Review: After The End by Amy Plum

After The End (After The End #1)
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover/Own

"I have no idea what is truth and what is fiction. I'm all I've got now. I can't trust anyone."

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

Review: I didn't exactly expect the story to go the way it did but I thought it was incredibly interesting. This book was another quick read, which I like. It was easy to get into. The cover and the description kinda makes you think this book would be dystopian or have a lot of dystopia like elements. But it actually isn't. The only dystopia elements in the story all revolve around the lie of WWIII. Everything else is like our world today. I wouldn't even consider this completely sci-fi either. It honestly just has a mix of a lot of different genre elements, but its not specifically just one. 

One fun thing I found about this book, was the kids and even a few of the adults were named after cities or towns in Alaska. Juneau, Nome, Kenai, Whittier. This was clever. How better to blend in and be one with the Alaskan wilderness than to give people names of actually places in the state. 

I also like the whole connection to nature through the Yara thing, despite the fact I know a lot of people didn't like this. You know why I liked this? I made me think of Pagan religions, kind of like what it is supposed to have been based off of. In all honesty, you don't really get a lot that seems like actual Pagan religions. You either get some form of Christianity or religion is nixed altogether in most YA books. So the fact Juneau's power and connection to the Yara seemed based in Pagan religions actually really interested me. I think ideas like this should be pursued in more YA books. This also directly related to Juneau's growth throughout the book. Much like people question their faith in God, she questions her faith in the Yara and everything she's been taught. And this leads to her character growth throughout the book. 

So I liked Juneau. I can completely understand her fear, attitude and trust issues throughout this whole book. She was raised cut off from the world being told WWIII destroyed most of the world. She was made to believe her clan were lucky survivors and if there were others out there, they were enemies. She didn't grow up with technology, money, or anything like that. Once she's forced to leave her land, she discovers everything was a lie. How would you feel if you were her?? She has to be incredibly defensive to protect herself from those chasing her and to stay hidden from them. And in all honesty, she was told not to trust Miles right from the start. While I do think she was a little demanding of him, she had every reason to be defensive towards him since even he betrayed her early on, after she tells him the betrayal she just went through. That's exactly why she was being like she was. She had no one on her side! And on top of that she was thrust into a world she knew nothing about. She had to learn all about our technology while being on the run. Give the poor girl a break. She softens up towards people closer to the end. 

Miles. I didn't like him at first. He just seemed like a spoiled brat trying to get his way since daddy was punishing him. All he cared about was getting Juneau to try and win back daddies approval and get out of working to make up for his cheating in school. He was also pretty closed minded towards literally everything Juneau told him. He just immediately passed her off as being crazy or on drugs. However, he started to grow a bit on me as he started coming to the realization that more and more of the things Juneau was telling him were proving to be true. I started liking him more as he genuinely opened himself up to believing Juneau about the things she could do and what was happening. I'm incredibly happy that even after his dad manages to find Juneau, he decides to put Juneau's needs above his wants and gets her out and away at the first opportunity that presents itself. He won my approval for that. I feel so bad though about what happens to him while they are getting away. But I'm excited where this change in the story will take us in the next book! 

I still can't figure out this whole deal with Miles dad and the pharmaceutical company and what Whit has done. We learn from his dad that Juneau somehow was a part of an experiment with a drug that he's trying to get his hands on. Though Juneau genuinely has no idea about it, his dad believes differently. And Whit. Oy. We find out he was a part of the group of scientists who was working on and testing aforementioned drug. And the clan was part of those testing the drug on themselves. What I can't figure out is why it seems like Whit had the clan kidnapped and is holding them hostage pretty much. Is he trying to protect them from Miles dad or does he have ulterior motives like I'm highly suspecting. And what is so special about Juneau that makes her wanted by everyone?!?!

I also liked that this story wasn't super insta-lovey. While I do feel it moved quicker than others, it was nowhere near insta-love. And believe me. I read a book earlier this year that was 100% insta-love from like page one. So this was much better. Juneau and Miles in no way trust or even like each other in the beginning. It takes time for them to trust each other and believe in the other for them to really look at one another in a different light. It wasn't just "OMG look at that guy/girl, I love you even though I just met you a day ago." I can't wait to see the growth with this relationship in the next book. 

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