You & Me at the End of the World

Scholastic. Jul. 2021. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338712636.
Gr 9 Up–It’s the fifth straight day of isolation for Hannah Ashton in Houston, where nothing is open and every other person has disappeared. Then she meets Leo Sterling, a stoner she avoided at school; she was more focused on ballet and her next important audition. They suspect they might be dead. Soon opposites attract and the two quickly figure out that Leo’s spontaneity counteracts Hannah’s caution, and that Leo would give up without Hannah’s determination to survive. In the before time they might never have bonded, but finding themselves dependent, they figure out how to help—and challenge—each other. Both teens take after their mothers: Leo’s was a freethinking hippie who taught her son to take life easy, while Hannah’s mother infused her own sidelined dance career into her daughter, giving Hannah little choice in the matter. In alternating chapters, these two reflect on who they are and whom they want to be—when they’re not battling windstorms or indulging in a bit of shape-shifting—should their futures not be in doubt. At the story’s end, readers learn what really happened to bring this odd couple together. Both characters are well drawn and while the novel’s sci-fi bona fides aren’t quite realized, that may not matter to readers. Leo is white and Hannah’s ethnicity isn’t stated.
VERDICT An enjoyable girl-meets-boy with a science fiction subplot.

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