ARC Review – This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

24039424Title: This Is Where the World Ends

Author:  Amy Zhang

Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis: The heart-wrenching new novel about best friends on a collision course with the real world, from the author of Falling into Place.

Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivian moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship, as long as no one finds out about it.

Huge thank you to HarperTeen/Harper Collins Canada for these ARCs!

River’s Review:

I really loved Zhang’s first book and I was so excited for this. I actually didn’t read the synopsis that is here on GR until right now… the synopsis on the back of the ARC is very, very short and doesn’t give away anything that the synopsis on here does. It also doesn’t really match the way that Micah deals with what happened to Janie… so I guess if you can, don’t try to match the synopsis to the book too much?

Anyway, I think that it’s very refreshing to have an actual teen voice in YA. So often we talk about authenticity in the diversity of the characters and that we should have books written by diverse authors… but what about diversity in age? That’s something I haven’t really heard much of. So I really enjoy Zhang’s books because I feel like they give us an even deeper look into what actual teens go through? I’m also hella impressed with her writing. I know that when I was her age-ish my writing wasn’t anything like this.

So, I liked this book. I liked the writing and the way the story wast told. I like that Janie kinda knows she’s a manicpixiedreamgirl and that she wants to be one because it’s high school and bitch please you can do whatever you want in high school because when you graduate and leave your shit small town home town then you can actually be you’re real self. At least that’s what Janie does to justify her actions a lot of the time. Especially when it comes to boys. She knows that Micah is in love with her and she knows that she’ll end up with him in he long run, but she wants to have fun before settling down. Makes sense. I was actually in a similar situation (tho I was in Micah’s position) for my senior year of high school and all of college.

Yes this book is about a manipulative friendship. They exist. In teens in adults, in high school, college, work… they are out there. Sometimes they turn around and sometimes they don’t.

Yes there is rape in this book. It’s not the central topic (the friendship is) but it does lead to the final events in this book. I think that it was handled well, but that the full extent that the synopsis of this book leads you to believe isn’t quite shown. And while Micah never really fully figures out what happened, through not wanting to, being blind, and not believing, it doesn’t really feel like it’s this huge wedge in their friendship. I guess I would have liked a little more exploration within that.

Overall I think this book is very good, but maybe not as solid as Zhang’s debut. It is compelling and I couldn’t put it down (read it in a day) and fans of contemporary YA should really enjoy this.

Sam’s Review:

I adored Amy Zhang’s debut Falling Into Place. It was one of those books I couldn’t get out of my head the moment I finished it. The writing was gorgous, and she provided me with what felt like an authentic teen voice. I admit though — I have a thing about pretty-ugly people, and This Is Where the World Ends continues this loves. If only Goodreads hadn’t posted the major spoiler of this book as the blurb!

Janie and Micah are inseperable, and it’s to the point where they have this disturbing toxic relationship built upon co-dependency. When janie goes missing, Micah spends a lot of the novel contemplating his relationship with her, while also potentially believing that he may have been the cause. In the before segments of the novel, we are looking at Janie and her need to feel wanted by others. It’s also about her “relationship” with both Micah and Anders, and the personal apocalyse that she creates. She is raped, feels as though no one will believe her, and questions if anyone really gives a crap about her. At the same time, however, Janie is someone who emotionally manipulates others, and has no problem bringing people down a peg. She’s not a nice person in the slightest, but rape is not something you wish upon someone either.

I felt for both characters in the story, even though I was so frusrated and angry by their actions. A lot of the characters in this book are unlikable, mean, ugly, but they feel so realistic and important. There’s no kindness nor justice in the world that Zhang illusrates, and you get this dire sense that human decency is a dead art form. There’s so much victim blaming, aggression, and it made me so sad. Especially when we learn what the metaphors mean… it really affected me.

I also appreciate the protrayal of friendship in this novel, as it’s the main focus. While it’s not the kind fo friendship one wants to have, it makes so much sense in the relationship that Zhang has painted for Micah and Janie. It’s disturbing, raw, playful, and I loved all those elements about it. While I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as Falling Into Place, I still feel like this novel offers an autheentic voice that we need more of in YA. This book is definitely recommended for those who love diverse relationships and screwed up friendships.

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