Friday, February 23, 2018

This is Not the End, by Chandler Baker

When you turn eighteen in this alternate reality drama, you receive a one-time opportunity to resurrect someone.  Only one person and only on your birthday.  Since her brother’s accident, which left him crippled, Lake has known what she was supposed to do.  She promised to resurrect her brother so he would be whole.  Despite the fact that he’s become mean and bitter, she’s been willing to uphold her promise.

That is, until the day that she survives a car accident but loses her best friend and her boyfriend.  Now, her choice has become more complicated.  Does she honor her promise to her brother (and her family) or does she pick one of her friends?  And if one of them, should it be or best friend or her boyfriend?  And in this decision, friendships are shattered and families divided.  Unable to find decent counsel, Lake finds herself turning to an outsider, a boy with only a fleeting connection to her life, but whose own life offers lessons for hers.

An intriguing (if somewhat implausible) premise that raises many ethical questions.  Baker’s heart isn’t really into those questions and the novel drags when she goes through the motions of exploring them.  The far more interesting parts of the book are spent on Lake’s journey towards acceptance of death.  This subject may or may not interest adolescents but it is the sort of thing that is an interesting topic for others – how youth processes death.

Much of the rest of the novel is predictable, but Baker throws in a serious twist in the last fifty pages that picked up the consequences and turns out to be pretty catastrophic for the storyline.  Much of the earlier conflict in the story gets sidelined.  The most glaring example of this is the sudden pacification between brother and sister that provided much of the interesting drive to the story.

No comments: