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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Blog Tour Review - If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St. Jude

Blog Tour Review - If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St. Jude

This review is part of a blog tour organised and arranged by The Write Reads.

Avery Byrne has secrets. She's queer; she's in love with her best friend, Cass; and she's suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it.

Trying to spare her family and Cass additional pain, Avery does her best to make it through just nine more days. As time runs out and secrets slowly come to light, Avery would do anything to save the ones she loves. But most importantly, she learns to save herself. Speak her truth. Seek the support she needs. Find hope again in the tomorrows she has left.



If Tomorrow Doesn't Come has completely broken me! I finished reading it this morning, and I've spent the last two hours, from 6am to 8am, sitting on my sofa completely sobbing my way through it. Full on, teary, snotty, chest heaving sobbing, for a full third of the book. Even after I'd finished it, I found myself just wandering around my flat crying. It's one of the most intensely emotional things I can remember reading for a very long time.

The irony of this is that so much of the novel is about Avery not feeling. When it comes to depression, I feel like this book just gets it. It's not about feeling sad, it's about not feeling anything at all, and it is truly heart breaking to see Avery go through that. Little gestures like blowing out her birthday candles and making a wish takes on such deepness of meaning when she has nothing to wish for, no hopes, no dreams, no reason to make it to tomorrow, and watching her thinking about killing herself, and that journey from "I can" to "I will" is so hard, so moving, so powerful.

Much of this we see in flashbacks, as the book starts on the morning she's going to kill herself, and then moves between snippets of her life up to this point and the last nine days before an asteroid hits the Earth, killing everyone on the planet. It does this so effectively, with some foreshadowing telling us where parts of the story are going (we know early on that the last time she saw Cass she told her she hated her, which adds so much poignancy to the developing story of their friendship.) 

If Tomorrow Doesn't Come shows us how easy it can be to lose yourself in depression, to the point where you believe you've got nothing to live for. It shows how it can affect people who look successful too. Avery is hard working, high achieving, popular, and it's so easy for people to miss just how much she's struggling, and how hard it is for her to open up to anyone about it. Even with the literal end of the world coming in fast, she finds it so hard to tell anyone what she was planning.

I love the focus of this book. There's an asteroid heading to the Earth, but there's practically no time at all spent on wider issues, like Government efforts to stop it, and barely any mention of media or science or military or anything like that after the initial announcements. The focus is razor sharp on Avery and her family, and the friends they welcome in. It makes this apocalypse a very personal one, the asteroid is a timer, ticking down to the end, an inescapable conclusion but this is a novel about a small group of people and how they face the end. 

It's a novel, too, about hope. It's about love, about finding the people you love, accepting your feelings about holding on to them and about, ultimately, letting them go. Most importantly, it's about loving yourself, about recognising that you are a person deserving of love and happiness, despite your flaws, despite your failings, and letting those feelings in. 

It might be a small story, just nine days in the life of a teenage girl, nine days she wouldn't have even had if she'd carried out her plan. But the way it is told, its beauty, its emotion, its empathy, is completely overwhelming.

🌠🌠🌠🌠🌠

If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St. Jude is published on 9th May 2023 by Penguin.

I was given a review copy in return for an honest review and participation in this The Write Reads blog tour.



 

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