Thursday, 24 November 2011

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

You may have already read my review of the above book over at but it's worth repeating for all you lovely peeps here at May Contain Nuts.

This is - despite the cover - what were they thinking!?! - one of my favourite reads of the year so far and I suspect will make it in to the top 10 of most reviewers faves for 2011. If it doesn't, I'll eat my hair.

Anyway, what's the script? The blurby bit say this ...

"Lizzie and Evie are inseparable. They walk home from school together, have sleepovers at each other’s houses, even tease boys together. Most importantly, they have no secrets from each other.
Or at least, that’s what Lizzie thinks – until Evie goes missing and suddenly Lizzie is questioning everything she ever thought about her best friend."

Michael says this ...

There are books you rip through. There are books you savour by the page and run your hand lightly across the cover with wonder each time you set it aside, safely, for the next time. Megan Abbott has conjured up one of the latter.

The experiences of a teenage girl are far removed from those of a man approaching (cough) middle-age. Therefore I initially questioned my ability to engage and empathise with a novel narrated from the viewpoint of such a child, but thankfully I quickly set aside any misconceptions I might have had. From the first page; the first sentence, Abbott had me.

The End of Everything is a book about sisters, fathers and daughters, family and friendships, truths dripping reluctantly from the owner, but more than that, it’s a book about two young girls on the verge of discovering the confusing and heady power of their gender.

Megan Abbott has done something few of us can dream of. She’s taken everything we know about noir fiction and re-framed it in a world almost alien to the genre. She has imbued it with a command and grace that compels while meeting our expectation of entering the dark and forbidding places of the human psyche.
Each character is drawn with care and given breath with just a few well-chosen words and the prose has a dream-like, captivating quality you can’t fail to fall in love with.

This is quite frankly, wonderful stuff and I am in awe of this writer’s skill. A modern classic. Go buy it. Like, now.


  1. Sounds like a good book Michael. And I probably wouldn't have picked it up as the cover is rubbish. Reminds me of those books I used to read as a teenager.

  2. Cheers, Ricky.

    Sarah, the marketing pitch on the review copy suggests the publishers are going for the readers of The Lovely Bones etc - trying to bring her to the attention of the masses. Which is no bad thing, but as you say, the cover is rubbish. Can't imagine Megan would have been happy with it. The US cover was much more atmospheric.

  3. yep, thanks to all the horrid writers of equally horrid YA novels, I also tend not to read anything about teens, but I like your review, Michael, this might be something different.

  4. it is, very much so, Dez. It isn't really YA, nor is it really crime. It's a damn fine piece of writing.