tightly crafted as Cormac McCarthy's The Road, this tale may gain traction with similar readers. Griz's casual acceptance of a depopulated world makes the plot believable, though the pacing early on may feel slow to some readers.
VERDICT For high school libraries seeking independent teen heroes in dystopian settings.

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