A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jeff Giles' The Edge of Everything is the first book in a planned fantasy series. It takes place in both the real world and a fantasy world. There's violence in both worlds. There are past murders, fighting, beatings, and people in the fantasy realm who harm themselves as a way to ease the monotony of being imprisoned. Blood is mentioned but not described, and there's little gore, but some descriptions of fights mention eye gouging and the biting off of fingers. There are a few kisses and caresses, and two characters share an intense emotional bond. Profanity isn't frequent but includes "s--t," "ass," "slut," and "d--k" (used as name-calling). The book will invite teens to think about mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Zoe and her family and friends, and X and his friends, are great role models for bravery, loyalty, and compassion.
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What's the story?
Zoe, 17, is still on THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING months after her father died in a caving accident. While she's out trying to find her little brother in a blizzard, she's attacked by a man who claims he knew her father. He also confesses to killing Zoe's neighbors while he was trying to find their hidden store of money. A strange man with magical powers appears, there to collect the murderer's soul and take it back with him to the underworld. But Zoe asks the stranger, whom she calls X, to show mercy and let the bad guy go. From then on, Zoe and X's lives, souls, and worlds will never be the same.
Is it any good?
Dark and light, funny and tragic, epic and intimate, real and fantastical, grounded and soaring, this is an amazing first novel. The writing in The Edge of Everything is taut but expressive, and the heroes are likable and easy to relate to. The fantasy world is vividly described and very out of the ordinary. Colorful characters populate both worlds. The pages keep turning thanks to the compelling plot and skillful building of suspense. There's lots of food for thought about compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. And the bittersweet ending will leave readers anxious for the next volume.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the good guys in The Edge of Everything. Who's your favorite character, and what do you like about that person?
Is there too much violence? Does it help the story, or does it seem gratuitous? How much violence is OK in books, on TV shows, in video games, and in other media?
Did you know this is the first in a planned series? What would you like to see happen in the next book? How does it compare with other fantasy series you've read?
- Author: Jeff Giles
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Brothers and sisters, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
- Publication date: January 31, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 368
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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