book review: The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

The End of Everything: A Novel
The backstory:  I've thoroughly enjoyed Megan Abbott's 1950's pulp noir mysteries, and I was thrilled when I heard she had a new novel coming out.

The basics: The End of Everything is the story of thirteen-year-old Lizzie and her next-door neighbor and best friend Evie, who goes missing.

My thoughts: Abbott has an amazing ability to get inside the mind of a thirteen-year-old narrator. Lizzie is a fascinating and somewhat tragic figure. Her beliefs and memories have the vigor of a teen; all she knows is certainty, even as the reader sees the hints of doubt. The End of Everything is not a mystery, per se, although I was riveted to see where Abbott would take these characters. We see this world through Lizzie's eyes and thus her sense of time and place. Her powerlessness manifests itself convincingly as she earnestly believes she holds the clues to finding Evie because they are so close.

Favorite passage: "It's almost like she savors the terribleness--everyone does. Like it does things for them, makes everything seem more exciting, more momentous, more real."

The verdict: There's a noir-like creepiness to this novel, and Abbott deftly tackles ideas of innocence, guilt and attraction. The End of Everything is not for the faint of heart, but I thoroughly enjoyed this unflinchingly honest tale of abduction. Abbott doesn't let her characters or her readers off easily.

Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Length: 256 pages
Publication date: July 7, 2011
Source: Reagan Arthur Books was kind enough to send me a copy

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  1. I wasn't sure about this one, so I'm glad to see you enjoyed it Carrie.

  2. I've seen this one around but wasn't sure about it. I don't typically enjoy books that center around an abduction but your comments intrigue me.

  3. I couldn't believe this was the same Megan Abbott -- the cover design is so different from her other novels! I'm always on the fence about her books -- they're good but her heroines kill me at times!

  4. I haven't read anything by this author but I definitely am interested after reading your review!

  5. I have heard very little about this book, but after reading your review, I am intrigued. I love it when an author is not afraid to push the envelope, as it sounds like Abbott does here. Great review on this one. It goes on the list.

  6. Our book club is reading this in August so I am glad to see you have given it a positive review!

  7. Now I'm mad that I didn't get a copy of this book while I had a chance. Darn it!

    Happy to hear you liked it. I was torn when I first heard about it, so I'm just mad at myself.


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