At the End of the World / Nadia Mikail / Book Review


Seventeen-year-old Aisha had her whole life planned out. She would go to university, get her degree, have a wildly successful career (or successful enough to support a family, at least). Then she'd marry her boyfriend. They'd travel the world. They'd have a family together near their parents. They'd watch their kids grow up as they grew old. 

Except now the world is ending. Imminently.

Everything's different when there are only nine months left on this planet. Priorities shift. Instead of heading off to university, Aisha heads out on the road instead, looking for someone. Looking for her sister, June, whom she hasn't seen in two years. She doesn't know where June is, but she hasn't been able to stop thinking about her. No one should face the end of the world alone. 



This book was so different than I expected, and while I'm not entirely convinced that it fits in the YA niche where it has been marketed, I do think it is an excellent addition to apocalyptic literature. Because it is not so high-key. It is not so melodramatic or gruesome and grisly. It's just people being people in the end times, in a hopeful and nostalgic sort of way.


Sticking Together One thing I absolutely adore about this book is that at no point do these characters consider going their own separate ways. They might have different plans and motivations, but they're family. They're in it to the end. So when Aisha wants to find her sister, they all track down a camper an to borrow before heading out with her. That's so different than other apocalyptic fiction, especially in the YA sphere, and I love that. Because in the end times, wouldn't we realistically be sticking with our closest friends and family no matter what?

Human Decency While I'm not so convinced that humans will behave with decency when faced with our imminent demise, I nonetheless adore this vision of a world where we do. A world where minimum looting happens. Where nobody is trying to take advantage of another, someone somehow less fortunate than them. This is a world where, when faced with imminent demise, humanity stops. Everybody gets to go home to their families, plant their gardens, and ride it out together. And I think that's unrealistic, but it adds a particular bittersweet grain of hope to this novel that I love. We don't always need bitter realism. Sometimes we need hope.

Sentimental YA apocalypse and YA dystopia is generally all about pushing back. There has to be more life, right? Teenage characters often rail against the announcement of their demise, because it isn't fair. They've hardly had a chance to live. And Aisha feels that way, too, but it's different for her. She's not on a last-ditch quest to save the earth. She's not forming a rebellion to overthrow an oppressive government. She's mourning. And that gives this whole book an achingly sentimental feel that I appreciate.


As much as I appreciate the introspection here for what it adds to the genre, I do think this book isn't what readers of the genre want. They want action, reaction. They want characters fighting back, and that's just not what we get here. The introspective nature of this story might be a letdown for a lot of readers. So reader be warned! This feels far more literary than a YA apocalypse usually is. Introspective Voice

On a technical level, I kept getting non-MC characters mixed up. They weren't quite properly introduced, not in a way where names would be enough for me to identify them. I kept having to stop myself throughout this relatively short book to wrack my brain for who we were referring to again. Name Confusion

This book isn't full of action. This book isn't fast. This book is nostalgic, right down to the way it is written. It takes a long time to unfold, and while I certainly didn't mind, it won't be what a lot of readers are looking for. It's nostalgic. It's sentimental. It's introspective. And that's the whole book, unfortunately. Long Unfolding



Fans of Sarah Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It will love this new, softer take on the end of the world. Those who love Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street will adore this new vignette-style apocalypse.


Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date: October 17, 2023
Series: N/A
Add to Goodreads
Buy it HERE

Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. This sounds like a great story, especially with the apocalypse theme. I like that these characters stick together, because in a setting like this, they usually don't! Thank you for sharing!

  2. I haven’t heard of this book, it is good to hear your honest opinion and what your experience of the book was like. Thank you for sharing!

    Lauren - bournemouthgirl

  3. Thanks for sharing your honest and well-written review of this book. I’m not one for this genre of book but you make it sound so interesting!

  4. This sounds like a refreshing take on the YA apocalypse genre, I rather like the sound of the sentimental angle.

  5. Sounds like an interesting premise.. thanks for sharing.

  6. This book does sound quite different from pretty much all other apocalyptic stories. It is great that the book focuses on people sticking together and being decent to each other. However, it does seem like a letdown for those expecting action from apocalypse stories.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Sky's End / Marc J. Gregson / Book Review

Most Ardently: A Pride & Prejudice Remix / Gabe Cole Novoa / Book Review

Best and Worst of 2023