A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to the know Until the Beginning is the second half of the story begun in After the End by Amy Plum. Having discovered that she and her family members are not survivors of World War III, as she has been told, Juneau Newhaven must then rescue them from a ruthless millionaire who wants to exploit their life-extending drugs. Juneau and her traveling companion, Miles O'Donnell, develop a close relationship and work together to locate Juneau's family. She and Miles are physically intimate; they hug and kiss and in one scene have sex, although without graphic details. There are scenes of violence, but it's usually understated. There's gun and knife play, but Juneau and her clan usually aim to wound, not kill. There are fatalities in the climactic showdown, and one villain is attacked by a bear. Language includes a dozen or so instances of "hell" and "damn," along with one or two instances of "f--k," "bulls--t," and "ass."
What's the story?
Having sided with Juneau and her family against his own father and having been shot as a result, Miles O'Donnell lies close to death at the start of UNTIL THE BEGINNING. After Juneau confers upon him the Rite, which renders him virtually immune from aging and disease, she sets off on her own to locate her family and rescue them from a ruthless millionaire. Meanwhile, Miles discovers that the Rite has given him strange powers, and he hatches a plan to assist Juneau in her final showdown with her loved ones' captors.
Is it any good?
Sometimes two books is just enough; rather than stretch the story to three volumes, author Amy Plum has the sense to wrap things up in a couple of strong volumes. Alternating as narrators, Miles and Juneau spend the first half of the book reacquainting themselves with their new abilities and feelings for each other. The action ramps up at the midpoint, and the showdown between Juneau's clan and the hired guards of a deranged millionaire is exciting and well-choreographed.
The science behind Juneau and Miles' powers is not at all realistic, but most readers are not likely to mind, as they will be engaged by the gritty and sometimes witty road trip of survival.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about secrets. Is it better for adults to withhold disturbing facts from children or to tell them the truth?
How does Until the Beginning compare with the first book? Is it as exciting? Are you glad this story concludes after two books instead of being part of a trilogy? Why do you think series are so popular?
Would you be able to survive by yourself in the wilderness? What skills would you need to develop to ensure your survival?
- Author: Amy Plum
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication date: May 5, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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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.