Izzy at the End of the World

HarperCollins/Clarion. Feb. 2023. 352p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780358467779.
Gr 5 Up–Fourteen-year-old Izzy’s life takes a dramatic turn when her grandparents and sister, Maple, disappear after white lights appear in the sky over her home in Vermont. After surviving an attack by the “gray uglies” that arrived on mysterious spaceships that appeared in the sky, Izzy takes her dog Akka and sets out to find her family. While packing, Izzy discovers an old journal written by her mother along with a CD of her favorite songs. As she seeks to escape the uglies, she learns that her mother, though gone, experienced abductions by these same aliens and has left clues behind in her journal and on the CD. She finds a truck just before meeting Raven, another survivor. Clues found at the local library lead the two up Mount Equinox to find a crashed UFO and hopefully, their families. In addition to fighting off the uglies they keep running into, Izzy struggles with the newfound knowledge of her mother’s suicide, her own panic attacks and anxiety, and her growing feelings for Raven. Izzy’s story packs a punch in terms of both Izzy’s struggle to cope despite her autism and the desperate situation she and Raven find themselves facing. Issues related to both teens’ bisexuality, social differences, uncaring fathers, and bullying also come up as they face their anxieties and the possible end of the world.
VERDICT An emotionally powerful novel wrapped up in an action-packed science fiction survival story. Consider purchasing where sci-fi and/or novels deftly touching on such topics are needed.

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