Monday, August 22, 2016

Audiobook Review: The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Pub. Date: July 7th, 2011
Length: 8 hours, 31 minutes

Genres: YA / Mystery / Crime Drama / Suspense / Fiction


Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Hood and her next-door neighbor Evie Verver are inseparable, best friends who swap clothes, bathing suits, and field-hockey sticks and between whom-presumably-there are no secrets. Then one afternoon, Evie disappears, and as a rabid, giddy panic spreads through the balmy suburban community, everyone turns to Lizzie for answers. Was Evie unhappy, troubled, or upset? Had she mentioned being followed? Would she have gotten into the car of a stranger?

Compelled by curiosity, Lizzie takes up her own furtive pursuit of the truth. Haunted by dreams of her lost friend and titillated by her own new power at the center of the disappearance, Lizzie uncovers secret after secret and begins to wonder if she knew anything at all about her best friend.

What Did I Think About the Story?

I've never been a  huge fan of Young Adult novels, but when this Kindle/Audiobook combo went on sale I thought it sounded like an interesting enough audiobook to give a go on my commute to work. I've become quite a sucker for a good mystery, and the promise of finding out what really happened to Evie and what these characters could possibly be hiding was a huge draw. I'm glad to say the story provided me with hours of entertainment, as well as an interesting coming-of-age tale that I wasn't quite expecting.

I think the "big mystery" surrounding what really happened to Evie and the effects her disappearance has on everyone around her - especially Lizzie - and it's aftermath was well done if somewhat underwhelming from what I was expecting. It kept me listening as I was pretty sure what was unfolding was not the whole truth. Lizzie herself was such an interesting character, not only because the story is told from her point of view but because her growth outshines everything else for me, including Evie. This girl, who's in that awkward point in life when you're not really a girl but not yet a woman, thinks she knows so much about life but really knows so little and ends up making some horrific choices that change everything, all in the name of doing what she thinks is right for her best friend. I found it so sad to see Lizzie's magical illusions about her friend and her friend's family fall apart once she discovers the truth. Her innocence seems to disappear before the reader's eyes, and as everyone knows you can't un-know what you learn. This end of innocence ends up happening for more characters than just Lizzie, but it's Lizzie's struggle in growing up and facing the truths before her that I really enjoyed.  

The other big aspect that I enjoyed was the narrator herself. For me, a huge part of really enjoying an audiobook is the voice and talent of the narrator (or narrators if you're lucky enough to get more than one). The narrator of The End of Everything was phenomenal (Emily Bauer), having the perfect voice to represent a girl in her early teens. Beyond her ability to make me believe she was this young girl, she did an excellent job of keeping up a constant urgency and tension in her voice, making me feel like the strain and uncertainty always in the background of the story was going to burst open at any minute. 

At the end of the day, I found The End of Everything to be more of a coming of age story than a solid mystery. I did enjoy that we actually find out what happened to Evie, however it seemed somewhat anticlimactic compared to what I was expecting from the description. However I still found it quite enjoyable and I was impressed enough with the writing style of the author to have added more of her books to my wish list. 

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I like it, although I don't think it represents the story as well as it could. The colors are pleasant and I like the idea of one of our main girls (I like to think it's Lizzie) being sort of incapsulated in this silent world of water away from the realities actually happening around her, but I think I might be stretching to find meaning in the image.

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

I purchased the Kindle/Audible audiobook versions of The End of Everything for my own collection. You can read more reviews about the book and find links to where you can purchase your own copy on Goodreads


  1. So my wife has broken up with Megan Abbott because she feels like Abbott's books never live up to the promise, but I've been curious about this one. I've just dipped my toe into the world of audiobooks, so I might give this one a try since you liked the narrator so much.

    1. This was my first Megan Abbott book, but I've already picked up her newest on Kindle (it was on sale for $1.99 I believe!). Over the last couple years I've really started to enjoy the audiobooks. My commute is pretty long so it gives me something to do when I'm stuck in traffic :)!