Monday, July 11, 2011

The End of Everything

by:  Megan Abbott
published by:  Regan Arthur Books
publish date:  July 7th, 2011

Thirteen-year old Lizzie Hood and her next door neighbor Evie Verver are inseparable. They are best friends who swap bathing suits and field-hockey sticks, and share everything that's happened to them. Together they live in the shadow of Evie's glamorous older sister Dusty, who provides a window on the exotic, intoxicating possibilities of their own teenage horizons. To Lizzie, the Verver household, presided over by Evie's big-hearted father, is the world's most perfect place.

And then, one afternoon, Evie disappears. The only clue: a maroon sedan Lizzie spotted driving past the two girls earlier in the day. As a rabid, giddy panic spreads through the Midwestern suburban community, everyone looks to Lizzie for answers. Was Evie unhappy, troubled, upset? Had she mentioned being followed? Would she have gotten into the car of a stranger?

Lizzie takes up her own furtive pursuit of the truth, prowling nights through backyards, peering through windows, pushing herself to the dark center of Evie's world. Haunted by dreams of her lost friend and titillated by her own new power at the center of the disappearance, Lizzie uncovers secrets and lies that make her wonder if she knew her best friend at all.

I started this book on the assumption that it was a YA book.  I don't know why other than the fact that the characters were 13 years old.   This is NOT a YA book.  This is an adult fiction/literature book.  The fact that it was written in a completely different cadence than a typical YA book should have clued me in initially.  That took a little getting used to, don't read bad into that, it was really quite lovely.  Once I really got into it and the story started evolving and people were speculating about what happened to Evie, my eyebrows started going up and I was thinking this can't be a YA book.  Then at the end of the book, my eyes were goggling out of my head and my jaw was on the floor and I knew for sure it wasn't a YA book.  I was reading this at the beach sans computer to check these things out for sure.

I will say I found this book to be eye opening and shocking to say the least.  Maybe not so much in the beginning, but you start to get an inkling of what's to come once Evie starts taking matters in her own hands.   There were a few moments that I found to be somewhat disturbing, but I think they were foreshadowing and setting up some of the actions of the other characters, particularly Dusty, the older sister.

This is one of those books that I'm sure will haunt me for quite some time.  I know that I haven't stopped thinking about it since I finished it.  As a mother, I'm always worried about my girls, but I don't spend a whole lot of time worrying about other people looking at them.  After reading this, I'm wondering if I should and would it matter?

If you have a mature reading group, I think this book could lead lead to some excellent discussions.  I think there were a lot of characters in this book that would warrant a deeper look, like the mothers for example.


Danielle Zappavigna said...

Was this marketed as a YA? Sometimes I see this happen and the book really isn't YA AT ALL! I hadn't heard of this, but my book club is always looking for books that will (hopefully) generate some good discussion, I'll keep this in mind for the next time we meet.

Autumn said...

I don't think it was marketed as YA. I kept looking over the marketing material on the back and there was nothing about that on there. It was an incorrect assumption on my part based on the ages of the main characters...and I guess the cover, it seemed like a contemporary YA type cover.