Title: After the End (After the End #1)
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: May 6, 2014
"I have no idea what is truth and what is fiction. I'm all I've got now. I can't trust anyone."
World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.
At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.
When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.
Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
I have to tell you, it's super hard to write a spoiler-free review for Amy Plum's After the End. You see, there are things that are not as they seem to one of the main characters, Juneau, regarding her life in Alaska. However, there were also some surprises in store for me, as I had this preconceived notion of what this book was going to be.
The twist comes fairly early on, but I'm a terrible person, so I'll tell you nothing about it. Instead, we're going to talk about Juneau and her unfortunate situation first. How much does it suck to take your dogs off hunting with you and come back to find your family and clan gone with dead dogs scattered throughout your commune? Going off to your mentor's cave seems like a good idea, too, yes? Nope. Unfortunately, she doesn't find anyone there. Then poor Juneau has to go off into this strange civilization that she's thirty years behind on info about and try to find her clan. Strangely enough, After the End isn't really a fish-out-of-water story.
After the End is told in alternating points of view, and Miles is our lucky second protagonist. He is not a member of the clan and is seemingly unrelated to anything going on with Juneau. He's a typical teenager, except for the fact that he's had some "issues" at school and has been kicked out for good. Plus, his daddy is really pissed off at him.
And what is young adult literature without there being a little bit of romantic tension? I actually found their interactions to be fairly realistic and surprisingly non-annoying. There's not a lot of it, thank goodness.
All in all, After the End was a solid start to a new series/trilogy/whatever, and I really wish I could tell you more about this wonderful book without spoiling anything. Let's just say I've never read anything by Amy Plum before, and I'll be going back to read her other stuff now. I'm impressed, and I look forward to the sequel. (Oh yeah, watch out for that huge cliffhanger!)
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.