Title: This is Where the World Ends
Author: Amy Zhang
Release Date: March 22, 2016
“Miracles do not belong to religions. Miracles belong to the desperate, which is why every religion, every philosophy, and most importantly, every fairy tale always has a moment of salvation, a eureka, an enlightenment. We are all chasing and chasing tails, running and running in circles, until a wolf or the witch or the stepmother jumps out and trips us, and we fall flat, splat, and we lie bare and bleeding and breathless and finally, finally look and see whatever it is—salvation or eureka or enlightenment or a hunter or prince or a glass slipper—in front of us. And that’s what miracles are. Not solutions, but catalysts. Not answers, but chances.”
**Trigger warnings for book: rape, suicide, toxic relationships**
This book is a fantastic. I was so enthralled by the characters, story, and emotion that radiated off the pages. It was whimsical and lyrical while also being grounded and earnest. This book is truly captivating. But, it’s also incredibly divisive and I know MANY people do not like this book.
Things I Liked
Holy hell did I LOVE all of the characters. Janie is a larger-than-life girl in love with fairy tales and metaphors. Micah is an unfocused follower in love with apocalypses and Janie. The characters journey progress in beautiful and heartbreaking ways as we see their dynamic unfold. Both characters are flawed beyond belief and must deal with their own tragedies – their own personal apocalypses – as they navigate a disrupted fairytale.
Janie and Micah’s relationship is TOXIC and it is clearly stated as such by multiple characters in the story. Their relationship is not glorified or set as a standard to look to. That being said, they had one of the most complex and engaging relationships I have read in a while. I don’t even think I can give it justice trying to put my thoughts down. Janie burns so bright and Micah just wants to be in her orbit. That’s why he agrees to keeping their friendship secret and help her with all of her ninja-vigilante missions – righting the small wrongs in their world. Micah is so consumed by Janie and she is so manipulative. He would do anything for her, hoping for just a little more than she is willing, or able, to give. When Janie needs Micah to be more than her follower and push her to confront her own struggles – he doesn’t. Because that’s not his role. Janie loves Micah because he’ll go along with her and doesn’t make her confront something that she doesn’t want to and Micah loves Janie for not forcing him to try to be more than a follower. They don’t bring out the best in each other and don’t help each other grow or overcome any difficulties. That stagnation is so heartbreaking when action NEEDS to happen.
I loved SO MUCH about the writing. I loved the Then/Now format, told from Janie and Micah POV respectively. It created two stories that flowed and battled each other – weaving together and drifting apart, like Janie and Micah themselves. Janie’s journal entries really showcased her emotions in the story. We see them transition from happy fairy tales to grim resignation. I loved Janie’s journey as a whole and I felt that she took some of her agency back at the end of the story, before everything became even more tagic. I also loved the use of metaphors, they sort of acted as a character in themselves.
QUOTES: SO MANY AMAZING QUOTES. Some of my favorites:
“Miracles do not belong to fairy tales. Miracles belong to the desperate, because only the desperate believe in bullsiht.”
“That’s the truth, I guess. We don’t catch moments in the passing – we don’t catch them at all. We just reach and scramble and wish for fairy godmothers and Prince Charmings. It’s too bad none of it is real. It really is too bad.”
“I used to think that destiny was fluid, because isn’t that the point of every Disney movie and Saturday-morning cartoon? You make your own choices. You decide how life goes. I always thought that your fate line would change if something happened, bam, something goes wrong and the line on your palm goes all wonky to reflect that. Nope. It still looks fine. Well, fuck you too, fate.”
Things I Didn’t Like
Ruined the name Ander for me.
This is not a happy-feel-good book. It’s raw and emotional and eloquent. Because of the subject matter and writing style this is a very divisive book, and you might not like it. I’ve read books with similar premises and couldn’t even finish them, but I think that the story and the characters were worth it for me personally.The book breathes, the words flow, and the characters come to life. I already know this will be one of my favorite reads of the year.