After the End (After the End, book one)
By Amy Plum
Published 2014 by HarperTeen
Juneau's clan has been living off the land in Alaska since the rest of the world was decimated in World War III. But when Juneau returns from hunting to discover her clan has been kidnapped, everything she thought she knew is thrown into question. What is true? What falsehoods has she been told? And how can Miles, a stranger, help her figure it all out?
Once again, either I didn't read the blurb or didn't read it carefully enough or the blurb changed from ARC to final copy because I was not expecting this book to unfold the way it did. I was fully expecting a post-apocalyptic tale of survival and strangers meeting and uniting for a common goal. If you've read the blurb, then it's not a spoiler to say that this is not that book. Instead, this book is like the movie The Village, a movie I actually enjoyed (I know!), wherein a girl who believes one thing comes to discover that the elders of her village have not told the truth and they are actually living in a secluded community in the modern world. I think, had I been expecting this reveal, I might have enjoyed the book slightly better. Since it came as a surprise, I was a bit put off.
However, this book also incorporates some strange earth magic, which I found interesting. I liked the alternating narrative - between Juneau and Miles - and I found them both appealing characters. I didn't find the chemistry between the two of them all that believable, though, and I was frustrated that Juneau doesn't get many of the answers she's searching for. I realize this is book one of a series (which I did know before I started reading), but there is such a thing as leaving too much out in book one. I wanted Juneau to at least find her clan, or at least get answers from Whit, or at least something else, but she got none of that. I felt the ending to be very abrupt, which also bothered me, but I suppose is meant to force you to read book two. I suppose I will, because I want the answers almost as badly as Juneau does. This will definitely appeal to a certain audience of YA readers and we'll see where it goes from here.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.