Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: At the Edge of the World by Kari Jones

Synopsis: Maddie and Ivan have been friends forever. They go to school together, surf, party, and hang out all the time. But all is not well in Ivan's world, and as control of his life slips further away from him, Maddie must decide what her role in his life really is.

Review: Kari Jones’ At the Edge of the World is a young adult book that centers on the relationship between Maddie and Ivan. Maddie lives with her parents in a house by the sea, somewhere in Canada. Her best friend, Ivan, lives next door. Ivan’s father is an alcoholic, and Ivan works to conceal the extent of his father’s addiction. As the story progresses, Maddie learns all the thing Ivan is concealing and struggles to decide how to support Ivan best – to protect his secrets or the tell for Ivan can get help.
I admire Jones for tackling a subject like how the addictions of the parents can affect the child. And she handles it well.
However this doesn’t really redeem the story from the issues.
The characters have little depth and the issues they face (other than Ivan) seem trite. For example, Maddie gets into a prestigious art school with a scholarship but complains about going. I find this ridiculous and annoying. And this is probably because I haven’t been a teenager for twenty years, and there is a reality to it. Teenagers rarely understand the blessing they have. This is a “big deal” for Maddie, as her parents want her to attend, but she resists.
The story is a slow, aside from a few moments of contrived excitement – like a shed fire and a missing parent and a big party.
One bright point is Maddie’s parents. They are two men, and I appreciate that this isn’t even mentioned as part of the story. In the tale, they are just  her parents.
Kari Jones shows promise as an author, and I expect as she writes more, the issues I have with this book will be corrected. 

Note: I received this book free through LibraryThing's Early Review Program, in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-459810-624
Year Published: 2016
Date Finished: 9-8-16
Pages: 243

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