At the End of the World

Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2023. 192p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250868091.
Gr 6 Up–Aisha was 10 years old when her father died. She was 15 when her sister June left, never to be heard from again. Now at 18, her life is once again upended when a planet-killing asteroid is headed toward Earth. With less than a year left before impact, it is time to reunite what’s left of her broken family. Setting out with her supportive boyfriend Walter; her closed-off mother Esah; Walter’s parents; and stray cat Fleabag, Aisha travels across Malaysia to find June. Short chapters cut with flashbacks give in-depth glances into Aisha’s past as each family member tries in their own way to cope with the aftermath of repeated devastation. Readers will relate to Aisha’s journey as she struggles with emotions that are equally expected and unforeseeable. Unlike most end of the world stories, the extended deadline gives plenty of time to digest the bittersweet memories and dreamlike reflections. Aisha and Walter’s relationship is a highlight, offering sweet and steady support for her as she lashes out, while also acknowledging Walter’s own struggle to accept the end of the world. Malaysian and Indonesian references ground the setting in a heavily character-driven story. While the open ending may not satisfy every reader, hope is sure to resonate.
VERDICT Fans of Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End will find much to relate to in this emotional exploration of the end of the world.

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