Author Jeff Giles certainly knows how to make an entrance. His YA debut novel, The Edge of Everything, is mildly dark with sparks of comedy that also entreat magical realism, but most of all it is a story of love. Sure, the plot is a familiar one—teen couple fall for one another and the world conspires to keep them apart, but the author cleverly inserts aspects into this situation that keep it cool and edgy.
Here’s the set-up – third person narrative follows two protagonists, 17 year-old Zoe, who’s a Montanan native dealing with the grief that comes from loss, and a young adult male who curiously gains the title of X and who just so happens (insert drum-roll) to be a bounty hunter from hell, better known as the Lowlands. If that hasn’t captured your attention, I really don’t know what will.
This story has some comparable facets to Twilight and The Mortal Instruments series, so if you’re a fan please read on, and even if you aren’t, read on anyway because I’m going to take a chance and say you probably won’t be disappointed. There are some YA tropes (inta-love, bad boy stigma, love triangle) that are used, but they are not overdone!
From Montana to the fantastical Lowlands, the world building and description is outstanding.
Zoe is presented as strong and independent and even as she is falling for X she keeps her identity. X, at first glance may seem fearsome (he is a bounty hunter from hell after all), but readers get to understand how shy, precocious, and kind he is. These two characters bring out the best qualities in one another and a relationship where partners elevate one another is something readers will want to get behind and definitely root for.
Why is this a love story and not a romance? Different relationships involving love are explored throughout the story including friends and family. The love between Zoe’s family (especially her little brother) is so charming and connective you can’t help but feel inspired. And X may not seem to have a family in a traditional sense, but his fellow occupants of the Lowlands are a kaleidoscope of community that are at times tender and humorous.
And I cannot end this review without commending the author on his inclusion of a character suffering with ADHD. This portrayal was wonderful and the explanation of the different emotions and actions that come about because of this disorder was well done.
A super-natural love story, The Edge of Everything, the first book in what is set to be a series is absolutely everything!
Review of an Advance Reader’s Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Profanity/Language: 23 religious exclamations; 25 mild obscenities; 5 religious profanities; 3 derogatory names; 28 scatological words; 20 anatomical terms. Note: The word hell is used as a place or state of mind throughout the novel; anagrams for swear words used, not tallied
Violence/Gore: Implied occurrence of violence a few times; mention of character’s wounds; characters are ordered to kill individuals for their job; implication that couple encountered a violent intruder, mention of blood; extended scene (about ½ page) character has a violent dream; pet is intentionally hit by car and injured; many threats of violence/characters feel threatened throughout novel; extended scene (about 4 pages) child and teen feel scared and threatened by an adult intruder; adult attempts to drown a pet; extended scene (about 2 pages) character witnesses a couple being attacked and killed (though this scene is not gory, it is disturbing because it involves an elderly couple and their pets); character admits to murdering; character attempts drowning another character; a few reports of characters inflicting self-harm; report of character stabbing an individual; report of past murder, mentioned a few times; report of character’s past criminal activity; character recounts being beaten as a child by different individuals; character grabs another character by the throat; extended scene (about 1 page) character attacks and beats another character leaving them to die; few times characters inflict pain on other characters as a ritualistic practice; extended scene (about 3 pages) character is tied up and beaten by crowd, injuries mentioned a few times; character punches another character; report of child’s accidental death; character accidentally hits another character; implication of violence, mention of blood; few jokes about the use of violence; character thinks about how another character may have died in a violent accident, mention of blood; character thinks it may be a possibility that another character committed suicide; news report of murder; character admits to murdering an individual; character’s inflicted injures revealed; character bites another character; character thinks about violent incident that happened in the past; report of previous murder; character slaps/punches another character; extended scene (about 2 pages) multiple characters attack/fight one another, mention of injuries.
Sex/Nudity: Female admires shirtless boyfriend; many mentions/implications that male and female characters find each other attractive; character’s friend is a lesbian and has a girlfriend, this is mentioned a few times; the word raped is used in a non-sexual way; character calls another character a pervert; few mild sexual references; few comedic flirting incidents; few brief scenes of kissing, or touching on cheek/lips/hand and hugging; adult tries groping an adult female; slang for nipple used; slang for male genitalia used few times; sexual insults made against another character; report of teens relationship and break up; character romantically daydreams about another character; attractive shirtless males mentioned a few times; mention of seeing an elderly couple being romantic with one another (kissing/touching); mention of lesbian couple cuddling and looking at attractive females on the internet; character thinks about kissing another character’s body; character writes a love letter to anther character; female takes off male’s shirt, rubbing her hand’s on his chest; male and female sleep next to one another; promise of a kiss.
Mature Subject Matter:
Killing/murdering, bounty hunting, death/loss of loved one(s), ADHD. (Note: please be aware there are brief reports of characters harming themselves/inflicting self-harm.)
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adult character smokes, leaves beer cans scattered around; adults drink; mention of drunk adults.