From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–If you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the world would end in a week, what would you do, where would you go, who would you forgive? Scientists in the 1800s began tracking the asteroid Persephone and discovered that with each century, its orbit was getting closer to Earth. Now, in spite of efforts made to send missiles into space to move it out of its destructive intersection with Earth, the impact is only a week away. Three teenagers spend their last week discovering their pasts, coming to terms with the present, and preparing for the future, or the possibility that they won't have one at all. Apocalyptic stories are all the rage these days, but this one stands out. There are no zombies, no deadly diseases, nothing to fight, and no way to win. Coutts has written a memorable novel filled with hope, love, absolution, and courage in the face of almost certain death. It will inspire readers to consider their own mortality and the profound impact they have on those who love them. It will have particular appeal to fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer's “Life As We Knew It” series (Houghton).–Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AKα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Taking a title cue from the music standard “Stand by Me,” Coutts intertwines the story of three teens from the same summer island resort as they, and the rest of the planet, stare down the end of the world. As an asteroid named Persephone hurtles toward earth, Sienna returns home from “the House,” a rehab facility she entered after a suicide attempt, just in time for her widowed father’s wedding. Elsewhere, Zan struggles to cope with the death of her beloved boyfriend 10 months prior, and Caden finds himself confronted by his long-lost father. These are stories of forgiveness, family, and—ultimately—community. Coutts’ approach to the end times is almost Zen-like in delivery; there are no scenes of rioting, looting, or chaos. Instead, readers are shown a world resigned and ready to make peace, bound together by appreciation for the time left. Amid all the gritty, revolution-ready YA dystopian fiction, this refreshing debut looks to the period just before and finds a wonderful coming together buoyed by the decency of humanity. Grades 9-12. --Courtney Jones