This Is the Way the World Ends

Wednesday Bks. May 2023. 272p. Tr $20. ISBN 9781250827975.
Gr 7 Up–A queer autistic teen uncovers the plot of billionaires to take over the world during a solar flare. Waverly is a scholarship kid still mourning her break-up with her first girlfriend, when a rich girl at her school offers to trade places with her so she can attend a masquerade ball. While attending the ball with her physically disabled South Asian best friend, they slowly uncover a plot by the rich investors in their school to survive the apocalypse and emerge to rule a new society built on white supremacist cis-hetero-patriarchy. Waverly must save herself and her friends from being killed or forced to participate in this new “Utopia.” Disabled rage from living in a world where people with “preexisting conditions” are considered acceptable collateral damage fuels this novel. Intersectionality is at the forefront of the story—the main character is autistic and a member of the queer community, her friends have intersecting identities, and her mom is chronically ill and living in poverty. The major drawback is that the story is set in the modern day but has so many social media and pop culture topical references that it already feels dated.
VERDICT An additional purchase.

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