Instructions for the End of the World | Jamie Kain

Friday, September 2, 2016

Instructions for the End of the World Book
I love to read Young Adult Fiction. Though I'm almost thirty now, I feel like I can still identify with the characters, and I like to pretend like I am in that alternate universe where I have no real responsibilities and can just make decisions on the fly.

I recently finished reading Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain. It's set in the modern-day southwestern U.S., and is told from the point of view of a young woman named Nicole, her sister Izzy, and a local boy named "Wolf."

Nicole and Izzy's dad is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, and is the author of a self-published book called "It's the End of the World as We Know It" - the ultimate guide for doomsday preppers like himself. He has taught his daughters and wife everything they need to know to survive almost every natural disaster, political upheaval and manmade catastrophe imaginable.

 As Nicole, Izzy, and their parents make the 10-hour trek from southern California to the foothills of the Sierra Mountains to live in an abandoned house, the drive is silent. It's obvious their mother doesn't want to be moving from her suburban homestead, and the tension is thick. When they arrive and begin unpacking, it's no surprise to the reader when the mother decides to leave everything and everyone to pursue her own dreams -- the surprise is that the father leaves his daughters to fend for themselves while he goes off hunting for his estranged wife. As a parent myself, I must confess these characters really made me angry. How irresponsible!

While their parents are gone, the girls must feed themselves, clean and finish unpacking, pay bills, and more. When a boy from the neighboring 'hippie commune' shows up and Nicole begins to fall in love with him, I felt like the story took a typical young adult romance story plotline:

  • boy observes girl
  • boy meets girl
  • girl thinks about boy
  • boy and girl become friends
  • things get serious
  • boy and girl have a fight
  • boy and girl are estranged
  • boy saves girl from some sort of issue
  • boy and girl are in love 
  • book ends
With that being said, however, Kain's story satisfied my expectations and rose slightly above. The book was well-written and tied up all loose ends by the final page. Overall, I'd give it three out of five stars.