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on 9 March 2016
I’m sure most people have wondered how they’d fare if the world “ended”. I know I have – I’m not a particularly courageous person, nor am I made of heroine material. I wouldn’t lead people, or inspire them, or even be particularly good at surviving. Those stories always seem too epic and grandiose to get a sense of what’s happening at a smaller scale, at a personal level – I mean, how many of us would really be a Katniss Everdeen?

But not this book. “Over the Edge of Gone” gives us such a good look at this small corner of the world, at the story of just one girl and those around her. It’s the story of how Denise reacts to a comet hitting Earth and what happens afterwards – her own personal perspective, opinions, reactions. It takes a worldwide catastrophe and explores what makes us human, the gritty details, our own sense of worth, how we relate to each other, what is right and wrong, if there’s even a way to measure that in times of extreme crisis.

The plot, pacing, and conflict are great. There were times I was clutching at my Kindle and felt my heart racing as I worried about the characters, how the urgency of it all made me be there with them, running, hiding, fearing for their lives. Even when there’s no actual action, just the situation the characters are in, the decisions they need to take, make you anxious on their behalf. The way the story is told, from Denise’s perspective, makes everything so much more relatable and immediate. I couldn’t put the book down, I had to know what happened, I was so immersed in the story. The world-building, the way you are given glances of how society has changed in these 20 years, and specially how the world has transformed after the comet hits makes it all so real and raw. So chilling, and yet so tangible.

But this book specially thrives on the relationships between the characters, how their fears and wishes affect those around them. How people come together – or not – when crisis hits so close to home. How they react and how everyone has their reasons and is their own person despite what is happening around them. There’s a cast of such diverse, complex, and distinct characters, and they all have their own stories, their own reasoning. I never once felt they were hollow or under-developed, and there were always several layers to who they were, what they did.

I also want to point out that the main character is autistic. Neurodiversity is so rare in SFF these days, and this felt so well done. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but for me it felt immensely authentic and genuine. After all, this is a #OwnVoices book, a term the author herself coined (go check it out if you don’t know what it is!).

This is definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time, and that I’ll throw at everyone who listens to me. Besides being a great example of diversity, it is also an amazing addition to a quieter type of science-fiction, one more focused on the characters and their struggles. I can’t wait what Corinne Duyvis will give us next.
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on 8 April 2016
This book is superb! I bought it based partly on the story and partly on the basis of it having an autistic girl as the protagonist, which is unfortunately unusual. I identified with Denise so much - I'm autistic and this is pretty much the first time I've ever read a book featuring another autistic girl or woman. The story is gripping - read the whole book in 4 or 5 hours because I couldn't put it down! - and harrowing. I would 100% recommend this to anyone.
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on 21 April 2016
Great story, really good writing and a genuine insight into one form of autism (I have a little boy on whom we are waiting diagnosis). Not a good book because of the background just a really well written engaging book
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on 20 February 2017
On the Edge of Gone is an exciting, fast paced Dystopian/Apocalyptic story, with a huge amount of diversity and unique characters, set in Amsterdam in 2035. The main protagonist is Denise, a sixteen year old mixed race Autistic girl; born to a white Dutch mother and black Surinamese father. The story starts just minutes before a devastating comet is about to hit earth, people are rushing to underground shelters and “Generation ships”, hoping to flee the terrible consequences of the comet strike. Denise and her mother are running late getting to the shelter they have been assigned to. During their last ditch dash towards their shelter, they come across a couple who offer Denise and her mother the opportunity to board one of the last Generation Ships still on earth. The story then takes us through Denise’s daily struggles to secure a permanent place on the ship, locate her missing sister, help survivors who are hungry or injured, help keep her drug-addicted mother out of trouble and deal with the day to day difficulties she faces as an Autistic person.

With the story being based in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas, I found some of the locations in the book very familiar to me. I was especially transfixed when a group was scavenging the ruined Schiphol Airport (the main Airport in Amsterdam), as I have been there many times and could truly recreate the scenes in my mind’s eye.

On the Edge of Gone is one of the most diverse books I have ever read and it was a real feat for the author Corinne Duyvis to manage to include so many varied characters, yet still keep everything relevant. There were people of different sexual orientations, a Transgender person, a host of differing disabilities and characters of various faiths and religions. This truly mixed bag of characters really added another interesting and unique addition to this brilliant story.

Overall I found this book riveting from start to finish; utterly un-put-down-able!
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on 31 July 2016
On the Edge of Gone follows a teenage girl called Denise living in Amsterdam on the day a comet is due to hit Earth. Denise, her mother and her sister are due to go to a temporary shelter for safety but her mother is making them late, and her sister Iris is nowhere to be seen. Derbise and her mother end up on a generation ship - a ship scheduled to leave Earth in a number of days for another planet similar to Earth - and stay during the initial comet hit. But Denise wants to stay and starts trying to figure it out.

I really enjoyed this book for the most art and the strongest bit about the book was that Denise was autistic. I thought Denise being autistic was portrayed really, really well throughout the entirety gf the book - from the way she had to do certain things like scratching her seat belt to calm down to her downright aversion to being touched by anyone, even her own mother and sister. I loved following her as she tried to overcome her disability while trying to figure out a way her and her family could survive and become a part of the ship - she really had character growth from the way she was able to stand up to people like Anke to going off and looking for Irish by herself. I also liked seeing other people's reactions to Denise's autism from people suddenly being nicer, or some people like the Captain's brother not believing her cause it didn't fit into his idea of autism. I also like how it was mentioned a couple of times that Iris was trans but there was never a big deal made of it and like Denise said, unless it was said, no-one would guess anyway.

I had to take off a couple of stars for this book as it did get a little boring around the middle. The plot seemed to slow down and I felt like I was reading Denise do the same thig over and over again. I wasn't totally crazy about the ending. It wasn't bad by any means but it didn't give me any wow feelings. I also would have liked to have seen a bit more character development from her mom as well.
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on 4 November 2016
A fantastic book. This book tells the story of an apocalyptic event and its aftermath but from the perspective of an autistic girl. Not only that but this girl has to not only look out for herself but her junkie mother too. Not only that but she manages to get them both on the last escape ship off the planet. She is battling her autistic demons, trying to stop her mother from getting them kicked off the ship, and trying to find her sister in the dark, flooded debris of the post-apocalyptic event. It is such a good story, written so well by the autistic author, giving a unique insight and a great read too. I can't praise this too highly and I was lucky enough to read this from my library.
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on 1 May 2016
This is a fantastic book. The story is set during a global catastrophe and it really catches the emotional impact of the event and the difficult decisions that have to be made about limited resources afterwards. It really goes straight for the heart in a number of places.

The book also does amazingly well from a diversity point of view. The main character is autistic and, since the author is also autistic, this representation feels genuine rather than stereotyped. The world is also populated by people of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, body types, etc. It makes the impact of the story really hit home because it feels like this is an event that affects everyone on the planet.

I have no hesitation about recommending this book. Just make sure you have your tissues to hand for the more emotional parts.
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on 12 April 2017
Was recommended this book through social media and I wasn't disappointed. It was a fantastically immersive read and the characters were fantastic.
Loved every page of it, couldn't put it down.
The inclusion of trans, queer and autistic characters made this book a joy to read. It's nice to finally find a book reflecting my own life and social circle.
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on 14 September 2016
Book Review
Title: On the Edge of Gone
Author: Corinne Duyvis
Genre: Dystopian/Family/Thriller
Rating: ****
Review: The beginning of the novel set the scene for a high octane, action packing survival novel. The opening pages definitely succeeded in gripping my attention as a reader. I was really intrigued by the premise of this novel as I have read several dystopian books where Earth has been hit with nuclear bombs, or destroyed by global warming but never one where a comet has been involved. Due to her mother’s drug addiction Denise ends up waiting around for her sister; Iris who may or may not be dead instead of heading to the shelter. They also stop to help a few neighbours – at this point Denise wants to scream at her mother to not stop and drive faster. As luck would have it the passengers they pick up are getting on a generation ship – a spaceship designed to support life. But they are only beginning allowed to stay for two days. Although the comet strikes late it does strike and the clock begins to count down for Denise and her mother until they are alone in the desolate wasteland that was once their home. It is a bit unsettling to learn Denise is autistic and doesn’t cope well with change, it is also really disturbing to learn that Denise knows when they leave the ship she will be on her own to find her sister as her mother’s addiction will take her over eventually.
As Denise learns most about life on board the ship and how its passengers were selected, she wants nothing more than to stay despite the fact her sister is still out there because she knows Earth means death, she evens goes as far to offer one of the senior personnel drugs in exchange for passage which obviously doesn’t work. Despite the situation in which our main characters find themselves I didn’t really connect with Denise or her mother. I felt Denise was too indecisive and that may be due to her autism but I just didn’t feel that spark to route for her. After being kicked off the ship Denise doesn’t want to be stuck in a shelter but she also doesn’t want to be stuck on the surface, she also wants to find Iris but be on the ship at the same time it made her feel like a child who couldn’t make decisions on her own that she always needs someone to do it for her or tell her what to do. Although I did empathise with her over her mother’s addiction and how she attempts to deal with it.
I loved the setting in the book I have read many dystopian novels set in America, Australia and a few in the UK but never one set in Holland with Amsterdam as a vital location within the novel as that is where Denise and her mother will be heading to find Iris if she isn’t at the temporary shelter where they should have been in the first place. It isn’t until this point in the novel that we find out that Denise is black which actually makes me like this story more as I loved novel that I diverse and I find ethnic characters make the overall book more interesting. As Denise raids the airport with other kids from the ship in the hope of getting back on the ship a tsunami heads toward even though they are miles inland. The Captain puts the ship into lockdown and locks the group out in blind panic they try to get back on the ship via the emergency shuttle dock which is the only entrance unaffected by the lockdown. Denise being autistic literally saves her life as she went back to gather the others before the tsunami hits grants her passage aboard the ship although her mother still has to leave. Amid the disaster Denise is trying to find out how to gain passage for another her sister when she finds her although she isn’t that worried about her mother as she is on the path to destruction and she becomes a person the ship cannot afford to waste its energy or supplies on.
After Denise checks on her mother, she uses the raft Max made her to go to her old apartment to see if Iris returned there. On route she is hit by a water scooter piloted by another survivor after they clean up her wounds she trades the food, water and drugs in their safe for the water scooter. She promises to return it and help them but she has no real intention of doing as she needs to look out for herself if she is going to survive. Coupled with all this she is trying to control her autism so it doesn’t get in the way of the necessary things she must do. As she acclimatizes to life aboard the ship Denise begins working on how to get her family higher up the waiting list so she can get her sister and mother on board the ship again. Although her mother asks the impossible by asking Denise to smuggle her on board claiming she is lonely but Denise knows she’s in withdrawal – Denise refuses. Denise begins to use her autism as an advantage but helping in sorting the damaged and spoiled food from the good in the aftermath of the tsunami. The book at this point is slowing down a little for the initial powerhouse of an opening half.
By complete chance Denise finds Iris while looking for the missing food barrels. When they return to the ship Denise tells the Captain Iris found the barrel which she did and she is granted passage on the ship. Immediately after Denise fills Iris in on what is going on Iris wants to smuggle their mother on board despite the fact it could get all three of them kicked off and left for dead with only days till the ships launch. I also have a feeling Iris is more impulsive that Denise and may cause some trouble for Denise and even damage her standing on the ship. Now with only a few days to the ships’ launch the tension and suspense is being ramped up in preparation for the novels finale. Meanwhile their mother is still getting high and putting herself in danger of hypothermia and well as infection whether she will survive to see the launch or be on it remains to be seen. I particularly liked how close Denise and Els get, Els is Denise’s former teacher and they gel wonderfully as she is put to use and taught to thrive within the ship’s environment. Denise also finds it easy to talk to Els about her mother, sister and her autism and how it affects and changes her personally. I also liked that there is minimal stigma around Denise’s illness and how no one treats her any different, they even appear to be more respectful of her things and her personal space because she was able to tell them about it, minimizing the amount of uncomfortable situation Denise used to find herself in when she made eye contact or when people touched her. I loved how family and survival are the major themes in this novel and they are two things you don’t particularly see in this particular combination. I didn’t like the parents both being absent – one because of drugs, the other is halfway around the world – I really wished Denise and Iris could have had at least their father there to look out for them and to give them the guidance they sorely need at times.
After Denise and Iris smuggle their mother on board they are caught by Anke who agrees to keep her mouth shut in exchange for the girls going to rescue and smuggle her 6 month old niece on board. They are all taking a massive risk in doing do but the girls agree because they have no other choice. The ship is also being searched for a thief although it is unknown what was stolen. Denise becomes increasingly anxious that their mother will be found and they will all be left to rot and she is also debating whether she made the right choice bringing her mother aboard when Denise is unsure herself whether her mother can stay clean longer enough for the ship to be launched in 4 days’ time. Denise rides to the shelter Anke directed her to only to find out that Anke’s sister and the baby niece left days before. The people in the shelter terrify Denise but the leader there agrees not to say anything about this ship because they won’t let them on board anyway. Denise feels extremely panicked because Anke may talk if she doesn’t arrive back with her niece putting all their safety at risk as well as their places aboard the ship. As we come into the last section of the book things begin to really heat up, after Denise returns from the shelter she blackmails Anke into keeping quiet about their mother as the girls have video evidence that proves Anke was trying to smuggle her niece on so if they get kicked off so does she, neither is happy with the arrangement but they only have to keep it for a couple more days until the ship takes off. Denise becomes more and more anxious and paranoid with more searches of the ship and the threats bouncing between Anke and Iris. Max is also draw into the situation as Anke is his mother, meaning his position on this ship is also compromised along with the position of his entire family. This drive a small wedge between Denise and Max between she manages to explain in her own way she doesn’t want Anke thrown off the ship she just wants her mother on it which Max happens to agree with.
Another dramatic twist is that Iris is transgender and was born a boy but she also turns out to be the theft smuggling barrels of the ship for survivors who plans to wait on Earth until the surface is inhabitable again. Both the girls are basically imprisoned in a room while their mother they presume is safe on board or off they do not know. The ship is launching in one day and neither Denise nor Iris know whether they are going to be on it or not. In the last 30 pages of this novel are mainly about the ships take off and Denise’s decision to stay aboard because she knows herself and it is where she can be of most use. I absolutely loved the ending of this book it was heart-breaking but in a good way and it leaves the perfect opening for a sequel. I can wait to discover more by this author as I loved the writing style and the way the characters were written. Overall I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a heart-warming book that will fill up with hope and admiration from the first page until the last.
This book was sent to me for review by Abrams & Chronicle
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on 29 October 2016
Very interesting and clever ideas. Well written. I really liked the main character. Unique and captivating plot. Completely recommend it to all.
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