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The End of Everything

The End of EverythingThe End of Everything by Megan Abbott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I read DARE ME last year, I was so blown away by it that I immediately knew Megan Abbott was an author I was going to keep reading. THE END OF EVERYTHING is just as exquisite a novel as DARE ME. The prose is more or less a thirteen-year-old girl’s stream of consciousness as she assumes the role of amateur detective to find out what happened to her best friend, who has mysteriously disappeared. Abbott takes you deep inside Lizzie’s head, a place of unending questions and only half-understood answers, where her curiosity about (and yearning to be a part of) the world of grownups leads her to take an overly romantic and at times even mystical approach to all things sexual, which may not be for the best. There are twists a plenty, and a satisfying resolution to the central mystery, but at its heart the novel is about yearning for things you don’t fully understand, whether it’s the innocent attention of a neighboring father or the not-so-innocent attention of someone in the throes of a dangerous obsession. In many ways it’s also about the desperation of the young to be older than they are, to be accepted as more than they are. It’s a coming of age story that uses the loss of emotional and psychological innocence to let Lizzie finally see beneath the surface of things. The answers she seeks are terrible and life-changing, the truth about her friend devastating in its revelation of banal psychopathy, but Lizzie can’t let it go. Because if those answers spell the end of Lizzie and Evie’s epic, earth-shattering friendship, then it’s the end of everything. To Abbott’s credit as a writer — and boy is she a great writer — she makes you feel every turn of the screw. She puts you so deep inside Lizzie’s head that, upon finishing the book, I couldn’t help but feel her absence. This novel is something is something special, and this author is one to keep reading.

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