Monday, January 4, 2016

Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain

By Jamie Kain
St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Hardcover: 9781250047861 / $18.99 USD
eBook: 9781250047854 / $9.99 USD

 In the past year I had somewhat drifted away from Young Adult books in my reading for pleasure. I had read many YA books, which is quite rare for me, between 2010 and 2014. After reading books such as The Fault in our Stars, The Hunger Games, and Divergent series, I was hooked on the genre. I was honestly blown away at the quality of the writing and the story lines from John Green, Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins (among others) and the stories hooked me from the beginning. It is always tough to come down off a book that you LOVE, which is why I strayed from YA for a while.  I have jumped back into reading YA by picking up Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain. This book is a contemporary YA that teens would enjoy. While it is not a "literary" read, it satisfies the teen with a story of survival, and attraction in a tale that combines wilderness survival (but it is much more than that), family angst and decisions that we must make under pressure. "What do you do when the apocalypse happens from the inside? When it is your family and not civilization that falls apart?"

"He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man-except for the one that struck. When Nicole Reed's father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, it's too much too handle for her mother, who abandons them in the middle of the night. Heading out to track her down, Nicole's father leaves her in charge of taking care of the house and her younger sister, Izzy. For a while, Nicole is doing just fine running things on her own. But then the food begins to run out, the pipes crack, and forest fires start slowly inching their way closer every day. Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help her when she needs it most, but when she starts to develop feelings for him, feelings she knows she will never be allowed to act on once her father returns, she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow's disasters, or will she take a chance and really start living for today? Jamie Kain's Instructions for the End of the World is a gripping, young adult novel that explores family, friendship, and love in the midst of the most difficult and dangerous circumstances."
I found this quote while reading, and I loved it so much I felt compelled to share it with you here:
"I understand the balance nature seeks-the need for the hawk to eat the hare-but I have never felt at peace with its harshness.I don't begin to understand why life, so excruciatingly fragile, so breathtaking in its delicate beauty, can be destroyed with such ease. Mahesh would say that no life is truly destroyed, that it just returns to the Great Mother Earth to live again, but tell that to the hare trying to keep her babies alive."
My takeaway is that life is truly a delicate balance of nature. Sometimes loss is followed by something you gain and that pain and happiness are often intertwined in a delicate line. Lots of beautiful gems in this book. Well done, Jamie. 
While this book will not hold most adults' attention like the previous books mentioned, it is a worthy contender for great reads in modern YA fiction.

Thank you to Griffin Teen for a copy of Instructions for the End of the World, which was given to me in exchange for a fair, honest review.

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