When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he’s injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population, including everyone both boys have ever loved. And if this new world has taught them anything, it’s to be scared of what other desperate people will do . . . so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other?
After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But something isn’t adding up about Andrew’s story, and it could cost them everything. And Jamie has a secret, too. He’s starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey.
The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together. Only one thing feels certain: all that’s left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other.
Thoughts and Themes: I was a bit wary about reading this book because I knew it would deal with our current pandemic, I knew that there would be commentary about it and I was worried about my feelings getting in the way of enjoying this book. I am glad that I decided to read it anyway because dystopian books are my favorite and I have yet to see a queer one.
This book is covered in sticky notes with my thoughts all over it and a lot of those are me just gushing about all of the characters and the slow burn romance. There is no part of this book that I do not love but there are moments in which I was worried for the boys.
Something that I really enjoy about this book is how this book makes commentary about how the Covid-19 pandemic was handled. I really appreciated these pieces but also enjoyed how it didn’t feel like I was just reliving the past two years of our pandemic. I liked that this book was about a pandemic but it was so much more than that, it had these boys figuring out who they are among this disaster of a world, it has people who were destroyed by this pandemic emotionally and mentally, it has loss and trying to come back from that loss, and it has love at the end of the world.
I liked how each place that the boys come across is described and we get to walk this trail with them. I felt like I was on this journey along with them and was scared every time they were scared. I also really liked how we got to meet several different groups of people along the way. I thought that was really reflective of the way that the C-19 pandemic has affected out world.
Characters: In this book you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with Andrew and Jamison. I really enjoyed so many of the characters that we meet throughout this story even the bad ones because of how developed they were.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Andrew and Jamison, and the way it develops throughout the story. I love that they start off as friends but also love how instant their trust for each other is. I liked the slow burn romance between them because when they finally admit their feelings to each other it makes it so worth it. I also really enjoyed how everyone who met them knew of their feelings for each other and while Andrew knew of his feelings, Jamison was still questioning his feelings and neither knew about the other’s feelings.
Writing Style: This book is written in dual point of view alternating between Andrew and Jamison throughout the book. I really enjoyed getting to be in both of their heads and see this pandemic through both of their eyes. I really liked that we get to go along the journey with Jamison as he questions his sexuality due to his feelings for Andrew. I thought it was great getting a chance to see how each of them feel not just about each other but also about the things that are happening in this story.
Erik J. Brown is a writer based in Philadelphia, PA.
In 2009 he graduated from Temple University with a degree in Film and Media Arts with an emphasis in Writing for Media. When not writing, he enjoys traveling (pre-pandemic), collecting disco compilations on vinyl, remodelin
g his haunted house with his husband, and embarking on the relentless quest of appeasing his Shiba Inu, Charlie.
In 2021 he was selected as a Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Fellow.
His debut Young Adult novel, ALL THAT’S LEFT IN THE WORLD will be published in early 2022 by HarperColllins/Balzer+Bray.
You can find him on Twitter @WriterikJB, and Instagram @ErikJB