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On the Edge of Gone
Cover of On the Edge of Gone
On the Edge of Gone
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A thrilling, thought-provoking novel from one of young-adult literature’s boldest new talents. January 29, 2035. That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time. A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter—a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But everyone on the ship has been chosen because of their usefulness. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister? When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

A thrilling, thought-provoking novel from one of young-adult literature’s boldest new talents. January 29, 2035. That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time. A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter—a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But everyone on the ship has been chosen because of their usefulness. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister? When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

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About the Author-
  • Tonya Bolden has written numerous award-winning books for kids, including Tell All the Children Our Story, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and Maritcha, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and winner of a James Madison Book Award. She lives in New York City.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 14, 2016
    A biracial, autistic teenager and her drug-addicted mother take shelter in a temporarily grounded generation ship as a comet threatens life on Earth; they must prove their usefulness to earn a spot on the Nassau or risk getting left behind to fend for themselves. Told from the perspective of 16-year-old Denise, the story examines the aftermath of the cataclysmic event and her search for her transgender sister, Iris, among the wreckage near Amsterdam while raising important questions about social issues that are as applicable today as in the not-so-distant future of 2035. On the ship, stringent rules and regulations attempt to define who is worthy of supplies and survival while Denise struggles to find a way to belong and weighs the risk of sneaking her mother on board. Readers are immersed in the tics and tactile aspects of Denise's condition as Duyvis (Otherbound) skillfully incorporates an exploration of complex mental conditions, addiction, and gender identity into her narrative. It's a riveting apocalyptic thriller with substantial depth. Ages 13–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from January 15, 2016
    What should a mixed-race, autistic, 16-year-old be willing to do to avoid certain death in an apocalyptic hellhole? A comet's about to strike Earth, and the rich, powerful, or lucky have choices: they can survive in underground shelters for the decades until the planet is once again easily habitable or take to a generation ship headed to deep space. Daughter of a Dutch woman and an Afro-Surinamese man, Denise is none of the above; her family has a spot in a temporary shelter, after which they'll be stuck in the post-comet wasteland Amsterdam (and much of the planet) will have become. Denise finds temporary refuge in a secret generation ship, but the residents jealously guard their precious resources. She's desperate to find a place on the ship for her family, but on a ship where the two choices are "usefulness or death," she worries they'll never choose her drug-addicted mother--or her autistic self. Meanwhile she seeks her sister, lost in the rubble of Amsterdam. Heroism isn't restricted to Denise, nor is she the only complex, deeply imperfect character to make selfish choices in this unbearable world. It's unsurprising that Duyvis, autistic herself, draws a superbly nuanced portrait of Denise as person (not a collection of pitiable autism tropes or cure narratives), but what makes this a winner is the nerve-wracking adventure. Life-affirming science fiction with spaceships, optimism in the apocalypse, and a diverse cast that reflects the real world. (Science fiction. 11-15)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2016

    Gr 9 Up-As a biracial girl with autism, Denise has never been very comfortable in her own skin. Six months ago, when the world wasn't ending, her only real relationships were with her sister, Iris, and the cats in the animal shelter where she worked after school. Now, Denise's only chance for surviving the comet that threatens to destroy all human life on Earth is to earn a spot on a generation ship, a vessel that will transport colonists to another habitable planet across the galaxy. While coping with the complete disruption of her daily routines, as well as continuing threats of natural disasters, Denise must prove herself useful enough to save not only her own life but those of her sister and her drug-addicted mother. But even if her family is lucky enough to escape, what about the rest of the families in her home city of Amsterdam? What about those across the rest of the world? Duyvis expertly employs real science and vivid imagery to bring to life the most terrifying villain of all: Mother Nature. But it is the author's talent for writing about human nature that sets this book apart. Insightful, suspenseful, and unsettling in its plausibility, this novel is sure to stick with readers long after the last page has been turned. VERDICT A high level of believability and excellent writing make this diverse apocalyptic novel a recommended selection for any young adult collection.-Liz Overberg, Zionsville Community High School, IN

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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On the Edge of Gone
Corinne Duyvis
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