The End of Always

  • Pages:216
  • Publisher:Second Story Press
  • Themes:doomsday preppers, survivalist community, loss of a parent, mental health, family grief
  • Available:04/16/2024
  • Lexile:HL780L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:Z

Ever since Isobel’s mom died, her dad won’t stop preparing for the rest of the world to end—attending doomsday survivalist meetings, packing bug-out bags, and drawing up plans for a secret backyard bunker. He’s methodically stacked and stored countless packs of batteries and bottles of water in the basement. And thirty-six cans of tomato soup.
But Isobel has no interest in it. She has enough to deal with between finishing high school and trying to shield her little sister April from their dad’s increasing paranoia. She’s managing to cope—until their dad decides to move them all to Endurance Ranch, a survivalist community in the middle of nowhere. When Isobel meets Dane, the son of a hardcore prepper couple, she doesn’t feel as isolated at the ranch as she first thought. But she wants to be in control of her future. She realizes it’s going to be up to her to save her sister—and herself—from a life underground.

"Isobel, first bemused and increasingly alarmed, is a thoughtful narrator—her love for her dad is an undercurrent of everything she says, even as he disrupts any stability she finds. Motivations for the existence of a compound like this are handled with care, and the book acknowledges the validity of the residents’ worries about disaster or economic collapse. Isobel is sympathetic in how she describes the people who have chosen to be there even while she is absolutely disinterested in her own family remaining among them."
– The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This story delves into the more serious side [of prepping] - bunkers, compounds, secrecy - but it also has some very deep things to say about grief and how different people deal with it.... Seeing the different ways people react to grief is amazing, and no one is presented as entirely wrong."
– Read and Reviewed!

"This is a coming-of-age story that asks the question of how to stand up to loved ones in the name of what you believe.... Coming of age isn’t easy, especially when you’re trapped in a survivalist camp. A first purchase for readers of realistic fiction."

– School Library Journal