Cover Image: Things to do Before the End of the World

Things to do Before the End of the World

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Book source ~ Tour

It’s the end of the world. Or soon to be. There’s only so much safe air left to breathe and you’d think people would be panicking, rioting, living it up. But they aren’t. For the most part they’re just going about things, business as usual. Even though there’s less than a year left before everyone croaks. Weird, right? 

Olivia is an introverted teenager who decides it’s time to break out of her shell. A little bit. But then her long lost adventurous and confident cousin shows up from the US and Olivia suddenly wishes she could be more like Natasha. No, Olivia. You really don’t.

I received this book as part of The Write Reads tour (now long over) and had a hard time with it. I eventually just did a spotlight for the tour, but the book was lingering on my “currently reading” shelf so I decided to just finish it. While nearly all of the bloggers on the tour liked, even loved, this book, it was not for me. I could not connect with Oliva at all and I loathed Natasha as soon as she hit the pages. I was also expecting more of an apocalyptic setting, but it focuses on Olivia in London then Spain and eventually Paris as she goes about living the rest of her limited days. There’s nothing wrong with this type of narrative. Like I said, I couldn’t connect with the characters. So my rating is purely my feelings about the book and not about the writing which is actually pretty good. Don’t let my disappointment get in the way of picking this up though. You may find you love it!
Was this review helpful?
I haven’t read anything by Barr for a very long time. Things to do before the end of the world was a great reintroduction to Barr. So what would you do before the end of the world?. 9 months to make the most of your time left. 
Libby (the lead character ) an anxious, awkward teenager takes the opportunity to reach out to her cousin after the death of her uncle. Her Cousin Natasha is cool and outgoing- everything Libby believes she isn’t.
The book charts how their relationship develops and their adventures together. 
Really well written. Short punchy chapters will keep you turning the pages. Great depth of storyline. I thought I had got the storyline sussed but then Barr chucks in a curveball.

Great book. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this title in exchange for a fair and honest review**

I'm not quite sure why dystopian titles are still appealing to me considering we've been living through a pandemic for the last 18 months but at least this was a different scenario.

The scientists have discovered that the oxygen on earth is running out and given humanity an end date. Suddenly everyone wants to tick off every item on their bucket list before "The Creep" arrives. Some party, some travel (despite their being no plane travel) and some try their best to carry on as normal.

Libby is a very shy teenager who decides to take on some new challenges, such as playing Juliet to her crush's Romeo. Of course, she can't go as far as telling Zoe how she feels.

Then a long-lost cousin comes onto the scene and she encourages Libby to shake off her shyness and do everything she's dreamed of. Travel, talk to strangers, learn street magic, attend large parties in Paris... but is she all she seems and will the world really end?

Lots of twists and turns, a good story and some very well written characters to love (and hate). 

A solid 4/5
Was this review helpful?
I love Emily Barr’s writing, The One Memory of Flora Banks is one of my favourite books. I was thrilled to be accepted to read this book and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. 

The end of the world will apparently happen in 9 months and shy, socially awkward Libby decides she wants to throw all her energy into making it the best nine months of her life. Then, she meets Natasha, a long-lost cousin she didn’t know existed and as they meet up for probably the first and last time ever, something just doesn’t feel right, like Natasha is not who she says she is. All the same Libby becomes enthralled with her new friend and is sucked into her positive, manipulative energy. 

I can’t explain how much I loved this book. I could climb inside of Libby’s head, feel what she felt, experience everything as she did. She reminded me of me - anxious, always feeling on the outside of everything, not happy or comfortable with who she is. 

Natasha was actually such a terrifying character. She seemed to know all the right things to say and do, but you could always tell she had an underlying motive, that there was something darker behind her actions. I didn’t trust her one bit, but even I didn’t work out her true intentions until they were thrown into my face.  

It was also scary - a plot near to a potential future with climate change and humans not looking after the world as they should. I love how the book wasn’t revolved around that - it was about what Libby chooses to do before the end, little things that might not seem big to others but to her they were. 

The writing just drew me in. I could relate and I was dragged into the story and not let go until the very end. It was addictive and beautifully put together. 

It took me on a journey through the protagonist’s eyes. All the characters were fully fleshed out and felt like real functioning people who I could easily relate to and like and dislike. Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher, for a chance to read and review this book. I can’t wait to read more of Emily Barr’s work.
Was this review helpful?
Really good book, I enjoyed it and being part of the tour. I liked Libby and the mystery of her cousin, I could see where the story was going quite a few times but I liked that.
Was this review helpful?
This book was not what I thought it would be.
I had a hard time getting into it and almost dnf'ed it a couple of times.

But in the end it was ok, not a book I would read afain, but the characters were likeable and interesting.

Was this review helpful?
Funny, fast-paced and full of kindness. I really enjoyed this quirky book that made me think closely about what I hold dear.
Was this review helpful?
3.75 stars 
This book is a bit of an enigma, a little like the character that bursts into Olivia’s world; Natasha. It seems to be about one thing - the end of the world - but ends up being about something different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing - it depends what you are expecting. Go into this book with an open mind and you will find a classic YA tale of finding yourself and your place in the world. 

The two main characters, Olivia (Libby) and Natasha are well rounded and the fledgling relationship between them is at once transforming and unsettling. 

There is a mystery within a mystery here at the mention of a name that makes Olivia’s mother uncomfortable and trust definitely plays an important role in the plot. 

Each chapter title is a thing to do before the world ends and at the start Natasha challenges Libby to do ten things, however that became a bit throwaway at the end. 

I loved the street magic/physic hustling they did and could picture those scenes vividly. And the middle portion does feel like a more classic road trip adventure. 

There is also a f/f love story as a sub plot. The only thing I’d have maybe liked to see was Libby be more active in that relationship - and perhaps in the story overall, although the conclusion she comes to about herself was satisfying and it was nice to see acceptance of self over a complete transformation. 

The ending felt a little rushed and the mystery reveal was quite telling a little like the investigator announcing to the room who’d done it and why. 

Overall strong characterisation with a mixed plot; the end of the world aspect was more of a backdrop although I found the prospect of how the world was to end, identified in the first chapter, pretty horrifying, and that gave the entire book a fraught tone.
Was this review helpful?
It took me a while to pick up 'Things to do Before the End of the World' as I was a bit hesitant to start reading an end of the world kind of book during a pandemic but it was just what I needed. If anyone knows how to throw in a plot twist it is Emily Barr - I still constantly think about the one in Flora Banks and I think this one is going to be added to that list. 

The whole world has been told that their time is up - the human race will cease to exist by the end of September because the changes in the atmosphere will make it impossible for them to breath (what a start to a book!). Everyone deals with the news differently - some people fall into despair, some throw caution to the wind and go wild and other's pretend nothing is happening. 

Whilst all this is going on in the background, Libby is introduced to a long lost cousin that she never even knew existed. At first it seems like the best thing that could have ever happened to her - just being in her presence gives shy Libby an injection of confidence. But Natasha isn't all that she seems... 

I called it that Natasha was shifty from the start but how it all came to pass shocked me! And that ending drove me insane - WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?!  It was the best ending but infuriating all the same.
Was this review helpful?
Trigger Warnings: Alcohol, animal death, death of family member, anxiety, panic attacks, suicide (brief mention).

Emily Barr is an author who I’ve come to love over the last few years. I devoured her previous YA works and was excited to dive into her latest Things To Do Before The End of The World. From the synopsis I had a feeling that this was going to be one that I was going to relish and eat up straight away.

The concept of this story was one of huge interest to me. The thought of a story where humans had polluted the earth so much, that they only had a few months left to live was a unique notion to say the least. However, the plot certainly didn’t go the way I’d imagined. The first half didn’t feel like a YA Thriller to me, and felt very contemporary. As a YA contemporary fan, I didn’t mind this all too much, but did want something to happen sooner to bring the thriller element into it. Mind you, as soon as the thriller element set in, I was hooked! Emily Barr has this way of setting your teeth on edge with her suspenseful writing style, and my heart was racing as I read. There were a few unanswered questions at the end of the book, that I would have liked to have had the answers to, but I’m just assuming these were left unchecked for the cliffhanger like ending.

The Things To Do Before The End of The World was yet another triumph for Emily Barr. Despite the slightly slow start, I ended up hooked on this story of deceit, secrets and lies.
Was this review helpful?
I really quite enjoyed another of Emily Barr's books, The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods, which was released in 2019 and one I was approved for on Netgalley (you can check out my review for that book here) so when I spotted her new release on there I knew I had to request it.  
Things to Do Before the End of the World is a mash-up of genres. The kind of overlying theme is that the world is essentially ending pretty soon. Like in 9 months soon. Our main character Libby is a shy teenager who is struggling with her feelings for another girl at school and now has to deal with the fact that everything could be over in a matter of months. Adding to this her long lost cousin appears suddenly in her life and takes her under her wing, giving her a list of things to do before the world ends in the hopes of boosting her confidence.
So we've got a sci-fi/dystopian kind of set up, with some contemporary themes regarding the characters but with a few thriller elements thrown in for good fun as well. Somehow it does manage to work though and whilst for the majority of the story it mainly feels like a contemporary, those other elements ramp up the stakes and intrigue of the plot. The world ending debacle is definitely a background portion of this as a way to set up other parts sort of like a chain reaction but I kind of liked that it wasn't the main focus as it allowed for the plot to move forward but not overshadow anything else. I also liked the settings too, the way the story moved from Winchester to Madrid to Paris, Barr did a great job of bringing those cities to life on the page. 
Libby is an interesting character, one that I can see some people being frustrated with due to her naivete and her trusting nature. I found a lot of my teenage self in her though, her struggle to show herself to the world and her natural instinct to retreat from any kind of social scene. We also both did school plays! I wasn't overly sold on her character as I felt she was maybe a bit too subservient but by the end I was really attached and fairly protective over her. It's difficult to talk about her cousin Natasha's character without giving away spoilers so I'll just say that she definitely brought the entertainment factor to this book. It was fun to read about the two of them running around Madrid and Paris performing magic tricks for money, if only it could've stayed that way!
My main issues were with the pacing. In the first half we jump forward in time a fair bit. We go from December to July within about 100 pages, everything happening in those months goes by so quickly. Whereas in the second half we're pretty much solely in the month of August and the time period is over two or three weeks. I also felt that nothing much happens in the first three quarters of this book whilst it's setting up the characters and the relationship between Libby and Natasha, it was just dragging so much. It does redeem itself in the last quarter though as that's where things really get going and suddenly I was racing through in order to find out how it ends. It also targeted my anxiety so much, my heart was racing at the situation Libby found herself in. 
I could be persuaded to up my rating by half a star but I just didn't find myself invested in the storyline or the characters up until that last section. Barr is a great YA writer though who does a terrific job of blending contemporary with different genres and I'd be up for reading more of her work in the future as well as one of her previous books that I already own.
Was this review helpful?
Whilst I was incredibly intrigued by the summary, at first I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about Libby and the whole situation, however, before I knew it, I had devoured the entire book within two hours! I was so gripped by Libby and her cousin, Natasha, as well as whether the world would truly end on the 17th September that I just couldn’t bring myself to put it down or go to sleep until I had finished the book. 

Libby is an incredibly shy 17-year-old who has been struggling to find herself or where she belongs, and now she has the added pressure of the fact that she may only have nine months to live before ‘the Creep’ poisons the atmosphere. I liked that, although she tried to push herself out of her comfort zone when she first came to terms with ‘the Creep’, that her personality didn’t change completely. She was still shy and still struggling. This felt much more realistic and caused me to feel much more endeared to Libby. Despite this she was still trying her best to become the person that she wanted to be, so much so that when she found out she had a cousin around her age that she enlisted her help in becoming more confident. 

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Natasha from the start, there was just something ever so slightly off about her and in her interactions with Libby, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. She seemed very kind and very helpful, and although she just lost her Dad, she didn’t seem to be that affected by it. However, everyone grieves differently so it was impossible to tell what was really going on. When Libby and Natasha were finally able to meet, I loved seeing the two interact together and to see how different they both were. It was nice to see someone cheer Libby on even if I was questioning her motives a lot of the time. Libby seemed to be becoming more confident which was lovely to see. 

The mystery surrounding Natasha truly kept me gripped, the way Barr presented her was done so cleverly, in a way where you were constantly second guessing yourself. Is there more to her than we think or is she just thrilled to find family before the world ends? I also enjoyed the way that Barr tackled the subject of ‘the Creep’ – it was always there in the background, getting closer, but never completely the sole focus which lived up to its moniker. The pacing of the novel was also incredibly well done. I liked how we would miss chunks of time but still understand what happened in that time. I thought it was a great way to show how insignificant the time they have left is and how quickly it flies by, regardless of whether you are doing everything you can to ensure survival or by living the best life you can in the time that you have left. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and it had so many layers and depths to it that I wasn’t initially expecting that made it such a captivating read. It is also a great take on the current climate crisis and has the ability to really get readers to take notice of one of the many possibilities, regardless of how terrifying they might be.
Was this review helpful?
This book was vague. It did not manage to satisfy my expectations, or even live up to the title. I was completely disappointed by this book.
Was this review helpful?
It's really hard to know how to review and rate this book because it's really two books in one, one of which works better than the other. The first is a thriller, set in the heat of a European summer, a coming of age story of identity, trickery and subterfuge, the other asks the question, if you know when the world will end, what will you do with the time that remains?

Libby is shy, quiet, full of feelings she can't express, happier hanging out at home than with her peers, although she longs for the girl she loves to see the real her, when the the World Health Organisation announces that it's too late, the atmosphere is poisoned beyond compare and in a few months all humans will die. This news is so big that most people seem to be frozen in disbelief: exams go on as usual, people still go to work and little changes for Libby although she does sign up for the college play. Far more life changing is the death of an America uncle she didn't know existed and the subsequent appearance of a glamorous, confident, hypnotic cousin, Natasha, who lures Libby away from her safe home for a last summer of travel and hedonism. 

I enjoyed Libby's adventures and as always Barr gets under the skin of the adolescent psyche making Libby live and breathe. But the end of world part seemed underplayed, maybe because Libby is our narrator and like most teenagers concentrated on the here and now, and more of a distraction than an integral part of the plot which is a shame because it's an intriguing concept and one I would like to have seen brought to the forefront of this compelling book.
Was this review helpful?
Interesting premise that makes you wonder what you would do if a mass extinction was imminent. How do you live with that?
That almost gets pushed to the background though as Olivia struggles with coming out of her shell and figuring out who she wants to be.
Part buddy movie, caper and unrequited love story, it’s ultimately about self discovery.
Was this review helpful?
When I first read the synopsis for Things to Do Before the End of the World I was really excited, because it sounded amazing. I mean a thriller taking place while knowing the world would end soon? Yes, please! Unfortunately, this wasn't what I was expecting at all. It's pitched as a thriller in the synopsis, but it's not one at all.

The writing style kept me going and it was a fast read for the most part. Libby was an interesting character and my favorite part of this book was seeing her become more confident. Daring to open up her mouth and stand up for herself. Also, the development of the relationship between her and her parents was nice to see as well.

That's kind of where it ended for me though. Some aspects of this book just seemed to convenient and didn't make much sense. Also, not liking one of the characters that plays a big part of the book doesn't help the reading experience. Things to Do Before the End of the World just wasn't for me.
Was this review helpful?
This book was outside of the ‘usual’ books I read. It was an enjoyable story - with a continuing sense of doubt throughout. I had great sympathy for the main character, and I was desperate for things to ‘come right’ in the end! A great YA read with a main character that grows throughout the book.
Was this review helpful?
I’m a sucker for any sort of apocalyptic setting. Cheesy end-of-times movie? Bring it on. World ending in literature? Yes, please! That’s what immediately drew me to this book, for better or worse. The idea of potentially dark and dangerous secrets was an added bonus.

Things to Do Before the End of the World is a contemporary coming-of-age story about a shy, introverted girl who finds herself as the world is ending. It’ll leave readers with plenty of things to contemplate about how people approach the end differently.

I think this was a case of this book not being for me. I had thought the sci-fi, apocalyptic elements would play more of a role, and they didn’t. It was just kind of a convenient backdrop to set up the coming-of-age story. It’s also not much of a thriller. It’s really just a contemporary coming-of-age, and I think it holds a lot of promise for people who enjoy that genre. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much my least favorite genre, so it just didn’t work for me, which is more of a problem with me than the book.

My Thoughts:

- What would you do if the world were ending? Barr presents a series of interesting and varying approaches that will leave readers with plenty to think about. I love books that make you think, and this is no exception. Barr has such a lovely way of writing, especially deep, philosophical passages that get at the heart of the struggle. I mean, imagine finding out that you have nine months before everyone likely ceases to exist. The emotions! The turmoil! It’s absolutely delicious and delicate and precious. There were times I was frustrated with how people were handling the end times, but it’s so true to real life. Not everyone approaches it the same way, and there will always be those who refuse to admit it’s happening. Barr captures all the complex, raw, emotional aspects of facing the end of the world.

- This book is perfect for fans of coming-of-age stories. Libby really comes out of her introverted shell, and her journey is enjoyable to read. I don’t think it’s going out on a limb at all to assume that most of you reading this are introverts. At least a good portion of you? So it might be easy for you to relate to Libby and her reluctance to go to parties or travel or exist in crowds. That seems reasonable to me, at least. Throughout the book, Libby is forced to come out of her shell or go to her death carrying all sorts of regrets. Not a particularly nice choice, but also not a particularly difficult one. It was nice seeing her become more confident and growing not only into herself but into the idea that she may not have long to live.

- Despite having a depressing backdrop, this story manages to be wonderfully uplifting and ends on a perfect note. You know how I usually say I hate open endings? Well, the semi-open ending of this book is absolutely *chef’s kiss*. This is an example of it working absolutely perfect. This book is not all doom and gloom, which is pretty impressive. There are plenty of absolutely beautiful moments that really tug at your heartstrings. The world doesn’t exactly just give up and cease to function just because it’s likely going to cease to exist. People have very different philosophies, and it leads to some beautiful scenes as people struggle to make sense of it all. That’s not to say there aren’t dark moments, because there are, but the overall feeling is one of hope rather than resignation.

Sticking Points:

- The plot relies on an awful lot of conveniences, not all of which made sense to me. There were a lot of scenes where I thought, okay, but WHY did that character do that/believe that? I mean, obviously the plot required it, but I wanted more solid reasoning. This was mostly a problem in the last 25% or so of the book, where it felt like every time something new was set in motion, I didn’t understand how or why the characters had gotten there. I questioned a lot of character reactions, which made it hard for me to fully buy into all the things that happened. I wish there’d been a little more build-up around this part of the book, since this was the culminating part and it felt a bit rushed and not well justified or grounded. The plot twists were also pretty obvious from early on, which just made me wonder why it took the characters so long to reach the same realization that I had 100 pages ago.

- If the inability to have more kids is a sensitive issue for you, I would caution you about picking up this book. This may have triggers for you. Of course, it may not. It may have just been me. I still want to caution anyone to go in with a degree of caution if this might bother you. Libby really doubles down on the idea that she’s miserable about who she is, and she would definitely be a different, more capable person if only she’d grown up with a sibling. This is brought up multiple times and is a repeated mantra for Libby. Putting aside the idea that it’s just false in general (which was annoying enough for me to start with), it’s a perspective that really frustrated me and a potential trigger.
Was this review helpful?
Things to do Before The End of the World by Emily Barr is a YA dystopian thriller that I, for one couldn't put down.
A story that introduces us to Libby and the list her cousin gives her to do during the last summer that the majority of the world will see. Upon beginning the book, I had the idea it was about the end of the world, as tge story unfolds we see it isn't exactly about that. It is more about a young girl maturing and growing in confidence.
Libby and her cousin Natasha are like chalk and cheese. Libby the introvert and Natasha well, extroverted and happy go lucky are two ways to describe her. As they get together and Natasha amost manipulates Libby into situations the reader (or me) can see Natasha has an agenda that Libby doesn't realise. Libby just feels she needs to be confident and Natasha is doing her best to help. Well, what can I say I could see it a mile of with Natasha but poor Libby, all she wanted was to connect so she took her cousin for face value and ignored the warning signs. My heart went out to her, Natasha I did not like one bit! The characters were fabulously developed with the shy Libby and outgoing Natasha. They both stood out and had their own voices...although I wished Natasha was a bit quieter! 
The ending of the world gave the novel that tense edge, would they survive or not? I enjoyed the story and will be letting my daughter read it also, seeing as it is YA too. 
Massive thanks to The Write Reads for giving me a spot in this fab tour. It has been an honour, also NetGalley for the copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
Things To Do Before the End of The World was my first Emily Barr novel, but I have been eying The Girl Who Came Out of The Woods for a while and after finishing this book I am excited to try out the author’s other novels!

Before The End of The World is a strange novel, where you go in expecting one thing and come out with a different novel. Ultimately, this is a coming of age novel, where the end of the world is the main point, it’s what you decide to do with your limited time you have on the world, and honestly it’s kind of heart-breaking but so intriguing to see what the protagonist of this novels does with her remaining year left on Earth.

Olivia is a painfully relatable character, as we start off the book with her sharing her dislike of for parties and interacting with people and just feeling awkward in most situations. Right from the bat, I really liked her as a character because she was very real, with the terror of being at the end of the world, but she ends up carrying on with college and trying to work up the college to talk to her long time crush. But over the course of the story, Olivia tries more when she is introduced to her a long-lost cousin Natasha, who is overly confident and instantly befriends Olivia. Soon, she is trying more and being more confident, and she fully becomes her own by the end. It is not perfect but she is a very normal character and realises the times she messes up and the need to be brave especially when we learn more about who Natasha really is.

The book really makes you think, especially as we are in a unique situation now with being in a Pandemic, that we as a reader will look into our own lives, taking pleasures and the joy of life where we can whilst also planning for all the fun and adventurous stuff we want to do when it is safe to do so. I loved the combination of having such a thought-provoking novel combined with something that grips you fervently because you have no idea what actually is going on.

Who is Natasha?

What are these deep, dark secrets? And why will no one tell Olivia about them?

And what is going to happen to Olivia in the end?
Was this review helpful?