Book Talk: This is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang

Book Talk: This is Where The World Ends by Amy ZhangThis Is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 22, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Also by this author: Falling Into Place
Format: ARC
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Janie and Micah have been friends since they were young — but mostly in secret and especially at their high school where they act like they don’t even know each other. They are mostly opposites in every way but their secret always just seemed to work and was always an adventure. But then something happens one night and Micah can’t remember anything surrounding the night of a party and Janie won’t answer his texts or calls as he struggles to remember and put the pieces together while the cops keep asking him questions.


a4Have you ever finished a book and legitimately not know whether you liked it or not?? That’s how I feel with this one. Amy Zhang’s debut, Falling Into Place, was a book I raaaaaved and raved about the year it was published and I was so excited to see what Amy Zhang would do next.

 The beautiful, poetic writing that dazzles was present in This Is Where The World Ends as it was in her debut and I really appreciated again how she constructs these beautiful passages and thought-provoking sentences. I actually liked the storytelling with the before and after to unravel this story. I thought it was effective.

But I have to say that I didn’t find the complexity in the characters, which was a strong point in her debut, as much in this one. I found Janie to be intriguing enough and my heart ached for Janie in so many ways. She was a free spirit and I loved that she knew she was a bit of a manicpixiedreamgirl. But I felt like I didn’t really understand her before the event that leads to this night that Micah can’t remember. After I totally understand why things spiral out of control for her but before I didn’t understand her and I wonder if there was some unstated mental health issues underlying. Micah was a little bit of a flat character to me — sure, most of the time he couldn’t remember much of anything but I didn’t really get a good sense of who he was even in the before sections. He just followed Janie like a lost puppy for the most part.

I felt such emotions for them throughout the story– for Janie with what happens to her and for Micah when he starts to remember what happened and put it together. But it didn’t hit me in any sort of meaningful way by the end. I also felt like this book was charging forward to this climax but the ending sort of fell flat. I don’t know if it’s because it was fairly evident of what happened or it just kind of ended.

The biggest thing about this book was the toxic friendship — they have been best friends but secret friends and Janie is so manipulative. I’m ALWAYS a fan of toxic friendships but this one didn’t compel me the way others have. I honestly didn’t GET their friendship — even from early on. I didn’t get why they were friends. We just had to believe that they had this long-standing connection as the reader. I mean, maybe that was the point…we couldn’t get it because I’m sure at times Micah didn’t even get why they were still friends — he gets to that point where he doesn’t get why he puts up with her crap. But I just never FELT that intricacy I find in so many other toxic, unhealthy friendship stories.



factors+ gorgeous writing, the non-lineal storytelling compelling me to read, the plot in theory,
–  no real connections or lasting feelings, lackluster ending

Should you read it? I don’t want to say no because I’m so confused on how I feel but you have to enjoy toxic friendships and not always likeable characters (which I do but this just didn’t hit me like others have). You should DEFINITELY read Falling Into Place if you haven’t.

Should you buy it or borrow it? A solid borrow for me!

a5fans of Amy Zhang’s writing in her debut novel or gorgeous prose in general, fans of toxic friendship books, people who are into a mishmash of Looking For Alaska/Thirteen Reasons Why/We Were Liars/Paper Towns,

a8Ultimately This Is Where The World Ends didn’t ever take off for me which is super disappointing considering how much I loved her debut. The gorgeous, dog-earable prose is here and as always her storytelling is compelling but I just wasn’t connecting much in a lasting way — bits of emotions here and there but not very impactful for me.



a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?



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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. The review made it sound kind of interesting, but I just don’t fancy reading about a toxic friendship, so I think I shall stay away from it.

  2. I received this book unsolicited and I’m really not sure if I want to read it or not. I never read the author’s debut because I’m not really a contemp fan but I have heard great things. I am not a fan of toxic friendships so this doesn’t really seem up my alley. Wonderful review Jamie!

    • Yeah, it’s really sad because I SOOOO rec her debut (it does have toxic friendships and people in it though) but this just was lacking in so many ways for me :(( Might be a good one to skip for you if you aren’t a huge contemp fan anyways!

  3. I just reviewed this one and have similar feelings. The writing is just sooo beautiful, but there was just something off for me in the story. I still liked it though! But didn’t love it.

    • YES! “off” is such a good way of putting it. Like it hung there in the SO close to tipping over into something brilliant but it never made it there! I wonder if I had such high expectations too because of how much I loved her first book! Have you read that one?

  4. I haven’t really heard a lot about this book, so I can’t say whether or not I want to read it. I do know that if I do read This is Where the World Ends, I want to read it after reading Amy’s debut, which has been on my TBR for a while now.

    I like the idea of this book – the whole secret friends thing – but I’m not too sold on the mystery. Oh well. I might put it on hold at the library. I’m interested enough now.

    • Omg yessss read Falling Into Place for sure! And I think that’s a good plan…librarying it! it’s a quick enough read that even if you don’t love it no biggie! I mean, even when I was reading it I wasn’t actively disliking it…it was just like I wasn’t love it/I was waiting for something to pull it together like A HA! YES! But I will be very curious to see what you think!! Let me know when you get to it! Would love to discuss with someone!!

  5. Hey Jamie,

    I am still champing at the bit for Amy Zhang’s debut. I read a sample just before it was released and it feels like it’s totally my thing. I haven’t read it yet though.

    I’m not sure how I feel about This is Where the World Ends though. I don’t get why, I just have a it’s-not’s-for-me feeling about it, but I can’t specify what in the blurb is giving me that, maybe-not feeling. Who knows? I love three out of the four books you mentioned are like it though (We Were Liars, Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska). And I’ve read Paper Towns but it wasn’t my favourite. I have issues with Margo!

    I think I’ll pick this one up if I see it in the library and read the first chapter or something.

    • It’s SOOOOO amazing. I hope you get to it though!!

      And I love ALL those books I mentioned and I just still don’t get why this was a miss — but it has vibes from those books but didn’t quite get me to how I felt about those.

      I’ll be curious if you end up reading it how you feel about it! It was just such a strange read for me because I really didn’t know much how I felt because I just felt really indifferent and like it was SO CLOSE to being something great but just fell flat from it.

      • I know what you mean, I had the same feeling with Adi Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost.

        I’ll let you know when I’ve read some Amy Zhang 🙂 Currently the library doesn’t have her books, but I’ll see if they’ll buy it in. I absolutely can’t buy more books, my shelves are stuffed and starting to vomit literature into the rest of my flat, haha!

  6. Hey,
    Well i cannot say i LOOOOVED this book -Because i didn’t, but i really liked it. I seriously do not understand why EVERYONE says Micah felt like a flat character, because yeah he didn’t have much of a personality but there are people in the real world who are EXACTLY like him, flat persons who follows other person because that’s the only thing they know what to do. I loved Jamie, she was a free spirit, and i loved that about her, even if she just praised herself that much in her mind. And i could totally understand what led her to do what she did, maybe even by that point she wasn’t that much sane at all, ’cause i feel after what happened with her mother and the other guy (which i don’t remember his name) she just went down through a spiral of madness that led to the end.

    Overall it was a good read to me, maybe it’s just not the type of book everyone’s going to enjoy