This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang
Publication Date: April 1st
Source: Harper Collins
Review at a Glance
– Tissues are needed
– Dark and emotional rollercoaster
– The writing is hypnotic: I couldn’t put it down
Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivien moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship—as long as no one finds out about it. But then Janie goes missing and everything Micah thought he knew about his best friend is colored with doubt.
Using a nonlinear writing style and dual narrators, Amy Zhang reveals the circumstances surrounding Janie’s disappearance in a second novel.
Have you ever had a book linger in your thoughts after finishing it? Or have it throw you around and upside down and make you feel things that you’ve never felt. Or had a book that just made you appreciate life more and make you want to take care of your friends and really, REALLY be there for them? Or just makes you feel like swearing at the world to pull itself together? “This is Where the World Ends” does exactly that. It was one of those books that was written beautifully and ‘lyrically’ that it just stuck with you after finishing it.
“This is Where the World Ends” is like Looking for Alaska, but bigger and better and way more interesting. I mean, I remember finishing Looking for Alaska and thinking “but what was the whole point? What was this book supposed to make me feel?”. But walking away from “This is Where the World Ends” I was left with heavy emotions that ate away at my heart, that hacked pieces of my exterior and made me feel vulnerable. That’s what Amy does, she makes you vulnerable and makes you feel emotions you’ve yet to experience in life.
The book was a light read, I devoured it in one day. It was dark as well and just terrifyingly realistic. We have teenagers swearing, drinking, crushing on people and so much more! It was such a fantastic read, I might re-read it as we speak because I don’t want to forget this wonderful story.
(Next paragraph is *kinda* spoilery)
The writing is just amazing with Amy exposing the lives of Janie and Micah. At one point of the book, Amy writes about a rape. It shouldn’t really be a spoiler because you have the phrase “Liar, Liar, Liar, you were asking for it” written on the cover. I knew it was coming. I knew it was implemented in the story line, yet, I didn’t see it coming. I thought Janie was safe and then, she wasn’t and that was messed up. I didn’t want to read further but I had to, for Janie, to understand Janie and when the moment came, I wanted to save her, protect her, do whatever I could to save that fire in her, the sunshine, that drive to be alive. The events afterward wear tear worthy, they wrecked me. I wanted to burn down her damn house too.
(End of spoiler)
Micah and Janie, Janie and Micah were meant to be, but they were inevitably different people. They were never together in public but in private their souls came together, like puzzle pieces. Micah was the ‘uncool’ kid. Janie, the exact opposite. They didn’t interact in public because of this and I kind of understand the logic. Janie didn’t want her rep being rendered by Micah. Janie was stubborn and ‘wild’. She was the heart of Micah and Micah balanced her. But overall, their friendship was everything anyone could ask for but at the same time toxic and just really complicated.
The plot was ‘problematic’ at times because I didn’t know what was going on. Then other times the flashbacks were confusing, but I soldiered on, because Amy’s writing is dazzling, hypnotic and just so worthy to be ink on paper.
The ending of the book was something I could just dwell on, something I could think about. I knew what was going to happen. But I didn’t prepare for it. I didn’t know it’d be so tragic and soul crushing. I loved the ending better than “Looking for Alaska”. I don’t mean to compare the two books together whilst I review, but it reminds me so much of “Looking for Alaska”. “This is where the World Ends” wraps up the story better the “Looking for Alaska” and it allows the reader to interpret and imagine Micah’s life onward.
The reactions to the ‘actions’/’events’ were predictable. But the story of the ‘actions’/’events’ and the reason why Janie did what she did was dark and terrifyingly real.
I think the only thing we really didn’t get to explore is Penny. Her actions could had changed the whole storyline, could have changed everything. I wanted to know more about what happened the day after with her and how she really coped with it. Even having thoughts from her after the incident after the fire would have been great to read about.
Overall, I am a ball of feels. I am utterly memorised by Amy Zhang’s writing and I want more. She weaves her way into your heart and takes you apart piece by piece. Amy Zhang will forever push the boundaries of the classic YA contemporary novel. I think I also just LOVED this book because in some ways I could connect with the characters. Amy might have named the book “This is Where the World Ends” but she has created a new one for me !
I gave it 5 stars because it deserves 5 stars, nothing less nothing more. For Micah and Janie.
Thank you Harper Collins for the review copy !