Review: On The Edge of Gone

Posted May 4, 2016

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: On The Edge of Gone On The Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
Published by Amulet, Abrams on 8th March 2016
Genres: YA, Dystopian
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher

January 29, 2035. That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one.

Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But everyone on the ship has been chosen because of their usefulness. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

It’s the end of the world as we know it. A comet is headed for Earth and those who managed to get a spot on a ship leaving Earth, whether through money, essential skills or via a lottery have long left the planet.  Denise and her mother need to leave the flat to make it to their allocated shelter before impact. Except Denise’s sister Iris isn’t here, and her drug addict mother wants to wait a bit longer before they leave.

Denise is autistic. Dealing with the end of the world is hard enough without these unexpected changes to their survival plans. Eventually Denise persuades her mother that they have to leave, but they are going to be cutting it fine to make it to safety. And where is Iris? Is she safe?

As they make their way along the deserted streets of Amsterdam they happen across a couple in need and stop to help them. It turns out that the couple is Denise’s former teacher Els and her partner who has broken her leg. Their shelter is nearby and though Denise and her Mum won’t be named on the list, Els reckons they will take them in temporarily for the impending impact. So they head off together in the car.

It transpires that their shelter is a private one, and moreover it’s a cloaked ship, the Nassau, preparing for launch at Schipol airport.

As the comet hits, Denise and her mother find temporary shelter aboard the Nassau, but it’s been made very clear that they can’t eat their food, use their water or stay. They are to leave as soon as it’s safe to do so and are sworn to absolute secrecy regarding the ship.

Denise makes it her mission to get a spot on the Nassau for herself and her family. But Iris is missing and her mother is high. She faces a race against time and a battle through what is left of the Earth to make it happen.

This was a really interesting read. It’s not just a dystopian, it’s a hugely diverse dystopian and I really enjoyed it.

I found it refreshing to read a book where the diversity element isn’t the main focus. This is a dystopian novel about the end of the world and it just so happens to have an autistic central character, a drug addict and LGBT themes. Personally, I feel this is the way books should be!

I found the post-comet world really interesting. Encompassed in the story are the technical aspects of what life could/would be like after a comet impact and genuinely the repercussions aren’t things I’ve ever considered!

Exploring the end of the world through Denise’s character was fascinating. Even although the world has been turned upside down, Denise still has to deal with her autism. She has to push through barriers to talk to strangers, deal with them touching her, not knowing about her requirements, lose her normal scheduling, contend with her food issues. It was a really interesting way to educate the reader about autism without being a book that jumps up and down about discussing the issue. Does that make sense? It wasn’t centre stage but it was a large part of the story; it’s who Denise is.

Likewise, the mother’s drug addiction was part and parcel of the story, but it educated too – not only allowing us to see from the point of view of her daughters but also how she was perceived by others.

Without spoilers, this book also touched upon LGBT issues. It wasn’t done in a dramatic way, but again as part of the story, exactly as I feel it should be.

I have nothing but praise for Duyvis and the manner in which she undertook this book. It’s a gripping dystopian and the diversity within its pages made me enjoy it all the more.