Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain
Published by St Martins Griffin
8th December 2015
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?
This is a YA novel about survivalists, and those who are already prepared for the end of the world. I think that this is more common in America, where this book is set, but I’m sure that there are those people who stockpile everything ‘just in case’ in the UK too. Nicole Reed has a father who is prepared for the ultimate disaster, where there will be no shops, no electricity and no modern world. With this in mind, he teaches his eldest daughter Nicole how to survive should such an event ever happen. The Reed family seem happy in their modern world set-up until the family move to a dilapidated house in the middle of the Sierra Foothills and ex-Lieutenant Colonel James Reed can start living the lifestyle that he coverts so much. With a teenage daughter who is just becoming interested in fashion, music and boys, for Nicole’s younger sister Izzy, this indeed is ‘the end of the world’ and the family starts to crack at the seams.
When Nicole’s mother disappears and her father sets off to find her, the two sisters are left on their own to fend for themselves. With no modern conveniences to hand, no neighbours, and no car to drive, they really are in the wilderness, and it will be Nicole, who is only 16, relying on her survivalist ‘training’ that will help them to pull through. Alongside the Reed family, is a neighbouring commune where Wolf, a handsome teenager, lives. He and Nicole become friends and it is he who she turns to when everything seems to be falling apart. The trouble is, Nicole knows that her father would never allow her to have such a friendship, should he return to their home. Does Nicole have to make a choice between what her head knows her father requires, or what her heart tells her she desires, or is it ever possible to have both?
Instructions for the End of the World raises some interesting issues, about parenting, society and how we live in this modern world of ours. It is definitely a story that makes you think, as this certainly isn’t a fluffy novel.
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