St Martin's Griffin
December 8, 2015
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From the author of The Good Sister comes a gripping novel about two sisters who learn that there are things in life—love, loss, and self-discovery—that you simply can't prepare for.
He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man—except for the one that struck.
When Nicole Reed’s father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, it's too much too handle for her mother, who abandons them in the middle of the night. Heading out to track her down, Nicole’s father leaves her in charge of taking care of the house and her younger sister, Izzy. For a while, Nicole is doing just fine running things on her own. But then the food begins to run out, the pipes crack, and forest fires start slowly inching their way closer every day. Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help her when she needs it most, but when she starts to develop feelings for him, feelings she knows she will never be allowed to act on once her father returns, she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow’s disasters, or will she take a chance and really start living for today?
Instructions for the End of the World is a gripping, young adult novel that explores family, friendship, and love in the midst of the most difficult and dangerous circumstances.
This is one of those books where I understand what people that did not much care for it are saying - and yet I like the book. There are a lot of reviews (at least on Goodreads) that talk about 'nothing happening' in Instructions for the End of the World and in a lot of ways, not much does. If you're looking for action or actual world ending, his isn't that book.
Quite a bit happens within the characters, though.
While most teens would hate the idea of leaving their life of modern conveniences behind and moving to an old, rundown cabin in the middle of nowhere because their prepper father said so, Nicole is remarkably okay with it. (Her younger sister falls firmly into the, 'Are you crazy? I hate this!' camp.) It may not be ideal, but she thinks they can make it work.
Until her mother leaves in the middle of the night and, then, her father leaves to bring her back.
With only Izzy who hates the setup, wants to leave immediately and refuses to assist with chores as company, things quickly go (even more) downhill for Nicole. It seems doable at first, but as both the length of their parents' absence and the list of problems multiply, Nicole begins to question things.
She knows what her father expects of her, knows what he would think of Wolf, the boy she's been spending more and more time with . . . only she may not be so ready to do what's expected.
I really like that we got to see Wolf's life at home (atypical and different as it was) and to learn about his past and relationships, including with his mother, in addition to seeing Nicole and Izzy's family. They were each living lives outside of the norm and the confusing, complicated relationships with their parents paralleled nicely.
It is true that there was not a lot of action in Instructions for the End of the World but the characters, their lives and minds, the decisions they faced and how their unique circumstances played into everything was really well done. We do not get big flashbacks of life before the book starts, but the glimpses we do get, the things remembered or said, really paint the picture of what the characters and their lives were like.
The choice of a 2002 setting was unexpected but the novel seemed to fit really well into what had (and had not) happened at that point and to match the characters' mindsets to it.
received from publisher, via NetGalley, for an honest review