Today I’m pleased to welcome you to my (slightly late) stop on the tour for Things to Do Before the End of the World.  This is such a fun and interesting coming of age story with an interesting twist about the end of the world.  I want to say a big thank you to The Write Reads and Penguin for the chance to read this book and be on the tour and I hope you enjoy reading my review.  Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour! 🙂
Title: Things to do Before the End of the World
Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Teen/young adult fiction, Contemporary, Thriller, Science fiction
Book format: Digital pre-publication copy
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Description: What would you do when you hear the news that humans have done such damage to the earth that there might only be a limited amount of safe air left – a year’s worth at most? You’d work through your bucket list, heal rifts, do everything you’ve never been brave enough to do before?
Olivia is struggling to do any of this. What it is she truly wants to do? Who do she wants to be?
Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know existed. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more. And as the girls meet up for a long, hot last summer, Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having an effect on her.
But Natasha definitely isn’t everything she first appears to be . . .

*Free copy provided for review…

Review:  I really enjoyed this book! During a college Christmas party Olivia, and the rest of the world, receive the news that life will end on Septemper 17th. Due to some environmental changes and a dangerous cloud of unbreathable gas which will cover the planet, humans and other life will likely not survive after that date. Olivia (Libby) doesn’t know what she wants to do before the end of the world, but when a long lost cousin suddenly enters her life, she’s dermined to start enjoying life and become a new person, someone more confident and outgoing than her real self. Libby’s cousin Natasha has a positive effect on her, but is Natasha all she says she is, and can Libby really trust her?

I did enjoy this story and was suprised with how easy it was to get into, sucking me in from the very first page. When the news of the end of the world and when it will happen is revealed, Libby isn’t sure what to do. As a teenager she’s having to face having feelings for someone from her college and on top of that she soon finds out about a cousin that she didn’t know we had. And Natasha, as she soon finds out, turns out to be a real character. The book is split into three parts with each taking place in a different city. The first part takes place in Winchester England, while parts two and three take place in Europe. I enjoyed what happened to Libby in the story although I have to admit that I really didn’t know what was going to happen in the tale and I didn’t expect it to go the way it did.

Libby’s life in the UK and what happens with some of her friends and her crush is interesting but I really enjoyed the story much more once she and her family had decided to spend the summer in Spain. The descriptions of the area and atmosphere were lovely and I loved the constant reference to her pet plant. There is something in the author’s writing throughout the book that often made me smile and even laugh at the odd sentence here and there, the way something was described, it was just brilliant and unique! When Libby’s cousin Natasha shows up in Spain she and Libby become instant friends. I enjoyed what happened and how different Natasha’s character was to Libby. I enjoyed the relationship that developed between the two and the magic tricks and things they did together.

As the story moves on there are several revelations from various chracters. I like what happens when the story moves towards the third part, how Libby grows and despite what happens towards the end, I liked how everything worked out and how mature Libby was and how she resolved to be happy with the way she was. Although the story of the end of the world is in the background all the time, the tale is actually more centred around Libby and what happens with her and her cousin. It’s actually an interesting story that could have easily not had the backdrop of the impending end of the world and it still would have worked for me.

I read this book really fast, it has a good fast pace and just kept me glued to the pages wanting to find out what would happen next, and although the story takes place in a few different locations I enjoyed what happened to Libby and her cousin and the different side that they saw to the cities they were in. The whole story has a good ending overall, and I like how everything resolves right at the end. But despite my enjoying the coming of age story and the way Libby grows as a charater, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with the ending. I do know that it was probably difficult to know what to do with such a book’s ending, but to me it felt a bit open ended and I just didn’t enjoy not really knowing what would happen at the end.

The story has a few uses of the f and s swear words but nothing else really upsetting, other than the idea of the world ending and the mention of a few dead animals. I did enjoy this story overall and I did like what happened, but if I’m honest I did expect the story to be more focused on the end of the world and be grander than it actually was. This felt more of a simple coming of age tale with some dramatic things happening which could have easily happened in another setting, as I’ve said, but I did like what happened with all the characters and even how we find out some things about Libby’s dad and mum at the end.

I would recommend thins book for its fast and exciting pace as well as how interesting it felt as a coming of age tale. I’m not sure if everyone will enjoy the slightly open ending when it comes to the end of world story but it’s still a good tale and makes you think and wonder what would really happen if the end of the world was approaching our world. It’s a book I would like to pick up again and has made me keen to read more of the author’s work.

What do you think of this book?  Do you like coming of age stories or ones that focus on interesting scenarios like this one?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂