Things To Do Before The End of The World
By Emily Barr
Olivia is not only shy, she is an anxious teenager, who doesn’t want to do anything much and would rather hide away from the world, until she makes friends with Natasha, who takes her out of herself a bit and she discovers that she can live life to the full. It has intrigue and is thought-provokingly inspiring in part and shows some negativity in others. There is intrigue and twists and turns as family secrets are uncovered.
It is a fictional Young Adult book, with a difference – the chapter headings can be practical for teenagers/young adults, for working out some life plans… Check out the blurb and review to discover more about this latest addition to the YA market.
I thank The Write Reads for inviting me to the blog tour of this book.
1. Live your best life.
2. Uncover family secrets.
3. Trust no one
What would you do when you hear the news that humans have done such damage to the earth that there might only be a limited amount of safe air left – a year’s worth at most?
You’d work through your bucket list, heal rifts, do everything you’ve never been brave enough to do before?
Olivia is struggling to do any of this. What it is she truly wants to do? Who do 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 a long, hot last summer, Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having an effect on her.
But Natasha definitely isn’t everything she first appears to be . . .
I walked home. I kept hearing footsteps behind me, but every time I turned around, no one was there.
Curtains up for a production of Romeo and Juliet, echoing the final scenes. It sets the scene for the rest of the book rather well in a temper of melancholy, in a way that makes you want to hug Olivia and then look her directly in the eye to tell her to go on the adventure to discover the family she never knew she had, until now.
It is a weighty book, full of teenage angst and emotion, that her mum tries to assist with and tries to convince her to seek some extra guidance with all her social anxieties.
I kept hoping for something uplifting and hopeful within the book, something that would seem to have Olivia on-track with life, instead of seeing her feel like she is clipped and heaved back with her social anxieties. It takes some time, but seek and you will find some positivity, some of it in the form of Natasha, who befriends Olivia, who eeks her outside of her innerself.
The clever part isn’t so much in the text within the text in each chapter, but the chapter headings themselves. That’s where the “Things To Do Before The End of The World” really are, as they pointedly start to give readers a list that screams to do something and to live life. That’s where the uplifting signs come from (except “Runaway”. I wouldn’t advocate anyone does that and “Don’t Trust Anyone”, although it does all fit well within the story). Some are also sensible and will be thought-provoking to teenagers as it reminds them to think about not wasting their time in education and also to think about their mum (or whoever takes care of them). The chapter headings really excited me, once I clocked onto what they were doing. These are what, more than anything, show teens about how to “live their best life”, in a guidance sort of way.
As for the story itself, teens will be able to relate, but I have to say, I had a bit of a heavy heart to begin with, when reading it as I waded through much negativity about the world, but there is a turning point and my heart somewhat lightened. It is all there and these elements stand out more than most. On the other-hand it shows what living with anxiety can do to a person and their views on the world.
There are some pretty dark elements however, about hoping to be in contact with the dead and “playing” with tarot cards.
The travel between Spain and France provides a bit of light relief and elements of that fun with the shows they see, the fashion and some of things the friends get up to and the plans they want to make. This does help turn a corner in the story and it starts to show some uplifting elements. It also has some realism of how life just isn’t all a straight line and there are ups and downs and some curveballs, but and in someways this is a positive in a world where people have come to expect life to be either all up or all down and in reality its a whole mixture.
I think it will provide some thought-provoking elements for teenagers to hopefully be careful when they are abroad, but also to have some fun there and at home and to realise the world isn’t all bleak.