Review: This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

this-is-where-the-world-ends

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release date: March 21, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 304
Goodreads || Book Depository

Janie and Micah. Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been since they were children, when Janie Vivian 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.

MY THOUGHTS

3 stars

Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for providing a review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I first heard about this book last year at HarperCollin’s BTCYA event and I fell in love with it after hearing the pitch that was given. It was one of my most anticipated books of the first half of 2016, so I was a little bit scared and hesitant after hearing some mixed things about it from other bloggers. However, I found the story and plot to be wonderful and insightful, and I highly enjoyed it. What I wasn’t as big of a fan of were the characters, but I’ll go into that a little bit more later in my review.

This book is written in dual perspectives and from two different timelines that alternate with each chapter. I highly enjoyed this non-linear format and thought it was very reminiscent of I’ll Give You the Sun, which is my favourite YA novel of all time. From Micah’s perspective, we learn about the present (or the ‘after’) and what happens when he wakes up with no memory of something big that happened in his small town. From Janie’s perspective, we learn about the ‘before’ and the events that occurred in the months leading up to the big incident in town. Through the alternating chapters of past and present, we’re able to put together the pieces of the puzzle and figure out what happened. I really enjoyed this process and thought the format of the book was very successful in creating an atmospheric and suspenseful story. There were a couple of things that I thought were a bit predictable but they didn’t impact too much on my enjoyment of the book and its plot. I have to admit that for the first half of the novel, I wasn’t sure where the book was going and felt slightly apathetic about it, but something happened near the halfway point of the book, which pulled me into the story and gave me a better sense of what the book was trying to explore. I definitely enjoyed the second half of the book much more.

The writing in this book was wonderful and I was amazed by how well Amy Zhang can write. She uses some interesting syntax that added to the impact of the story. The writing was lyrical but easy to read, and I just loved how she was able to make me feel so many emotions with the way she put sentences together. The book also had some fairytale influences, which gave it a slightly magical quality. These were accompanied by beautiful illustrations/doodles, which brought the story to life. I thought it was highly creative and imaginative (and I recently found out from Aentee @ Read at Midnight that Amy Zhang did the illustrations in the book herself, which makes me admire her even more).

My problem with this book was that I couldn’t connect with and didn’t particularly like the two main characters. Janie is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl to the core and I couldn’t really handle her. She’s definitely put on a pedestal by Micah and I just couldn’t see what was so special about her. She was the larger-than-life and interesting character who we were all supposed to admire, but I thought she was quite dislikeable. She was manipulative and a terrible friend to Micah. She forced him into doing things and constantly told him how great they were as friends, but then ignored him when other people were around. And what really bothered me was that he kept coming back for more of this terrible treatment. The characterisation in this book just reminded me of everything that I didn’t like about Paper Towns by John Green.

I actually didn’t mind Micah’s character. For most of the book, he suffered from amnesia and couldn’t remember anything that had happened recently or retain new memories. I liked that he was an unreliable narrator because it added to the story and made me work hard at figuring out what had happened. However, I thought that he was far too passive at times and allowed Janie to push him around again and again. He just seemed like a lost puppy for most of the book and I wished that his character was stronger.

But despite the issues I had with the characterisation, I enjoyed the plot and thought the book explored a lot of issues that are relevant to today’s society, including mental health and sexual orientation. I definitely still do recommend this book even though the characters weren’t to my liking.

Wrap Up: March 2016

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Welcome to my 200th post! Can you believe I’ve posted 200 times on this blog? I’m super proud to say that 120 of those posts were book reviews because I love sharing my opinions and spreading the love. I’ve also done 39 Top Ten Tuesday posts… so I guess the remaining 40 posts are wrap ups, hauls and tags.

I did pretty well this month with my reading. I did feel a little bit slumpy in the middle of the month and I wasn’t reading as much at that time. But I came home strongly and did a lot of reading during the Easter break. I read 17 books this month and I’ve completed half of my 2016 Goodreads challenge already. Right now, I’m about 26 books ahead so I’ll probably end up increasing my goal this year. I was also in a blogging slump this month. I usually review almost every book that I read, and this month… well, you can probably see how many I actually reviewed from the lack of review links down below…

March16

Reading summary header

1. What I Saw – Beck Nicholas  3 stars

An Aussie YA book about alcohol-fuelled violence that focused too much on the romance and not enough on the issues that it needed to explore. It was middle of the road for me.

2. The Yearbook Committee – Sarah Ayoub  4 stars

A lovely novel set in Sydney that focuses on friendships and the bonds that can be created between people who are very different. This book is written from five different perspectives, but it never felt like there was too much going on.

3. The Sidekicks – Will Kostakis  45 stars

This is another Aussie YA novel that focuses on friendship and grief. The book is about three boys who shared the same best friend and what happens when that best friend passes away. It’s a really short book that packs quite a punch.

4. Dirty Rowdy Thing – Christina Lauren  35 stars

I read Sweet Filthy Boy, the first novel in this companion series, last month and wasn’t that big of a fan. But I decided to give Dirty Rowdy Thing a go because everybody seems to love these books and I wanted to see if it could change my opinion. And… again, it was good but not great. I’m not sure that I’ll continue with Book 3 but these are great NA books if you’re feeling slumpy.

5. Trouble – Non Pratt  2 stars

This book is about teen pregnancy and I couldn’t really connect with the story or the characters. I was just really frustrated with the characters and the author’s writing style. I’m glad that I read it but it wasn’t anything special.

6. Iron to Iron – Ryan Graudin  45 stars

This is a novella that follows one of the side characters from Wolf by Wolf. It was wonderfully written and if you enjoyed Wolf by Wolf, you’ll enjoy this novella. If you haven’t read Wolf by Wolf, I would definitely deter you from reading this novella until you’ve read Wolf by Wolf because it will ruin your reading experience of that novel.

7. Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare  45 stars

I was so excited to have a new Shadowhunters book in my hand but I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy this one because I wasn’t a big fan of Emma Carstairs or Julian Blackthorn when I met them in City of Heavenly Fire. But this book was SO GOOD! Everything was wonderful, besides the very last part of the book, which had one of my most hated tropes… It was the only reason why I took off half a star.

8. Prince’s Gambit – C.S. Pacat  35 stars

This is the second book in the Captive Prince trilogy. I didn’t really see what all the hype was… I thought this book was just a little bit better than average. I liked the characters and the romance but the actual plot of the book was kind of lacking. I had a hard time remembering who everybody was and even though there was lots of political intrigue and strategy, I had a hard time following it all because it wasn’t very well-developed.

9. Kings Rising – C.S. Pacat  4 stars

This is the final book in the Captive Prince trilogy and it was better than the first two books. I still thought the plot was a little weak but overall, I enjoyed it a lot more.

10. Identity – Milan Kundera  3 stars

This was a book that I started reading about 7 years ago but never finished. I finally picked it back up this month and it was really good. I just wasn’t really in the mood for literary fiction and I think I could have enjoyed it more if I had really spent the time trying to delve deeper into story and the messages.

11. Beautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard  2 stars

This book had me shaking my head so hard. It’s a book about friendship and I just did not enjoy it at all because I disliked all of the characters and thought the friendship was a very unhealthy one. The main character is highly frustrating and ignorant and I just wanted to slap her across the face.

12. The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman  4 stars

This is a bind-up of the two volumes of Maus by Art Spiegelman. It’s about Spiegelman’s father’s story and how he survived the Holocaust. The story was very meta – it followed not only his father’s story but also the story of how Art learnt about what happened from his father. While I enjoyed that aspect of the book, I also didn’t really like it because I found Art very dislikeable. I probably would have liked the graphic novel a lot more if it was just about WWII and the Holocaust.

13. The Way I Used To Be – Amber Smith  2 stars

This is a story about rape and the main character’s struggle to deal with what happened. This book is split into four parts and each part follows one year in the MC’s high school life. I really didn’t like this book at all. It’s basically a story about self-destruction and we just see the MC be increasingly nasty to everyone around her until she hits rock bottom. I couldn’t connect with her or her story and didn’t find it to be emotional at all. The book had no effect on me and I couldn’t really see what messages the author was trying to convey.

14. The Girl From Everywhere – Heidi Heilig  4 stars

This was a really fun time travel book. I really enjoyed the characters and the romance that was in the book. It was a really quick read and I thought it was great. The only thing that I struggled with was some of the time travel aspects. I didn’t think the rules were set out very well and I had a little bit of a hard time following some of the logic of the story.

15. Love is the Higher Law – David Levithan  4 stars

I love David Levithan’s writing and this was another wonderful book. This book follows three people’s experiences with 9/11 and how it affected them at the time and afterwards. As someone who was really young and half a world away when 9/11 happened, I really appreciated being able to see the impact that it had on New Yorkers and how the event continues to stay with people.

16. Frankie – Shivaun Plozza  5 stars

This was a really amazing Aussie YA debut novel about disadvantaged youths. It was a beautiful coming of age story, with a fantastic set of characters and writing that everybody can relate to. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read more by Shivaun.

17. This is Where the World Ends – Amy Zhang  3 stars

This novel was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. It started off as one thing and then quickly morphed into something that I wasn’t completely expecting. The book had lots of great messages about rape and sexual assault and I enjoyed the plot. However, I was disappointed with the characterisation and didn’t really like the two protagonists. I just couldn’t connect with them enough to give this book more than a 3 out of 5. A review of this will be up next week.

DNF-ED

The Chimes – Anna Smaill

While the writing in this book was undoubtedly beautiful, it was much too flowery and purple for me to get into the story. The syntax was strange and there were so many big words that I didn’t know the meaning of that I pretty much was just skimming over the text. I pride myself on my wide range of vocabulary, and to read a book that made me consult a dictionary every second page… was just not enjoyable. I just didn’t understand what I was reading so I DNFed this at 30%.

T10T

I posted 5 Top Ten Tuesday posts in March:

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Autumn TBR

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You’ll probably have noticed that I don’t do TBR posts because what I read really depends on my mood. But the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is books that are on my Spring TBR (which I’ve changed to Autumn TBR because southern hemisphere), so I thought I’d list a couple of books that I plan to read in the next two months. Most of these books I’ve either preordered, requested or already own copies of, but I’m super excited to get to all of these.

The Goodreads page for each book is linked!

1. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

I absolutely loved both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime and I have to get my hands on this as soon as it’s released! Like, you don’t understand how much I need to know what happens next. I’m about to implode from the need.

2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This is another series finale that I’m super excited for. The Raven Cycle so far has been magnificent and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I’m pretty sure ACOMAF is on everybody’s TBR and wishlists. I thought A Court of Thorns and Roses was really great and I’m so excited that ACOMAF is inspired by the Hades and Persephone story. I’m slightly iffy about it though because Rhysand is going to get a lot more page time and I don’t know how I feel about him.

4. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

I absolutely love Morgan Matson and everything she’s written. I’ve already heard really good things about The Unexpected Everything and I can’t wait to have it in my hands. It’s going to be fantastic!

5. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn was another 2015 release that I really enjoyed and I have really high hopes for this sequel.

6. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Out of all of Rick Riordan’s books, I’ve only read Percy Jackson and the Olympians but I want to eventually catch up and binge read everything else. Apollo is probably my favourite of the major gods and I’m so excited to read about him as a mortal.

7. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

I’ve had the first four books of the Heroes of Olympus on my shelves for a few months now but I still haven’t read them because I want to marathon the whole series. I have the US paperbacks of the books and the last book, The Blood of Olympus, doesn’t come out in paperback until early April. So I’m holding off until I have all of the books in my possession. I’ve already preordered The Blood of Olympus, so hopefully it gets here soon.

8. Dreamology by Lucy Keating

I’ve had an eARC of Dreamology sitting in my Kindle app since last year. I was planning to review it for Happy Indulgence but the awesome Aila read and wrote up a review for it in like a day. So it’s kind of continued sitting in my Kindle app… It sounds fascinating and Aila really enjoyed it, so I’m really keen to see what I think of it.

9. This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

This is one of my most anticipated contemporary releases of this year and I have an ARC of this one! I cannot wait to read this and will have a review up closer to release date, which is in April.

10. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

This sounds like a really cute contemporary and there’s been quite a bit of buzz about it around the community. But let’s be real, I’m excited about it because the author and I share the same name.


What books are you really keen to read in the next few months?!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016

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Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post. This is a weekly feature hosted by the group over at The Broke and the Bookish and this week I am featuring 10 of my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016. I did a list of my most anticipated 2016 debut novels a couple weeks ago so I didn’t include any of them in this list. Click on the link to see what I included in that list!

I could have also included Truthwitch by Susan Dennard and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken on this list (those are out on January 5) but I’ve already pre-ordered those and the release date is so soon that I thought I’d look a little bit further into the future.

So here are ten of my most anticipated releases between February and June of 2016. Their Goodreads pages are linked.

1. Stars Above – Marissa Meyer

This is a collection of short stories featuring the world and the characters from The Lunar Chronicles. I believe this contains 9 short stories, 4 that have been previously released as ebooks and 5 never-before-seen stories. The Lunar Chronicles is my favourite series so I cannot wait to read more. Plus we’ve been promised the wedding of the century?

2. A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

I really, really loved A Darker Shade of Magic so I’m highly anticipating this sequel! I read a little bit of an excerpt and I can tell that it’s going to be amazing!

3. Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

Ever since I finished bingeing The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments, I’ve been looking forward to Cassie’s next release. I really love the Shadowhunter Chronicles and Cassie’s writing so Lady Midnight cannot come soon enough! I’m more excited for her next trilogy, The Last Hours (Book 1 out in 2017), than I am for Lady Midnight but I’ll take anything at this point.

4. This is Where the World Ends – Amy Zhang

Contemporary is my favourite genre and I particularly enjoy ones that will give me all the feels and make me ugly-cry until I cannot function the next day. And this one promises all of those things.

5. The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

I marathoned the first three books of The Raven Cycle just last week and I cannot wait for The Raven King to be released! Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous, but I have a feeling that The Raven King will be the best one of the series yet! It’s going to be so epic and I want to know if Gansey will actually die! (That is not a spoiler).

6. A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas

I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses so much when I read it back in July so I’m really looking forward to the sequel. It’s going to be partly a Hades and Persephone retelling, which has me super intrigued! I just really want to know what’s going to go down in the Night Court! (I am Team Tamlin btw)

7. The Rose and the Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

This is another sequel that I’m highly anticipating. The first book in this duology, The Wrath and the Dawn, was so great and we got left at such a heartstopping spot that I need to know what happens!

8. The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

This is one of my most highly anticipated contemporaries. I’ve still only read Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson but I enjoyed the coming-of-age story and the character development in that book so much that I need to read more of her writing.

9. You Know Me Well – David Levithan & Nina LaCour

I actually don’t know too much about this book but everything I’ve read by David Levithan has been amazing (review of Every Day) and he’s one of my favourite contemporary authors. This book promises to be an wonderfully diverse LGBTQ+ book so I need to have this in my possession!

10. Summer Days & Summer Nights – Stephanie Perkins

I thoroughly enjoyed Stephanie Perkins’ first short story collection, My True Love Gave To Me, when I read it last year so I’m super excited to pick up her next collection. This collection is written by a whole new group of contemporary and fantasy authors and I cannot wait to see what summery stories are in store for us.


Please share your most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016! I love adding new books to my watchlist and pre-ordering them so let me know!