Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Izzy at the End of the World

Reynolds, K.A. Izzy at the End of the World
February 21, 2023 by HarperCollins US
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Izzy has lived with her grandparents Grams and Pops, and little sister since her mother passed away, ostensibly from cancer. It was hard on Izzy, who is on the Autism Spectrum, and she is trying to take comfort in her routines, including taking care of Akka, her loyal dog. When lights flash in the sky around the family's somewhat remote house in the woods, it's alarming. When everyone but Izzy disappears, it's terrifying. When shadowy creatures, the "gray uglies", emerge and Izzy's amethyst necklace from her mother is hot to the touch, Izzy starts to wonder if her mother might have had contact with aliens. Luckily, Izzy has an emergency plan, so tries to stick to that and try to figure out what has happened. There seem to be messages coming from her mother, but they don't make a lot of sense. Eventually, she finds a truck that will turn on, and uses this to get around. She also finds a boy, Raven, who is also on the lookout for his family, was drawn to follow the lights to Brattleboro, and helps her follow the clues. Between the "Playlist for the End of the World" that her mother has left, and her mother's journal, there are a lot of clues to be followed. Will these give Izzy and Raven the information they need (bolstered with some research at a local library!) to save the world?
Strengths: This starts with trigger warnings for issues that don't show up very soon in the book, but come into play in full force at the end of the story, and in the author's note, where big twists occur and all becomes clear. Raven was an interesting character, and I liked the relationship that the two had. Akka is definitely a great addition to the story, as well as a good boy! The idea of driving around in a truck, searching for clues leading to space aliens while dealing with the "gray uglies" will appeal to readers who like some adventure with a lot of links to various fandoms. 
Weaknesses: I'm never sure how much vintage music will appeal to readers. The playlist of older titles features largely in the plot, and while some readers will love this, others might not. 
What I really think: This reminded me a lot of Freeman's Alone, and would be a good choice for readers who wanted an updated, mental health version of Nelson's The Girl Who Owned a City and O'Brien's Z for Zachariah. I preferred Smith's The Switch for a Where Have All the People Gone feel. Do not be surprised if this makes a lot of lists for suggestions for the Newbery award. Like Malinenko's This Appearing House, it is an allegory of the author's recent, devastating circumstances. 

Yes, apparently there are files in my brain for the movie Where Have All the People Gone, The Boxcar Children, The Melendys, B is for Betsy, and a few other titles that must have made a big imprint on me. Books that are similar get filed together!

No comments:

Post a Comment