At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

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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At the End of Everything

At the End of Everything

Marieke Nijkamp

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