THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS by JEN WILDE
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
This is the Way the World Ends by Jen Wilde is an interesting mix of genres that I wasn’t expecting when I first got into it. This is a story about wealth and class, about love and loss, and one giant party autistic scholarship student Waverly never dreamed she’d be able to go to. Webber Academy is the most prestigious school in New York City and Waverly and her best friend, Pari stick out like sore thumbs. With the annual Webber Masquerade Ball coming up, Waverly knows she doesn’t have a shot at going…Until her unlikely friend Caroline–daughter of Dean Webber and one of the richest girls in the city–asks her to go to the party in her stead. So she does. And everything goes downhill from there.
This is the Way the World Ends gives you a clue about its concept right there in its title. I don’t want to give away too much, but this party turns into so much more than a party. It’s full of suspense, throwing in a little apocalypse for good measure. I’ll leave out specifics, but you really should read it to figure out the mystery.
Intrigue aside, let’s talk about the the book itself. There’s a lot of wonderful diversity here that I’d like to work out. Waverly is autistic and queer, both of which deeply impact her story. Her best friend, Pari, is Indian and as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. She uses a cane (like I do sometimes!) and I loved seeing that kind of representation–because it’s still so rare in YA. There’s also Ash Webber, the daughter of Dean Webber and Waverly’s ex-girlfriend. There’s something odd about Ash’s mysterious return to Webber Academy, and Waverly is on a mission to figure out what it is.
This is a short book, so it has to move quickly to keep readers’ attention. It succeeds, for the most part, though I found the beginning of the novel to be a little slow. It picks up its pace near the middle of the novel and really hits the ground running after that. I loved the genre blending here–equal parts YA contemporary and apocalyptic sci-fi–and I loved how honest and true the representation is. The writing is solid, and overall, I’m looking forward to seeing what Jen Wilde does next.
You can pick up a copy at the Oreana Library today!