This Is Not The End By Chandler Baker

I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can’t move on?”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Meaghan here again with another review! This time it’s another ARC Allison and I received at ALA, and read together a few days ago!

First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.

Stars (Out of 10): 4/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I had high hopes for this book, really high hopes. A book about resurrection and a difficult choice? There are tons of way to draw excellent meaning and philosophical ponderings from that. I hoped for a book that would make me think, make me feel, but it almost felt like this book took the easy way out for the plot. (I’ll explain why down in spoilers.)

The Good: Ohhhh boy what a twist guys. What a twist! Also, Lake stood up for herself. I loved that. But alas, a gasp-inducing twist and a usually great main character cannot raise this book past two stars when it is riddled with annoying cliches and stinging disappointment.

The Bad: Cliches and disappointments^. Additionally, every adult was bad, and Lake had no one to turn to but new guy Ringo (shocking!) I’m sorry, but the romance was just unnecessary. I loved Ringo as a character, he was great, but the timing of it all was off. Also, while I liked the ending, the beginning and middle were eh, and I found myself reaching for Schwab’s “A Gathering of Shadows” often, kinda wishing I had devoted myself first to that book, rather than this one.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

The Plot/The Characters (My ranting got a bit mixed so I’m just combining the categories this time): Why, for a character to move on from a relationship, death, etc., do the people that the main character is leaving behind need to be revealed as being worse than the character thought? Why did Will and Penny need to be secretly the exact opposite of what Lake thought they were? The whole secretly loving/texting each other behind Lake’s back ruined the given perception of them. Will didn’t want to be like his cheating and leaving father… but he chose to continue the relationship with Lake knowing he loved Penny more? (Or, since he doesn’t want to leave, why would he go through with the hidden relationship with Penny? Knowing that’s how his father got in the whole mess.) And Penny the entire time was painted as the perfect saint, a sweet angel, the nicest girl in the world, but then suddenly the truth comes out and she was going around behind Lake’s back the whole time? Yes, Lake wasn’t the best person for necessarily “taking” Will, but wasn’t Will super receptive of it anyways? It just made me feel that there was a shadow over the entire best friendship between the three, and this legendary trio we’re supposed to mourn and feel for was never actually positive and healthy in the first place. This is where I felt the author took the easy path. Rather than making Lake come to a decision that making the best of the hand dealt her on her own accords, and with her still being able to love her friends, it turned the friendship into something darker.  I feel too much of Lake’s decision instead stemmed from the fact that even if she brought back one of them, the relationship wouldn’t be the same because she knew the truth now of the true relationship between Penny and Will, and just her probably wouldn’t be enough to make only one of that pair happy when their heart was truly with the one still dead. However, I loved the twist, and did not see it coming at all, although the only thing that really was affected by it was Lake’s perception of her brother, who did a total 180.

Honestly, had the story just been about the ethics of resurrection and in finding peace and happiness in the shitty hand that life had dealt you, I probably would’ve loved it. I would’ve loved the meaning drawn from the story, rather than focusing on a random relationship and the destruction of something that was not golden, but gilded.

The Favorite Character: Ringo, even if I felt his role in the entire novel was irrelevant.

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