cover image Instructions for the End of the World

Instructions for the End of the World

Jamie Kain. St. Martin’s Griffin, $18.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250-04786-1

Kain follows The Good Sister with another story of sisters—one dutiful, one rebellious—stuck in a family that is falling apart. Nicole and Isabel’s father is an obsessive survivalist who drags the whole family to live in an abandoned house in the woods and makes 16-year-old Nicole hunt game for dinner. When the girls’ mother can’t take it anymore, she drives off, their father goes after her, and the girls are left alone to fend for themselves with little money, no transportation, and dwindling resources. With the help of Wolf, an intriguing boy who lives at a nearby commune, Nicole and Isabel fight to survive in a crumbling house and learn to rely on each other. Kain gives Nicole, Isabel, and Wolf strong narrative voices, though occasional passages from the perspective of Laurel (a friend of Wolf) feel out of place. The novel shines when Kain probes the destructive tensions and jealousies that can arise between siblings, and the ways in which families dissemble and find ways to mend. Ages 13–up. Agent: Annelise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Dec.)