Izzy at the End of the World

Izzy at the End of the World
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
8+
Release Date
February 21, 2023
ISBN
978-0358467779
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The Last Kids on Earth meets Margaret Peterson Haddix in this middle grade adventure about fourteen-year-old Izzy, an autistic girl surviving the end of the world who must team up with her loveable dog to uncover the hidden truth behind her family and the rest of humanity's disappearance.   

Ever since Izzy Wilder's mom died, she's wanted life to feel normal. She plays video games with her little sister, helps her grandparents around the house, and takes care of her best dog, Akka. But losing her mom is far from normal, and for Izzy, who is autistic, it feels like the end of the world.

When mysterious lights flash across the mountains outside Izzy's house one night, and suddenly everyone except her and Akka seem to have disappeared in an instant, Izzy is more alone than ever. But Izzy is a fighter and she won't lose anyone else in her family, even if it means battling terrifying gray, ugly monsters and decoding cryptic messages that seem a lot like her mom talking to her from beyond the grave.

In the face of disaster, Izzy and Akka embark on an epic adventure filled with nail-biting suspense, unexpected allies, and life's greatest mysteries as they uncover the true endurance of the human spirit and save the world.

Editor review

1 review
Blackbird, oranges, and aliens
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked:
The end-of-the-world atmosphere described by the author will immediately draw readers in. There’s purple smoke in the air, ash collects on everything and is inhaled by the characters, nothing is moving, and there are no animal sounds, not even birds and summer insects. Izzy moves through her empty house, various objects evoking past happy memories. Then, reality jerks her back to the present and reminds her she’s alone. Unanswered emergency phone calls and a lack of radio and television broadcasts force her to acknowledge there’s a high probability she’s the last living human on earth. That’s not to say other living creatures aren’t wandering her town; it’s just they all arrived with the UFL’s (unidentified flying lights) and are trying to kill her.
Izzy’s mother dies and she’s dearly missed. However, Izzy’s exploration of the house uncovers a diary that reveals her mother had past experiences with aliens that are probably connected to the invasion. The creative twist to the plot is a CD playlist created by Izzy’s mother that seems to be more than just a collection of songs. Izzy also thinks she hears her mother’s voice, smells oranges, and gets a sense that her mother is watching over her. Izzy’s family has a plan in case of emergencies but the CD may hold clues and instructions to follow when the glowing lights in the sky return. The music becomes Izzy’s guide as she begins her journey to find her missing sister and grandparents. The author expertly develops moods and feelings by deftly using adjectives that appeal to all of the senses. The color purple is important.
Truth be told, Izzy finally meets another boy her age so she has another character to accompany her. The author can’t have Izzy talking to herself and her dog Akka too long before readers lose interest. My immediate question upon Raven’s appearance is how does he survive the invasion when everyone else, except Izzy, disappears? The kids have a theory later on to explain that. Izzy has her mother’s amethyst necklace that protects her from vanishing and it also warns her of impending danger. The story includes a number of coincidences that may puzzle readers. Is it luck when Izzy finds her mother’s diary and CD hidden in a closet? What are the odds the boy’s name is Raven and the first song on the CD is Blackbird? Izzy and Raven find an overturned truck that provides them with useful, common objects just when they’re most needed. Other strange incidents occur in the library. Readers will wonder how all of these odd occurrences are happening and how everything fits together. Gotta love a mystery.
What didn’t work as well:
At times, the plot slows as the kids try to figure out what to do next. These moments allow for character development and backstories, so they add to the story while not always helping the plot move forward. The parts all work together to create an intriguing, imaginative story.
The Final Verdict:
The book is inventive and entertaining as it blends science fiction, mystery, and humanity into an emotional story. The characters are well-developed and the author delves deeply into Izzy’s thoughts and feelings. I recommend you give this book a shot.
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