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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innocence Lost
Lizzie and Evie have been friends their entire lives. They share everything, from clothes to sports to thoughts and secrets. They have carved out places in sports, equaling the boys on that playing field.

Now, at 13, everything is changing. They watch Evie's 16 year old sister as she blossoms into a beautiful and feminine being, and her effect on the males in...
Published on June 29, 2011 by McGuffy Ann

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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Written, But Not The Book For Me
Lizzie was the last person to see her best friend, Evie Verver. For thirteen years the two had been inseparable, but now Evie was gone. The only clue was the maroon car Lizzie had seen right before she left Evie to go shopping with her mom. When the police were not able to locate her, Lizzie began her own search to find out where Evie may have been taken. However, as...
Published on August 13, 2011 by Melissa


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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Written, But Not The Book For Me, August 13, 2011
This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
Lizzie was the last person to see her best friend, Evie Verver. For thirteen years the two had been inseparable, but now Evie was gone. The only clue was the maroon car Lizzie had seen right before she left Evie to go shopping with her mom. When the police were not able to locate her, Lizzie began her own search to find out where Evie may have been taken. However, as Lizzie dug deeper, she began to realize the friend she thought she knew was someone quite different. In a dark and rather disturbing novel, The End of Everything is brilliantly written, but difficult to read.

Had I realized what this book was going to be about and how it was written, I would not have picked it up. It's a good book, but right now I just want to read something light and fluffy to wipe away the images that were left behind by this story. It's sad, disturbing, and not at all what I was expecting. Instead of a novel that revolves around solving a crime, it's told by thirteen year old Lizzie and is very much a loss of innocence book. I was not prepared to dive into a world of romanticized pedophilia or teenage sexuality. It's not that these issues were glorified, but they're there none the less and not something I was expecting or prepared to read.

This is an exceptionally well written book. Abbott has a great ability to create vivid images and evoke strong emotions. She does a nice job of setting the atmosphere and capturing the mind of a child who knows much, but really doesn't know anything. However, it's her writing talents that are also a detriment. It's hard to read a story where the thirteen year old narrator was seeing the kidnapper as possessing a great love for the child he's taken. Nor was it comfortable to read many of Lizzie's recollections with Evie, as many of them had sexual overtones. There was a strong realistic element to this story, but it wasn't something I wanted to read.

Even though I would have liked for Abbott to have left some innocence in the story, I am glad that she allowed the reader to be disgusted by the characters and their warped relationships. It would have been easy to tell the reader what they should think, but instead she lets them take the events and feel the sickness of these characters for themselves. I don't need a happily ever after ending, but there is a part of me that wishes there was a glimmer of hope in this story.

I feel much the same way about The End Of Everything as I do Lord Of The Flies. There is a terrible sadness for children when they lose their innocence; when the world and life they know is suddenly shattered and they realize things will never return to where they were before. While I think this is a brilliantly written book, I wish I hadn't read it. This is not a book for everyone.

Review title provided courtesy of Little, Brown, & Company.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innocence Lost, June 29, 2011
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McGuffy Ann (The Great Lakes, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
Lizzie and Evie have been friends their entire lives. They share everything, from clothes to sports to thoughts and secrets. They have carved out places in sports, equaling the boys on that playing field.

Now, at 13, everything is changing. They watch Evie's 16 year old sister as she blossoms into a beautiful and feminine being, and her effect on the males in the neighborhood. The boys, other kids, adults, families, or perhaps it is their perception, their awareness that is changing.

Lizzie realizes that Evie is changing, as she herself is, too. Their discussions and secrets have taken on new tones, new topics. When Evie disappears suddenly, Lizzie still feels the connection and a responsibility to find her friend. Her bond with Evie's family gives her strength, but is also a source of mixed comfort and pain.

Lizzie has many revelations and grows up in unexpected ways in Evie's absence. She realizes things about Evie, herself, and the ways of the world. These things drive her to find Evie, but they also put an end to many things that she felt, believed, and thought she knew.

Megan Abbott has written a book that explores the frightening dark side of adolescence, regarding sexuality and what is the end of innocence. The truth is that when we lose our innocence, we lose our childhood.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something Strange in the Verver Household, November 25, 2011
This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
I started off really enjoying the book;I'm very fond of adult books with teenage narrators, and I like Abbott's writing. However, about halfway through,the book began to feel a bit creepy, especially in the depiction of the Verver family dynamics--and of Mr. Verver in particular.I know that Lizzie was hungry for a strong, male role model,and in her hero-worship of Mr. Verver, she was looking for ways to bask in the glow of his full attention. When Evie first disappeared, it was natural for Lizzie to cooperate with the police and to be at the Verver's house to give any help that she could.As the situation continued,it looked to me as if Mr. Verver was leaning on Lizzie..or perhaps courting her.I didn't really like her late night lawn chair conversations with him, and I didn't like Lizzie spending so much time with him, down in the basement, setting up for Dusty's substitute "prom." I would think that Lizzie's mother might have found this friendship to be somewhat troubling or inappropriate, but she just compliments her daughter on being so sensitive to their neighbors, All of it's a bit ironic.
The early conversations between Dusty and her father (especially the ones about boys and dating)also seemed inappropriate--more like a flirtatious exchange between peers(boy and girl)than an affectionately teasing father-daughter conversation. When you add in the fact that Mrs. Verver(who had supposedly once been sexy and attractive)was now a shadowy character, somewhat irrelevant to her husband and daughters,I think that it paints a picture of an off-kilter family. I don't know if there was any kind of sexual contact between Dusty and her father (although I think that the book's conclusion might be suggesting that), but it seemed to me that Dusty had replaced her mother in her father's affections and that Evie was just an also-ran- loved, but not treasured in the same way that Dusty was. Dusty's strange behavior after Evie's disappearance (going off to her grandmother for weeks at a time, avoiding her father)suggests that she was uncomfortable being around her parents. Was Evie's decision to explore a male-female relationship the result of jealousy over her sister and father's closeness? Was it a way of her dealing with her own "crush" on her father? (He was forbidden to her so she needed a substitute,)I'm not sure what to make of it all.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars creepy and a little too real, August 1, 2011
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This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
Replete with Daddy issues and twisted sibling rivalry, this novel has an insidiously disturbing effect that creeps up on you long after you think a particular plot point has been resolved. It's not so much the horrible events of this novel that will haunt you, but rather the horrible character defects and petty jealousies that allow them to happen. I recommend this novel if you like really dark psychological suspense.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abbott steps up her game., June 27, 2011
This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
After writing solidly stylish noir for several books, Abbott at last turns her attention to the thriller genre. Boy, does she ever. Eschewing the gore and clubs to beat the reader over the head that prevail in so many modern thrillers, the author takes readers on an inventive and psychological exploration of the beautiful & complex family who live next door to pubescent Lizzie. Lizzie is Evie's best friend, "body-close" as Abbott describes them, so when Evie disappears, Lizzie believes she knows Evie --and Evie's family-- so well that she can solve the mystery of her friend's disappearance. But as Lizzie pieces together memories and clues she begins to wonder if maybe Evie didn't just disappear. Maybe she went away. And Lizzie, all unknowing, maybe Lizzie, too, knows more about it than she realized.

Written with elegance, finesse, and restraint, Abbott has penned a poignant, painfully honest coming-of-age tale against the shadowy and suspenseful backdrop of family dynamics.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, But a Tired Theme, October 12, 2011
This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
It seems I am in the midst of reading book after book in which teenage girls are overly sexualized and grown men are simply unable to resist their lanky youthfulness. In so many current novels, this coltish beauty of young girls is tarnished, with constant phrases about how tan their skin is and how long and thin their bodies, it actually becomes disturbing. This book made me feel uncomfortable, but not in a way that a great book will do to me. This tired theme of ugliness lurking behind bushes in suburbia is old hat. This concept that all males are predatory is overdone. This book relies too much on stereotypes - give me something new.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The End of Everything, October 11, 2011
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This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
There were parts that seemed rather boring but then maybe describing 12-13 year old's thoughts and ways of thinking can be that way. The happy times of this time of life were never very convincing. I sure hope that most 12-13 year old's don't think like the ones in this story. Yet the author was extremely descriptive on many levels of that time when passing from child to teenager. The end of the book tied things together so that you understood what and why most of the individuals behaved as they did. This story is really about a disfunctional family that leaves you feeling sick, sexual abuse on many levels, hormones beginning to explode yet still that little child within, mystery and crime. Honestly I wanted the book to end but I couldn't just stop reading it. Hows that for dysfunction on my part? I don't think I would be interested in another book written by this author.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fulsome?, August 11, 2011
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This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
Many others have synopsized the book, which is intriguing and a good read. I disagree, however, with the reviewers who say the author perfectly captures the voice of a 13-year-old girl. There is often a shift into a perspective that could only be an adult's. That is the major flaw of the book. For example, how many 13-year-old girls use words such as "fulsome"?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting tale that is hard to put down, July 21, 2011
This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
I finished this book and then let out a long sigh of air. I think I had been holding my breath as I read the ending. I so enjoyed reading every minute of this book. I had to force myself to savor the story because I felt myself wanting to read as fast as I could to discover they mystery of what happened to Evie.
This is a tale of two inseparable 13 year old friends. They share everything, including their secrets. Until one day Evie disappears and Lizzie is left behind to piece together what really happened. Running through darkened neighborhood streets at night, looking for clues, tormented by dreams of her friend. Slowly Lizzie begins to realize that she and Evie may not have shared all their secrets. Some may be too dark to be voiced aloud.
Mixed into the drama is Mr. Verver who is Evie's dad. Before Evie's disappearance, he charmed the attention of both Evie and her older sister, Dusty, as well as Lizzie. All three girls idolized and adored him. Once Evie disappers, Dusty finds that her dad now is focused only on Evie. It is apparent that the two sisters are not very fond of each other, and we are left wondering why. As the novel moves along, we are slowly given bits and pieces of the puzzle.
The writing is both haunting and riveting. I loved the way the story was told in bits and pieces and from Lizzie's point of view. I finished the book, but will be thinking about this story for a while. A very hard book to put down!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TOUR DE FORCE OF TEENAGE POINT OF VIEW, July 21, 2011
This review is from: The End of Everything: A Novel (Hardcover)
"I don't pretend to know the hearts of women." Mr. Verver said that once. . . .

---

Told from the point of view of 13-year-old Lizzie Hood, Megan Abbott's The End of EVERYTHING is what I would call a tour de force of point of view. More than that, it tells a gut-wrenching story.

Someone kidnaps Lizzie's next door neighbor and best friend, Evie. Lizzie's observations, along with the lies she concocts, lead to the person. But the story doesn't have a happy ending.

This is not the "end of summer" (or some other season). This is The End of EVERYTHING. Everyone's life changes. The three young women in the story--Lizzie, Evie, and Evie's sister Dusty--learn things about themselves that they will live with forever.

This story is so honest about Lizzie's feelings and actions that I sometimes found the story hard to read.

Back when I was reading "classics," I used to think that most writers had to write at least one "coming-of-age" book. Some coming-of-age books were a way to reconcile the volcanous emotions of the teen and preteen years. To Kill a Mockingbird fits that description. Other coming-of-age books were of a different sort--i.e. Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Now I've come to think that coming-of-age books are a sort of genre of their own. They tell a special story. The End of EVERYTHING adds significantly to the coming-of-age genre.

Only a talented and sensitive young woman could have written this book. Some men have written mystery novels from the point of view of preteen or early teen young women, but none of those books I've read is as compelling as this book is.

So, in case you haven't been able to tell by now, I loved this book. I recommend it.
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The End of Everything: A Novel
The End of Everything: A Novel by Megan E. Abbott (Hardcover - July 7, 2011)
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