Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: September 17th, 2013
A novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings
The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand.
"The cover is gorgeous, and the premise seemed promising. But it fell so flat."
I have to be honest. I went into this book not expecting much. I was hoping that perhaps I'd be the black sheep and enjoy this book. The cover is gorgeous, and the premise seemed promising. But it fell so flat.
Firstly, there was the characters and the format of the book. I've never been a huge fan of books with changing perspectives unless it's done exceptionally well, and this reminded me of every single reason why and more. I felt a major disconnect every time the POV changed. The constant oscillation between three characters meant that I personally could not get attached to any of them almost at all. I didn't care about what happened to most of the characters, no matter how much I wanted to. Then, I was SO overly confused by the different characters. Each story was separate, so there would be times when I would mix up the characters belonging to each POV. Or somebody new would be introduced and brought back a few chapters later, when I already forgot who they were. So this was a huge factor for me.
Next, it was the plot itself. I get it. The world is ending. But come on! Think about this. What would YOU do if you only had a week left to live? I'm telling you, I'd be doing very different things compared to what these teens were doing. I was so bored, generally, by the plot, and it took everything I had to push on til almost 200 pages into the book. I was hoping that it would get better. That it would be worth it. But NOPE. The pace is slow, and there's not much action going on. I would have been okay with this if it had been a character-driven book, but I think the book tried and failed to be just that, making it a painfully slow read.
Additionally, while I see the point in making the three stories semi-connected, I would have liked it if the characters were from different walks of life completely. You're writing about the end of the world. Why limit the characters to being from this one place or island (I can't even remember)? Why not explore characters from all over the world if you're going to have different POVs? Why not have one of them be truly enjoying their last few days? Is that too much to ask? Apparently, yes.
So I sort of DNF'd this book a little bit before page 200. Do I regret that? Not one bit. But I did want to see how the book ended. And it surprised me. Why? Because I actually kinda liked the ending. Yeah, I mean, all three stories come together at the end, and I guess that was the point, but I liked how all the characters got some kind of closure. The ending was beautifully written, and I could picture all of them, standing there, waiting for the world to end. It was a very open ending, and I liked that a lot. But it wasn't worth it to read the pages in between the point where I DNF'd and the ending. So it's not FULLY a DNF, but at the same time, it is a DNF.