THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS by Jen Wilde
E-galley available on Edelweiss and NetGalley
Welcome to Webber Academy, a school for Manhattan’s elite…and for Waverly, an autistic scholarship student who is used to masking to fit in. But having both of her parents working at school and tutoring her peers for a little extra money doesn’t exactly help Waverly blend in with her classmates. So when Queen B and one of Waverly’s tutees, Caroline, has the genius idea for Waverly to trade places with her to get on the list for the glamorous annual masquerade ball, Waverly accepts the many-thousands-of-dollars entry ticket from her friend and jumps at the chance. It seems like a win for both of them—Waverly will get to see her ex-sorta-girlfriend Ash once again after Ash left town without saying goodbye, and Caroline can take the night off from being the local Webber Academy it-girl to sit back and relax.
Waverly gets all primped for the ball, trying her best to look and act as much like Caroline as she can. As she makes her way through the extravagant gowns, the rich parents with flowing champagne, and the students in her grade who don’t suspect a thing, the ball turns into anything but glass slippers and diamond-studded masks. As Waverly is running around trying to show Ash who is really behind Caroline’s mask, she finds herself lost in a secret terrifying maze filled with overwhelming sounds and bright videos. As the night gets weirder and worse, Waverly, her friends, and the rest of the partygoers learn that they are locked inside the building with a global blackout happening outside. Waverly realizes that there is more to the story than what she is seeing and being told. In order to survive the night—and maybe even the end of the world—Waverly will have to team up with some unlikely people, face her misplaced trust, and find strength and bravery to save those that she loves.
THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS is a deliciously dark and twisty suspense with a contemporary queer love story at its core. Filled with a diverse cast of fierce and unforgettable characters, this is an epic prep school thriller that tackles class, ableism, and power. Both the author and main character have autism, so the representation in the book is presented in a really honest way. Fans of ONE OF US IS LYING and HOW WE FALL APART will love this survival-of-the-richest tale with a Gossip Girl-esque setting.
2023 Books for Teens
Day’s YA Archives
2023 Adult Books for Teens