At the End of Everything

Marieke Nijkamp

At the End of Everything
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At the End of Everything

Marieke Nijkamp

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends comes an emotional and timely story of incarcerated teens fighting to stay alive amidst a deadly pandemic.

The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.   

Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day…they don’t show up. At first, the teens are thrilled. But when they band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There’s a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they’re stuck at Hope for good. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.   

As supplies quickly dwindle and the plague passes through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never seemed to want them.   

‘The beautifully written, lyrical prose enhances this riveting, fast-paced thriller that may hit very close to home for readers struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic. The alternating first-person narratives and interspersed phone call transcripts keep readers close to the action and occasionally will bring them close to tears.’ - Kirkus Reviews 

‘Thrilling, raw, and unforgettable. A story about humanity, resilience, and hope. I couldn’t put this book down. The story felt so real! Nijkamp at their best!’ - Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Beautiful Creatures


Written from the perspective of three different teenagers, this is the story of a group of delinquents that the world has forgotten when a plague takes over society. Grace, Logan and Emerson have all ended up at the Hope Juvenile Treatment Centre for different reasons. Emerson was thrown out of the religious family home for coming out as trans; Logan, who is deaf and uses sign language, along with her twin sister Leah, set fire to a squat and accidentally killed someone; Grace has been in and out of foster homes her entire life.

When the guards walk off the job without any warning at their detention centre, all the teens imprisoned within must figure out what is happening and what to do. They organise themselves, learn to ration their food and take precautions to protect themselves from the plague that has come to their door.

Written during the COVID-19 pandemic, this story investigates what happens to those in prisons and detention centres when the rest of the world retreats inward. The cast of characters is wonderfully diverse and the responses they have to this impossible situation are varied and very real. This is a thriller that keeps you turning the pages, but it is also poignant in its realistic depiction of the incarceration of young people – often for minor crimes – and will give the reader plenty of food for thought.

Suitable for readers ages 12+.

Angela Crocombe is a senior buyer at Readings

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