YOU & ME AT THE END OF THE WORLD by BRIANNA BOURNE
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
You & Me at the End of the World by Brianna Bourne wasn’t really on my radar until I saw it while scrolling through GoodReads one day. Once I read the description, I knew I had to pick this book up immediately. A contemporary love story with an apocalyptic twist, You & Me at the End of the World follows Hannah and Leo as they find themselves stuck in a completely empty Houston. There are no people in the city, no animals, no nothing. Hannah finds Leo in a music store on the fifth day of their bizarre predicament, and the two of them team up to try and figure out what happened to the rest of Houston’s inhabitants. After all, like the back of the book says, “this is no ordinary apocalypse.”
Told in dual perspectives from both Hannah and Leo’s points of view, You & Me is a refreshingly clever contemporary story with a speculative twist. The whole time I was reading the book, I kept trying to guess what happened and why–if this was actually an apocalypse or something else entirely. Hannah and Leo, meanwhile, are complete opposites. Hannah is a straight-laced ballerina while Leo plays in an 80s-inspired tribute band called Rat Skillet. Hannah was fine–there’s nothing glaringly wrong with her as a character–but I really enjoyed reading from Leo’s perspective. He’s fun and doesn’t take life too seriously, the perfect foil for Hannah. Yes, they’re kind of cliche as characters, but I love a bad boy/good girl trope more than anyone I know.
The plot is arguably the most interesting part of this novel. As I read, I kept wondering what the heck is going on here? Bourne does a great job at teasing out this mystery and leaving the reader wanting more. It gets especially interesting when thunderstorms start happening throughout the novel, forcing Hannah and Leo to find new ways to survive this strange apocalypse. There’s a lot of tender moments scattered between all the action bits. Hannah and Leo clearly care a lot about each other and it’s fun to see their relationship grow. It didn’t feel forced to me, either, but rather a natural progression of what it would be like if this apocalyptic scenario happened to me. If I had something to gripe about, I’d say that the dialogue sometimes felt a little unrealistic to me, but other than that, I really enjoyed this one!
You can pick up a copy of You & Me at the End of the World at the Oreana library today!