This Is Not the End
Author: Chandler Baker
Genre: YA Contemporary/Science Fiction
Release Date: August 8, 2017
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?
Praise for THIS IS NOT THE END:
"A deeply emotional supernatural thriller with the perfect romantic twist, This is Not the End will totally capture your imagination this summer." ―Brit + Co
"A stunning feat of storytelling that explores one girl's impossible decision, the depth of grief and the long-buried secrets, This Is Not The End will leave every reader's pulse in a frenzy." ―PopSugar
"When I first dove into This Is Not The End, I was not prepared for the onslaught of feels that Chandler Baker was going to send crashing down on me. I never expected to care what happened to Lake, Will, and Penny within the first few pages, but I found myself as grief stricken as Lake was when she experienced her loss. In fact, Chandler was able to tap into my emotions all the way through. The chaotic nature of Lake's emotions mirrored so many of the things I was feeling in real life at the time of reading and helped me feel like I had a much needed friend on my journey. I love the complicated nature of every relationship in This Is Not The End, it gives the book a very real feel, and keeps you constantly wondering who Lake will choose for her resurrection all the way to twist at the end. A great read for anyone looking for a chance to explore their feelings about life, death, and what happens when you get to choose who walks the path with you. " ―Shannon Brewer, BookPeople in Austin, TX
"Chandler Baker captures the intimacy of young friendship with heartbreaking accuracy in THIS IS NOT THE END. Set in a beautifully relatable future world with the technology to bring back deceased loved ones, this read was equal parts page turner and thought provoker. I genuinely had to find out the ending!" ―Melanie J. Thompson, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX
"Chandler Baker's story is almost compulsively readable, and you'll be tearing through the pages to the final twist reveal, but it's celebration of life and living along the way that makes it so powerful" ―Bustle
"The way this unique and thoughtful look at death, grief and self-discovery reveals the relationships between the characters in two alternating timelines teases you to the suspenseful outcome, GAH...that twist!" ―Justine Magazine
"The book smartly deals with grief on many levels and among all the characters. Losing two friends at and being close to the families of the deceased compounds the overwhelming sadness, grief, and guilt that Lake feels. While the author makes sure the reader does not drown in such weighty issues, Baker also does not use the resurrection technology as an easy fix concerning Lake's choice. The technology actually intensifies the questions and issues Lake must confront...a provocative, twisty story with appeal across genders and genres" ―VOYA
“Three more weeks until your great, big, epically magnificent, cowabunga awesome birthday surprise. Have any guesses?”
I feel the steady beat of his legs underneath me, kicking calmly toward shore. His broad shoulders tense and relax with each stroke.
“Does the birthday surprise have a nickname? Because that seems like a bit of a mouthful.”
“Oh, that is the nickname. That’s how awesome the surprise is.” Will doesn’t do understated. Sometimes I worry that if we ever get married, Will’s proposal will involve a large-scale choreographed dance number and singing animals, if he can swing it.
“Let’s see. Last year you took me on a helicopter ride during which I puked in a bag. The year before that you rented a party bus to take us all to see a cheesy horror-movie marathon. So, that’s land and air. I’m going to guess water this year. A boat! You’re taking me on a boat!” I squeeze him harder around the neck.
He lifts a hand and wipes water from his eyes. “I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”
“But then there’d be no one left to bring me back.” I jut out my lower lip. “I think that’d sort of defeat the whole birthday-surprise hoopla.”
“Then I guess I’d better not tell you.” He tickles the bottom of my feet. I cringe and curl my legs more tightly around him. Penny, Will, and I all have summer birthdays—Penny thinks that’s part of why we all get along so well and, as much as I scoff at her stargazing horoscope babble, she may be on to something, because all three of us could basically live on the beach, and that’s one of my favorite things about us. I mean, I’d die if Penny made us go hang out at the mall or something.
The two of them have both turned eighteen already, their birthdays are only a week apart, with Penny being the older one. Their closeness in age is why their moms are best friends. Neither Penny nor Will used their resurrections on anyone. There are rumors that a few kids in our class might be using their resurrection choices this year. Penny thinks her aunt resurrected somebody back when she and Penny’s mom were teenagers—back before the Pickering Regulations passed to control population growth by only allowing one resurrection choice on a person’s eighteenth birthday—but none of us know if it’s true or not. I don’t think I personally know anyone who’s used their choice. The thought makes my stomach clamp down on itself like a steel trap.
Because there it is. The countdown. Ticking away in the back of my brain. Just over three more weeks until my eighteenth birthday and then...
“How about a hint?” I ask, because I want to focus on the good part of my birthday, the part where I get to spend it with my two favorite people in the world. Nothing else.
“Come on, a pre-pre-birthday present.”
Will pauses. He spits some seawater from his mouth. “Your wish is my command.” And then he just stops. I feel the grin in his cheeks.
“Yes...and...?” I prod.
“That’s your hint.”
I splash him in the face, but manage to get myself in the nose just as much as I get him. The salt burns. “That’s not a hint, you cheater.”
He shrugs and readjusts my weight on his back. “Guess you’ll just have to finish the hunt to find out.”
I groan. This is so Will. “What kind of hunt?” I whine. “Are we talking treasure, Easter egg...deer?”
He laughs. “Deer? And risk the wrath of Penny?”
The sinking sun spreads golden fingers of light up to the beach. The water grows shallower and I can feel Will bouncing along on his toes to keep our heads above water. I dip a toe down, but it’s still too deep for me to stand, so I lay my cheek on Will’s warm, sunburned shoulder and close my eyes. “You know you’re not as charming as you think you are, Will Bryan,” I say with a sigh.
But really all this talk about my great, big, epically magnificent, cowabunga-awesome birthday surprise has done is get me thinking of my birthday and what it means. How I’ll have to sit alone among strangers in the waiting room, scan my fingerprints, fill out my paperwork for the resurrection, arrange for the body to be brought to the resurrection site, wring my hands while that body lies on a cold metal gurney and is injected by faceless doctors with the lifeblood,
then try to breathe while the vitalis process restores the dead cells until they’re completely undamaged. I’ve run through the steps in my mind a thousand times.
And none of this is Will’s fault. He doesn’t know what I’m planning to do on my eighteenth birthday.
One resurrection, one choice, one person, and unlike Will and Penny’s, mine is already spoken for.
Copyright © 2017 by Chandler Baker
This Is Not the End is a thought-provoking young adult novel that will appeal to readers of all genres. To be completely honest, I wasn't sure what to expect and I didn't really have high hopes of a great read. I was definitely wrong. I was immediately drawn into Lake's life and world and I felt like I was right with her during everything that happened throughout the story. She's a fantastic main character for the book. I thought she was incredibly realistic and easy to connect with - I clicked with her right from the opening sentences. She's flawed like every other person, but has a lot of great qualities as well. I loved getting to know her during the story and seeing her change and grow as things in her life progressed.
This was an intriguing story about a future that's pretty close to our own, except science has figured out how to resurrect the dead. Everyone can choose to resurrect one other person on their eighteenth birthday. Only one person, no exceptions. Take it or forfeit it. It really made me sit back and think about my own life and what I would do if given the chance/choice to resurrect someone. It doesn't sound like a huge decision, but once you start thinking about the various aspects of the situation along with important parts - it's not as simple as one might think. I liked trying to put myself in this society and figuring out what I would do in Lake's situation. The story was fresh and fascinating. I thought it did a wonderful job bridging contemporary fiction and science fiction almost seamlessly. As we find out in the book, things are never what they seem. There are always things we thought we knew, but actually had no idea what was really going on. There are always secrets and hidden part of people and their lives that we never knew existed. That's true in the story as well as in our lives. I was devouring the pages with my heart practically breaking during the entire book, seeing where one little secret led and what was ultimately going to happen with Lake. It was intense and had my feelings all over the place, which doesn't happen very often with me. I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages and fans of all genres who are open and willing to think about what would happen if science could bring someone you love back from the dead - with limitations.
You can find Chandler as the books contributor on the YouTube channel Weird Girls.
(1) Winner will receive a Copy of THIS IS NOT THE END Swag (Signed Copy and Stickers) by Chandler Baker.
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