Originally published: 8 July 2021
Author: Chris Whitaker
Published by: Hot Key Books
Genre: YA Fiction
Length: 355 pages
Reading dates: 16-21 December 2021
They knew the end was coming. They saw it ten years back, when it was far enough away in space and time and meaning.
The changes were gradual, and then sudden.
For Mae and her friends, it means navigating a life where action and consequence are no longer related. Where the popular are both trophies and targets. And where petty grudges turn deadlier with each passing day. So, did Abi Manton jump off the cliff or was she pushed? Her death is just the beginning of the end.
With teachers losing control of their students and themselves, and the end rushing toward all of them, it leaves everyone facing the answer to one, simple question…What would you do if you could get away with anything?
In the small English coastal town of West-on Sea, Mae discovers the body of her former friend Abi at the bottom of a cliff. Not clear if it was suicide or if she was pushed, Mae feels guilty about her death and sets out to find what happened. Coupled with this is the very real threat of an asteroid known as Selena which was discovered 10 years previously. Over the years there have been many attempts to destroy the asteroid but now it is looking extremely likely that it will hit in the very near future and life will be wiped out.
I liked the premise of The Forevers – would you behave differently if you knew you were going to die? Amazingly, as the end approaches, society is carrying on almost as normal, I guess because everyone has lived with the threat of the asteroid for so long, that they don’t believe the end is finally upon them.
The characters were brilliant. Mae has a dry sense of humour which I really liked and I love the way she cared for her blind younger sister. Her best friend Felix gives some light relief to what could be a depressing book, doing his best to declare his love to a girl at school in an attempt to loose his virginity before the end. Even the “popular” kids had some redeeming features and Whitaker does well to show the issues people live with and the secrets people keep hidden. There are lots of issues in this book including self harm, attempted suicide, rape and incest.
Despite it being set in the UK, I couldn’t get the feeling it was set in America out of my head – the warm weather and some of the kids names like Harper and Candice made me think of American teenagers. It wasn’t a problem – I also think my viewing of disaster movies over the years set in America probably contributed to this!
I absolutely loved The Forevers. The characters were memorable and there is tension and a fair few shocks along the way. A memorable read, I think adults will love this as much at their teenagers and it would make an ideal last minute Christmas present for that teenage reader in your life.
About the author:
Chris Whitaker is the award-winning author of Tall Oaks, All the Wicked Girls, We Begin at the End, and The Forevers (YA).
His debut Tall Oaks won the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award.
An instant New York Times bestseller and the #1 Indie Next Pick, We Begin at the End was a Waterstones Thriller of the Month, a Barnes & Noble Book Club Pick and a Good Morning America Buzz Pick. The novel won the CWA Gold Dagger Award, the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year, and the Ned Kelly International Award.
We Begin At The End has been translated into twenty-five languages, with screen rights going to Disney.
Chris lives in the UK with his wife and three children.