Grief is a powerful thing. For Charlotte and her sister, Maddi, the loss of their mom comes as a shock and a crippling blow. Especially once they start coming to terms with what really happened to their mom before she died. Charlotte can’t believe that this is her new reality: her mom is gone and her dad is acting like he doesn’t even miss her. In fact, almost everyone around Charlotte seems to be in the process of moving on, while she can’t quite get past the circumstances surrounding her beloved mom’s passing.
Charlotte and Maddi have a close sisterly bond that has withstood this tragedy so far, but something inside Charlotte is waking up, telling her that there’s more going on than meets the eye. Then, with almost perfect timing, Charlotte becomes friends with an eccentric girl from school who reveals she may know what really happened to their mom. Having isolated herself for several months, Charlotte is wary of cultivating a new friendship; however, she and Maddi can’t turn down the opportunity to learn more about their mom.
As It Will End Like This goes on, Charlotte seems to become more and more of an unreliable narrator. It’s hard to tell what she is perceiving as reality versus what is actually happening. In fact, maybe Charlotte has made the whole thing up, it’s hard to say.
Though this book deals with some heavy stuff, it was a fast-paced read, and I was uncertain on how this book would conclude up until the very last pages.
Review of a Digital Advanced Reading Copy from Random House Children’s Group
Profanity/Language: 9 religious exclamations; 13 mild obscenities; 21 derogatory names; 34 scatological words; 3 anatomical terms; 52 F-Word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: A reference is made to a rhyme about Lizzie Borden; a minor has a thought about using a knife to hurt herself or others; a minor wakes up to a creepy figure covered in blood telling her that her mother has died; a report is made of a woman found on the beach not breathing; a brief mention is made of a woman having a miscarriage- this is referred to several times throughout the book; a minor briefly thinks about what her mother might look like dead; a minor makes a report that her mom’s ex used to hit her mom; a brief scene occurs where a minor finds animal poison and wonders if it was used to poison her mom; a brief scene occurs where a minor is upset at her mother’s funeral and grabs her boyfriend by his tie and screams at him; a brief mention is made of a minor having nightmares that contain people dying and bones and blood; a girl reports that she believes her mom was murdered; a minor thinks about death in several brief scenes; a minor is mentioned to think about someone she hates being chopped up or strangled; a brief scene occurs where a minor slaps her dad’s girlfriend; a minor recalls a memory of her mom having a miscarriage and briefly describes that there was blood and her mother in a panic; a scene occurs where a minor realizes her sister is covered in blood and that there is blood all over inside their house, upon walking around the house she sees more blood and realizes that a parent and their friend have died gruesomely, some brief description of what she saw is given; a brief scene occurs where a minor gets into a fight with their friend and scratches them, hits them, draws blood, and continues physically attacking them until someone intervenes.
Sex/Nudity: A minor mentions that her dad and the young housekeeper/assistant are having an affair and probably were even when her mother was still living; a minor walks in on her dad kissing the housekeeper he is having an affair with and it is mentioned that he has his hand on her bare stomach; a reference is made to adults sleeping together; sex is referred to in a brief conversation; a minor girl mentions that a boy sent her an inappropriate picture on her phone; minors kiss in a brief scene; several references to cheating are made; a minor and her boyfriend embrace and kiss; a reference is made to a man being hot; a minor is mentioned to realize that her friend is sexually involved with her ex.
Mature Subject Matter:
Losing a loved one; miscarriage; depression; mental illness; suicide; murder; extra-marital affair.
A minor is mentioned to try their first cigarette; a minor is described vaping; a minor mentions their mom smoking and drinking wine; minors are offered alcohol; adults are described as being drunk; an adult is referred to as an alcoholic; minors are mentioned to smoke weed and smell like weed; illegal drugs are mentioned to be obtained for partying; a minor is described to be rolling joints; drug addiction is referred to; a mother is mentioned to give her minor daughter some champagne; an adult woman is mentioned to have abused drugs and alcohol before she died.