Welcome to my stop on the Things to Do Before the End of the World blog tour! Huge thanks to The Write Reads for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 06/05/2021
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Young Adult | Dystopian
Olivia struggles to live her real life as fully as she wants to. She plans out conversations and events in her head but actually doing them and interacting with other people is hard. When the news breaks that humans have done such damage to the earth that there’s only nine months of safe air left everybody makes bucket lists and starts living their best lives – everyone, that is, but Olivia who is still struggling to figure out who she wants to be.
Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know existed. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more. And as the girls meet up for their last summer on earth Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having a effect on her. But what if Natasha isn’t everything she first appears to be…?
Whilst I was incredibly intrigued by the summary, at first I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about Libby and the whole situation, however, before I knew it, I had devoured the entire book within two hours! I was so gripped by Libby and her cousin, Natasha, as well as whether the world would truly end on the 17th September that I just couldn’t bring myself to put it down or go to sleep until I had finished the book.
Libby is an incredibly shy 17-year-old who has been struggling to find herself or where she belongs, and now she has the added pressure of the fact that she may only have nine months to live before ‘the Creep’ poisons the atmosphere. I liked that, although she tried to push herself out of her comfort zone when she first came to terms with ‘the Creep’, that her personality didn’t change completely. She was still shy and still struggling. This felt much more realistic and caused me to feel much more endeared to Libby. Despite this she was still trying her best to become the person that she wanted to be, so much so that when she found out she had a cousin around her age that she enlisted her help in becoming more confident.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about Natasha from the start, there was just something ever so slightly off about her and in her interactions with Libby, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. She seemed very kind and very helpful, and although she just lost her Dad, she didn’t seem to be that affected by it. However, everyone grieves differently so it was impossible to tell what was really going on. When Libby and Natasha were finally able to meet, I loved seeing the two interact together and to see how different they both were. It was nice to see someone cheer Libby on even if I was questioning her motives a lot of the time. Libby seemed to be becoming more confident which was lovely to see.
The mystery surrounding Natasha truly kept me gripped, the way Barr presented her was done so cleverly, in a way where you were constantly second guessing yourself. Is there more to her than we think or is she just thrilled to find family before the world ends? I also enjoyed the way that Barr tackled the subject of ‘the Creep’ – it was always there in the background, getting closer, but never completely the sole focus which lived up to its moniker. The pacing of the novel was also incredibly well done. I liked how we would miss chunks of time but still understand what happened in that time. I thought it was a great way to show how insignificant the time they have left is and how quickly it flies by, regardless of whether you are doing everything you can to ensure survival or by living the best life you can in the time that you have left.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and it had so many layers and depths to it that I wasn’t initially expecting that made it such a captivating read. It is also a great take on the current climate crisis and has the ability to really get readers to take notice of one of the many possibilities, regardless of how terrifying they might be.