A dark and intense story of sexual awakening and complex relationships
Thirteen year olds Lizzie and Evie are true best friends. They do everything together and tell each other everything. But when Evie goes missing, Lizzie realises she doesn’t know quite as much about her friend as she thought.
As the police search for Evie, Lizzie sets out to discover what has happened to her friend. Piece by piece she uncovers clues that led her, and the police, to discover the truth. But, as Lizzie discovers, actions are not always as clear-cut as they might appear. And emotions can be even more complicated.
The story is told through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Lizzie. She’s at an awkward age, emerging from childhood to be a teenager, and beset with changing hormones and confusing emotions. This makes her a rather unreliable narrator, and also leads her to make some strange choices, which had me cringing and willing her to not to.
As events unfold, Lizzie experiences them through a veil of naivety. Whilst at times this is endearing, it is also frequently uncomfortable if not downright disturbing, especially as she begins to equate the likely abduction of her friend with romantic love.
It’s a dark coming of age tale, and as Lizzie learns to survive without her best friend, the storyline of Evie’s disappearance entwines with Lizzie’s adolescent desires. This touches on Lizzie’s body consciousness, her appraisal of the relationships of those around her, and focuses on her escalating infatuation with her missing friends father. This, and the intensely intimate relationship between Evie’s father and her older sister, makes for particularly disturbing reading.
The End of Everything tackles gritty, complex themes. It’s beautifully crafted, and at times thought provoking, but for me it lacked the emotional kick I’d expected of a book tackling these subjects. That said, my need to find out what happened to Evie made me keep turning the pages right to the end.