Review: Instructions For The End Of The World by Jaime Kain


Title: Instructions For The End Of The World

Author: Jaime Kain

Publication Date: December 8, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin


From the author of The Good Sister comes a gripping novel about two sisters who learn that there are things in life—love, loss, and self-discovery—that you simply can’t prepare for.

He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man—except for the one that struck. 

When Nicole Reed’s father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, it’s too much too handle for her mother, who abandons them in the middle of the night. Heading out to track her down, Nicole’s father leaves her in charge of taking care of the house and her younger sister, Izzy. For a while, Nicole is doing just fine running things on her own. But then the food begins to run out, the pipes crack, and forest fires start slowly inching their way closer every day. Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help her when she needs it most, but when she starts to develop feelings for him, feelings she knows she will never be allowed to act on once her father returns, she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow’s disasters, or will she take a chance and really start living for today?

Instructions for the End of the World is a gripping, young adult novel that explores family, friendship, and love in the midst of the most difficult and dangerous circumstances.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks to the publisher.

Instructions For The End Of The World follows the perspective of Nicole and her younger sister, Isabel, as their father decides to move their family to a house in the middle of the woods. We also read from a brief perspective from a boy, Wolf, who lives in a nearby community. Nicole and Isabel’s father’s and mother’s relationship have been on the rocks for some time now. When the Nicole’s and Isabel’s mother decides that she cannot bear to live in their new house and leaves, their father takes off in an attempt to find her and bring her home. Two teenage girls are left in the wilderness to fend for their own in a house that is falling apart.

Although Nicole is considered the main character, we do read other perspectives that provided a different feel for the story. With each perspective, there was a different tone. Nicole’s perspective was responsible, practical, and concerned, whereas Isabel’s perspective was selfish, condescending, and immature. Nicole and Isabel’s relationship isn’t very sisterly in the beginning. They are polar opposite and can’t stand each other the majority of the time. When their father leaves, Nicole’s priorities changes as does her opinions on many things. Isabel has always thought that Nicole’s complete willingness to follow their father’s every order was foolish. It isn’t until they are on their own that Isabel realizes that she has been taking some of her sister’s skills and know-how for granted.

Then there is Wolf. He has lived in a neighboring community his entire life. You can imagine his surprise when he sees an entire family pull up to a house that has been empty for many years. His initial disappoint is replaced by curiosity when he spots Nicole. Wolf is immediately intrigued and even a bit unnerved when Nicole stumbles across him in the woods with a gun in her hands. Although Nicole has scarcely interacted with boys her entire life, she is captivated by Wolf’s otherworldliness.

This story felt more like a novella than it did a novel. While I have no problem with shorter novels, I felt like this book barely told a story. This book barely scraped the surface of these characters and their stories. Most of the relationships and all the “romances” in this story did nothing for me. It was as if I had jumped into a story without much explanation and was kicked out before I finished reading. This book didn’t necessarily need to be longer, just edited. There were characters that were utterly useless and did not add anything to the story. This book had so much potential, but it fell flat. There was so much that could have added or that could have been made clear.

2 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author

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Jamie Kain grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and has since lived in too many places to count. She now calls Sacramento, California home, where she lives with her husband and three children.

The Good Sister is her debut young adult novel, and it was what you might call a labor of love, which is just a fancy way of saying it took a really long time to write and became something she was pretty obsessed with for a while. Stay tuned for details about her next young adult novel coming in 2015, Instructions for the End of the World.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and her website.


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