I am always thrilled when Raincoast invites me to participate in a blog tour. They have yet to send a book I haven’t liked when it comes to doing these kinds of promotions. Plus, I am always 100% on board when they tell me it’s to promote Canadian talent. We have amazing YA writers, and I think Cathrine Lo is one to watch. Seriously though, let me tell you all about How It Ends.
How it Ends is one of the best examples I have ever come across in terms of protraying a realistic break up between best friends. It’s raw, thoughtful, and it definitely left me quite reflective of my friendship back when I was in high school, and in a lot of ways, I wish this book had been around for me during that time.
I hope after reading my review you’ll give this stunning and intelligent book a chance. It left me with a lot of thinking after I finished it.
Title: How It Ends
Author: Catherine Lo
Synopsis: There are two sides to every story.
It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They’re BFFs…until suddenly they’re not.
Told through alternating points of view, How It Ends is a wildly fast but deeply moving read about a friendship in crisis. Set against a tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys and backstabbing, the novel shows what can happen when friends choose assumptions and fear over each other.
Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!
I admit, I’ve been coveting this book since last year’s #TeensReadFeed event hosted by Raincoast. The premise seemed so simplistic and yet so appealing at the same time. This is the tale of two girls befriending each other in tenth grade, at what seems to be the perfect moment in time. The reader gets to watch their relationship organically grow and transform. We see how these two friends grow together, as well as fall a part.
I was completely captivated by this novel right from the get go. It’s a novel that gradually builds and builds, as we watch Jessie and Annie work through high school. I found myself nodding along with the feelings of both characters, as I’ve been in both their shoes in different situations. I remember wading through high school the way Jessie did, living with anxiety and worrying how I would be seen and accepted by others, and it was something that carried with me well into my first few years of university.
When you suffer from anxiety of any kind, you do in fact see the world so differently compared to others that it is often seen as a “paranoia” meanwhile, that isn’t entirely the case. Lo examines Jessie’s social anxieties with such a fine tooth comb, and to the point where even when Jessie is at her worst, she is still someone who is redeemable and someone we as the reader can sympathize with. I’ve also been in Annie’s shoes — the person who is attempting to take care of someone else and is trying to understand their ways and behavior but never feeling like you entirely get it.
Annie is strong, sassy, and she wants to see the good in everyone, whereas Jessie can’t because the fear of being hurt is just too strong with her. Both share similarities in that they both have walls that are hard to break down, and watching how there friendship develops and breaks down is what makes this book so interesting. When we start to see how their relationship falls apart it is just so heartbreaking, and I found myself just wanting to shake both of them and say that things can be mended, they can be repaired.
This book is such a raw experience, full of open wounds that need mending. It is such a realistic look of friendships and how we value people in a lot of ways, and when things are not okay, how that value is quickly taken away.How it Ends is a beautiful examination of how beautiful, complicated and messy friendships can be.
Q&A with Cathetrine Lo!
Those lovely ladies at Raincoast gave me the chance to ask Catherine a question of my choice. Here’s my question and her wonderful response.
Q: The friendship portrayed in How It Ends is both raw as it is believable. Why did you
choose to write a novel that focused squarely on the complexities of friendship?
A: In my role as a teacher, I see a lot of young people struggling with friendship issues,
and it reminds me of the same difficulties I had as a teen. In some ways, I wrote How It
Ends for my students, but in others, I think I wrote it because it was the book that the
teen me needed to read when I was in high school. Back then, there were a lot of books
that addressed romantic breakups, but not as many that dealt with the rocky patches we
all go through in our friendships. I wanted to explore the complexities of female
friendship, and show just how intense and important these relationships are.
As always, huge thank you to Raincoast for their support and kindness. They are such a delight to work with! Also big thank you to Catherine Lo for taking time out of her busy schedule to respond to my question! How It Ends released on June 7th, and is current avaliable at your favourite local book retailer. Please make sure you check out the other stops on the tour to find out their thoughts on How it Ends!