I received this book for free from Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.This Is Not the End by Chandler Baker
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
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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?
This is Not the End by Chandler Baker is a thought-provoking, tearful, and heart warming book all wrapped into one package. This story takes place in a time when resurrecting the dead is a thing. A person who has died can be completely restored to a healthy and flawless person again, but it comes with a clause: only on the 18th birthday can someone be granted a resurrection. You only have one day in your entire life to make this decision and you can only choose one person to bring back.
Lake Devereaux is only weeks away from turning 18 and getting to use her resurrection. Her brother, Matt, sustained a horrific spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down. It was always assumed that on her birthday she would use her wish to restore him back to health, only she and her best friend and boyfriend get in a terrible car accident that claims both of their lives, leaving Lake to decide who to bring back. I knew this was the premise going to this story but having to actually read about how gut wrenching this whole scenario is for Lake packs a mean, mean punch. I thought the book was going to be on the more sci-fi spectrum and delve into this technology and how it works but it isn’t that at all. We learn that this technology is a thing but that’s about as science fiction as it gets. This story is much more about a girl who wars with herself on what is right, what is ethical, and the repercussions from making her one and only choice.
First of all, I couldn’t imagine having the weight of a decision like this on your hands. The parents of her best friend and boyfriend are just terrible when it comes to the possibility of their child coming back in the hands of a 17-year-old. Lake’s parents are terrible too because they’ve always anticipated Lake would use her resurrection on her brother, only her brother is a complete jack ass. He has lived a miserable existence since his accident which I get, I do, but he treats Lake like she is the scum of the earth and any problem she faces should not even be mentioned. Her parents all but basically shut her out too. It just is a sucky household all around. So anyway, I thought Baker did a really good job with developing the monumental implications and ramifications of what life is like from Lake’s accident leading up to her 18th birthday. This is not a fluffy novel and I actually felt my heart breaking back and forth along with Lake’s as she struggled with her new life without the people who meant the world to her.
Lake makes an unexpected friend in Ringo who has had his fair share of hardships as well. I’ve seen a couple of reviews on Goodreads mention that while they like Ringo, they don’t like the budding relationship between the two of them. Y’all, Lake is in mourning. Her family life is whack and these two people were her everything. Now not only has she lost them both at the same time but she’s got all these people judging her and wondering who she’s going to choose. Like how on earth could you pick between your best friend and your boyfriend, especially as a teenager who thinks these people are going to be with her forever? It sucks. So of course when Ringo enters the picture as a true friend and someone who Lake can lean on, there may or may not be some feelings getting mixed up in there. I thought Baker handled this in a very realistic and tasteful way, especially given the secrets Lake discovers along the way. I liked Ringo. (where’s my girl emoji sticking her hand out to the side?)
So while you really never did get to learn how the whole resurrection thing works, Baker creates a story here that just cuts down deep leaving you wondering what you would do if you had to choose and hoping that you never have to. She also throws in a crazy plot twist that I never saw coming which then turns my own personal thought process all around again. I was intrigued by the synopsis but This is Not the End is a good emotionally driven story that caught me by surprise. Chandler Baker delivers a great, but sobering story worth reading that proves there’s more to everybody than meets the eye.
A heart breaking tale about what happens when you can only choose to bring back one of the most important people in your life. Likable main characters that despite their flaws you can’t help but emphasize with.