After the End by Amy Plum

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.

The thing I loved so much about reading After the End is that it’s not the same old dystopian, post-apocalyptic novel we’ve been reading for the last several years. Instead, Juneau’s been living that story her whole life, and discovers one day that it’s all been a lie.

Her clan’s been kidnapped, and when she sets out to find them, she discovers: cities. Cars. People living happy, normal lives. Everything around her wilderness area has been going on as if nothing had changed. If it sounds a little like M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village,” well, it is–but don’t worry, because that’s not even the main focus of the story.

I always enjoy Amy Plum’s writing. It’s “clean,” as we say in the copy editing world–flowing smoothly, nothing muddying up the flow or meaning or pure enjoyment of the language. Her main characters are strong, here, and while I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of Juneau at first (she’s very mystical and “one with the earth,” etc., which isn’t exactly my thing, and for whatever reason it took me some time to get into the groove), I grew to love her. Miles, on the other hand, I liked from the start. I would have liked more info on Whit–I’m hoping we get more in the next book.

I have seen complaints about the ending of the book, and I will grant that it’s a major cliffhanger. Just know that this book is the first in a series, so there’s more to come! Even without that knowledge, it wasn’t as jarring as some I’ve read (*coughWeAretheGoldenscough*).

In sum, I thoroughly enjoyed After the End, and can’t wait for news about book 2! After the End is on shelves now!

Some mild language throughout, a couple of harsher words in one scene at the end, but it stays PG-13 overall. 4 stars.

4 Stars

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