Things to do Before the End of The World

Emily Barr

1. Live your best life.
2. Uncover family secrets.
3. Trust no one

One minute you’re walking in the park, hiding from a party. Then you discover that the next nine months will probably be your last. Everyone’s last. You realise that you happen to be alive at the time when your species becomes extinct.

You have to decide whether to go with it meekly like you usually do, or to do something brave, to live your last months with all the energy and bravery you can muster, to rage against the dying of the light.

Olivia struggles to live her real life as fully as she wants to. She plans out conversations and events in her head but actually doing them and interacting with other people is hard. When the news breaks that humans have done such damage to the earth that there’s only nine months of safe air left everybody makes bucket lists and starts living their best lives – everyone, that is, but Olivia who is still struggling to figure out who she wants to be.

Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know exsisted. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more. And as the girls meet up for their last summer on earth, Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having a effect on her.

But what if Natasha isn’t everything she first appears to be . . .

When The Write Reads Tours offered me a sneak peek of Things to do Before the End of The World, I knew I had to take a big step out of my Middle Grade comfort zone – and wow…I am so glad I did – what a book!

I walked home. I kept hearing footsteps behind me, but every time I turned around, no one was there.

This dramatic coming-of-age, psychological thriller is set against the dystopian backdrop of an impending ‘end of days’ environmental catastrophe nicknamed ‘The Creep.’ As the Permafrost melts away and the earth rapidly heats up to searing temperatures, so does the plot as we watch our protagonist Olivia become totally intoxicated with cousin Natasha’s heady charisma, confidence and charm.

Natasha has the ability to push Olivia way out of her comfort zone and make her do things she never imagined she could – from hustling tourists with street magic, reading palms and setting her dare-like ‘tasks’ to complete, in a bid to bring her out of herself.

But a sinister side of Natasha starts to emerge – controlling… manipulative and there is no way she could know some of the details she does about Olivia’s family…

Travel is central to the book and from a slow burning start in Winchester, the story rapidly shifts up through the gears as Natsha’s character gets deeper and deeper under Olivia’s skin. After a smouldering stay in Spain the plotline reaches a break-neck, pace when the girls travel to Paris for an adrenaline-fuelled final part of the book. As the ‘End Times’ creep closer, so does the feeling of unease in the pit of your stomach around Natasha. Only days remain until the cataclysmic event and there’s an explosion of twists, turns and revelations of dramatic proportions – the feeling of sheer panic is palpable in more ways than one!

Unfortunately I can no longer categorise myself as a Young Adult, but Emily Barr transported me back to 17 year old me, enjoying my first taste of independence on a holiday abroad with a friend. The sun, the crushes, the parties teamed with the imminent end of the world and dark psychological undertones make this the perfect teen summer binge-read.

Things to Do has whetted my appetite to read more of Barr’s novels and Young Adult in general.

About the Author

Emily Barr

I started out working as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. I managed, somehow, to get commissioned to go travelling for a year, and came home with the beginnings of a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, a thriller which won the WH Smith New Talent Award, and I have since written eleven more novels for adults, one novella, and three book for Young Adults, published in the UK and around the world. I live in Cornwall with my husband Craig and our children.





Things to do Before the End of the World is published by Penguin on 13th May.

With thanks to Penguin & The Write Reads for my advanced copy of the book and inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

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