The Edge of Everything

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Edge of Everything Book Poster Image
Fantasy and real-world violence mix in soaring series start.

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Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Some facts about caving (spelunking) and daddy longlegs.

Positive Messages

Showing mercy and forgiveness can have a life-changing impact on those around you. But you can't do bad things to people and expect forgiveness, because good hearts are fragile and can be permanently damaged when you do wrong. Asks whether being sorry counts for anything: Isn't everyone sorry after they've been caught?

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zoe and her family are loyal, brave, compassionate, and loving and let others be themselves without judging them. X is brave as well as considerate of others. He accepts his punishment when he breaks the rules, but he also finds the courage to stand up to the powerful, knowing he'll pay a high price for it. Zoe and X each have loyal, supportive friends who put themselves in danger to help when needed.


Fantasy and real-world violence with fights, beatings, and past murders. Blood's mentioned but isn't described in detail. No other gore, but some details of fighting mentioned, such as eye gouging, biting off fingers, and stabbing. Prisoners in the fantasy world try to hurt themselves by biting off fingernails and banging their heads on rocks. A child is in danger from a collapsing house. A man kicks and tries to drown two dogs. During a carjacking a man gets kicked out into the road and run over by a truck. Victims are punctured in the face by fingernails during a magic ritual.


A few kisses and some caressing.


"Ass," "pissed off," "s--t," "slut," "whore," "damn," "d--k" (name-calling), "crap," "bitch," "WTF," "hell," and "nuts" (body part). "A forest of raped trees." "Perv" and "spaz," once each.


A few food, drink, and car makes mentioned for setting or character.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Brief mention of bottles lying around and someone drinking from a flask. A villain smokes cigarettes. Cigarette smell mentioned a few times.

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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 17 years old Written bySnowdragon0001 January 12, 2018

Thoughtful book

I think the book is very interesting and has a good story line. But some of the topics it talks about is not for younger kids.
Teen, 13 years old Written bysnakeyes13 December 2, 2017


I have just started reading this book and well there is some not so good word. I bet it is a great book that is so fun but for me right now I would saw no.

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and romance

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