Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Books I've Read: All That's Left in the World


With the main library in Wellington having been closed the last few years, and only small, pop-up libraries and suburban libraries available, finding new YA books (or in fact any books) I haven't read is getting increasingly difficult.  I'm sure the libraries are buying new books, but they're not on the shelves at the two or three libraries I actually go to regularly.  Or certainly not in any volume.  So I was excited on my most recent library visit to find a few things I had not already read.  Including this one which was actually on my TBR list.

Set in the near future, it portrays a world in which the powers-that-be didn't learn their lessons from COVID and a new, deadly pandemic has wiped out most of the world's population. The book opens only a few months after the event with Andrew caught in a bear trap.  He manages to get himself out, but his leg is mangled and he's pretty much out of food.  He knows he hasn't much of a chance of finding more with his leg messed up, so when he finds what he thinks is an abandoned cabin, he decides to take shelter in there, if only to curl up and die.

But the cabin isn't abandoned.  A boy his own age is there.  Jamie is initially suspicious, but soon realises this injured stranger poses no real threat to the solitary existence he's lived since his mother succumbed to the plague.  He also makes it clear to Jamie just how lonely he's been.

As Andrew heals and Jamie nurses him, the pair strike up a friendship. Jamie knows Andrew isn't telling him everything, but is prepared to overlook that because having someone to talk to again, to care about, is so nice.  But when their sanctuary is threatened by other desperate people, they feel forced to leave and continue the journey Andrew began together.

Life on the road is fraught with danger, but both boys feel strong enough to get through it when they're together.  And as they fight to survive the trip, faced with challenges from the elements, the infrastructure, wild animals and even wilder people, their feelings for each other grow and change.  Both are frightened by these feelings, partly because they're so big and overwhelming, and partly because they've both lost everyone else they loved.

But as they journey gets longer and tougher, they learn to trust one another and perhaps even to accept that they are in love.  And that it can be a beautiful thing.

I enjoyed this book.  It's fast paced and has enough peril inherent in the journey that I kept turning the pages.  Both boys were sweet and I enjoyed watching them fumble around with their feelings while trying to also hold onto their secrets and their hearts.

With a plotline that eerily echoes recent history, I would definitely recommend this one even if post-apocalyptic stories aren't really your jam.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

What If It's Us meets They Both Die at the End in this postapocalyptic, queer YA adventure romance from debut author Erik J. Brown. Perfect for fans of Adam Silvera, Alex London, and Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.

When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie's house, he's injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world's population, including everyone both boys have ever loved. And if this new world has taught them anything, it's to be scared of what other desperate people will do . . . so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other?

After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But something isn't adding up about Andrew's story, and it could cost them everything. And Jamie has a secret, too. He's starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey.

The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they'll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together. Only one thing feels certain: all that's left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other.

1 comment:

  1. Gee, I can't imagine people wouldn't learn from the pandemic.