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After The End, Book 1
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that After The End is about a teen girl who's been led to believe there was a World War III in 1984, from which she and her clan were the only survivors, living in the Alaskan wilderness until the present day -- but finds out it was all a lie. There's some violence -- killing of animals to survive, hand-to-hand-combat and with weapons (knife, crossbow, gun) -- and swearing (including "ass," "s--t," "f--k," "bulls--t," "prick"). After The End also has romance and two kissing scenes. Politics, global warming, brainwashing, and religion are among the thought-provoking topics discussed.
What's the story?
Juneau Newhaven lives in the Alaskan wilderness with her clan and father. She's been taught to believe that World War III in 1984 destroyed the earth, leaving her people as the only survivors for decades. And she's been trained to believe she has a mystical, paranormal power that connects her to the earth, and has a religious belief in being one with nature, called the Yara. When she discovers her father and clan are missing, Juneau goes in search of them. Once outside her territory, she enters thriving, present-day Anchorage and discovers that everything she's been led to believe is a lie. There was no World War III or apocalypse. Juneau feels betrayed and hurt by her people. Along her journey, she meets Miles, a rich kid who helps her, but also questions her sanity -- and eventually falls for her. The farther she gets from home, the less she feels connected to nature and her powers. Eventually, Juneau and Miles are forced to make a choice between friendship and family. Juneau's race to find her clan turns into a game of survival against the men her hunting down -- including Miles' father, who wants Juneau for his own purposes.
Is it any good?
Told in alternating first-person, present-tense narration by Juneau and Miles, the novel's moves slowly at first, but once Juneau discovers her clan is missing, the pace picks up. Readers will especially enjoy the interaction and banter between Juneau and Miles, who need each other for specific reasons and come to rely on each other. Juneau's completely serious about her mission of finding her family, and Miles provides plenty of comic relief. He doesn't accept that Juneau was fed weird lies and has magical powers, even until the end, which helps makes the story believable.
There are lots of interesting characters and side characters, but Juneau and Miles are truly the heart of the novel. The cliffhanger will leave readers desperate to find out what happens next. After The End is a good mixture of science fiction, mystery, thriller, and romance, with lots of political and social issues to engage readers and possibly inspire them to question their own world. And for readers looking for diverse characters in novels, note that Juneau is part-Chinese, part white.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dystopian novels. How is After The End different from other dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels you're read? How is it similar?
How would you feel if you found out that what you were raised to believe was a lie? How would you deal with the consequences?
Have you ever been camping? Do you think you would be able to survive in the wild? What would you do if you didn't have technology to rely on?
- Author: Amy Plum
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication date: May 6, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.