This Is Not the End

384p. Disney-Hyperion. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484750247.
Gr 9 Up—Life changes in an instant for Lake Devereaux when she survives a tragic car accident that kills her boyfriend and her best friend. In this near-future contemporary novel, teens have the choice to resurrect a loved one when they turn 18. Technology brings people back from the dead and returns them to full health. But Lake's resurrection choice has never been her own. An unspoken family pact has promised Lake's resurrection to her older brother Matt, who is living with quadriplegia as a result of an accident five years earlier. In order to regain the use of his arms and legs, Matt wants to die and be resurrected. But Lark wants no part in Matt's death. The narrative jumps between the past and the present, allowing Lake and readers to piece together the full picture of what happened with Matt's accident as Lake comes closer to her final decision. Baker adeptly slips in clues that develop a complex picture of who Lake is. Unfortunately, the story's intriguing premise is marred by its logic that a person with disabilities is better off as "normal." Matt's anger may be justified, but the assumption that he can lead a full life only if he is no longer quadriplegic is problematic.
VERDICT With its references to teen death and possible suicide, this is a possible read-alike for teens fascinated by Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why. Ultimately, this book's depiction of disability is too flawed to recommend it.

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