I am still trying to figure out how to review After The End. I picked up this book because I was looking for a good dystopian but this book was not a true dystopian. It felt as if it was a mash up of different genres: dystopian, fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary. It simply did not know what type of genre it wanted to be when it grew up.
This is the story of Juneau, a teenager born and raised in a clan in the wilderness of Alaska. Juneau is raised with the belief that the people of her clan are some of the few left in the world due to the World War III that took place in 1984. Juneau is on a hunting trip when she hears a helicopter, thought to be no more due to WWIII, flying near her clan. She returns to find everyone in her clan gone, signs of struggle everywhere. That is when Juneau makes up her mind to set out on an adventure to locate her clan and bring them back. Shortly after she begins her journey, Juneau discovers that everything she was taught as a child – that the world ended with WWIII in 1984 – was a lie. Juneau has to quickly come to terms with the new world in front of her if she is to find her people.
Now that brief paragraph makes the story sound pretty good, right? Well, let me tell you a little more about what takes place and let you make up your mind. It turns out that the head of a very large and powerful pharmaceutical company has kidnapped Juneau’s people and this company believes that Juneau has the recipe for a powerful synthetic drug that can stop the aging process. You still with me? While trying to avoid capture by this company, the CEO’s son, Miles, joins the hunt to find Juneau. He is the stereotypical “bad boy” – he is suspended from high school for various bad boy reasons, which he does all for attention. He believes he will still be starting at Yale in a couple of months so the fact he is forced to work in the mail room of his dad’s company is beneath him. Miles believes that if he can find Juneau and bring her to his dad, his dad will forgive him of all his past transgressions and let him go to Yale with a clean slate. *sigh* Miles ends up locating Juneau and they team up on this crazy adventure to locate her clan all with the help of MAGIC. Juneau can apparently “commune with nature” which guides her in making all of her decisions. I’m going to stop right there. I am sure you have read enough.
This story started out with a bang and had me very interested. The more it went on and I could see this author was checking boxes off of their list on “how to write a YA story”, I checked out. When Miles found himself falling for Juneau, I was done. I struggled with Juneau’s constant innocence. In fact, it started to really wear on my nerves. I understand that she was raised to believe the world ended with the last world war, but you have found out that that was a lie so you need to get over it and adapt. There were just too many types of genres thrown in to this story: Fantasy (magic); Dystopian (end of the world); Sci-Fi (pharmaceutical company wanting miracle drug); Contemporary (two MCs instantly fall for each other). Do yourself a favor, skip this one. I am not upset that I read it but I certainly will not be picking up the second book in the series.