Instructions For The End of The World
Author: Jamie Kain
Release Date: December 8th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Rating: 3 Birds
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?
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.
We've seen the world after the fall out. We've even seen it just before the fall out and even during. What we've never seen is life as a family gets prepared for a potential fall out.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD is a fast paced young adult contemporary that focuses on the disasters you can't plan for, while preparing for those that may never come. Told in four POVs by chapter we meet Nicole, the good daughter who does as her survivalist father says. Izzy, the complete opposite of Nicole who (like her mother) hates everything to do with her fathers way of life. Wolf, the mysterious boy who lives on the spiritualist commune on the other side of the forest, and Laurel another member of the spiritualist community.
Nicole's POV was my favorite, there were times I wished the whole book was from her perspective. Down to earth, nobody's fool and tough as nails. She's fiercely protective over her family, particularly her sister even if they don't get along as well as some siblings. She keeps them alive when both parents are gone in a way that is downright impressive.
Wolf was my second favorite, and this works out because the majority of the chapters are from his or Nicole's POV. He's mysterious, clever, feral. Quiet and always watching, he balances out Nicole's take on things with a more laid back side. He too is struggling with parental issues. Aren't all teenagers at one time or another?
Izzy, or Isabel's was a lot to take in for me. She's 14, very "valley girl" and, if I'm being honest a little annoying. Heads up: minor plot spoiler ahead…you've been warned. At one point there's a fairly graphic sexual encounter between her and a boy named Kiva. Now I'm not the person who doesn't believe that 14 year olds don't have sex. It's just the way that this was written. Kiva takes Izzy her to a secluded area with a bed, get her falling down drunk, then clothes come off. She never said no but the words were on her lips, too scared and in pain to say them. He disregards her the moment it's over and even comments how he's sorry he didn't pull out, he got "carried away". Izzy goes home, falls into a depression, beating herself up over not asking about a condom, the fact she let it happen by not saying no when she wanted to. She tells Nicole, yet NOTHING, not a thing is done about it. It's all but swept under the rug like a pimple before the prom or a lost football game, not the rape that it by definition it is. When it is mentioned between Nicole and Wolf, it's done so with a "I don't see what else can be done about it" comment that just angered me so much, making sure to point out that he's not to bring it up anymore or mention it to Kiva.
I think it was recklessly handled and paints a poor picture for the young girls who will read this book as to how this kind of thing should be handled and what it is that really happened. Suggesting that remaining silent on the subject, to me, is just frustrating and a step back.
Laurel the fourth POV, is my least favorite. A kind of unrelated sibling to Wolf, you never can tell if she's watching him out of care or an unrequited love for him. She was a confusing addition to things. Honestly the only advantage you have from her POV is the foreshadowing on Kiva that you get when she mentions how if he wants to, he will get in that girls pants, which is mentioned at the start of the book.
Overall, the writing is remarkable even if I didn't enjoy all the characters or sub-plots. Kain can say more in one sentence than most can articulate in a whole page. She captures the scenery, the emotions so extraordinarily. I wish the book had ben longer, it felt over right when it started. I will be checking out THE GOOD SISTER, Kain's first novel which came out in 2014 because I enjoyed the writing style so much.