Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: The World Without Us

Publish March 17, 2015

Fans of award-winning YA author Robin Stevenson will not be disappointed with her latest offering, The World Without Us. Compelling and emotionally honest, this story probes the complex relationship between the psychology of teen suicide and survivor guilt, skilfully juxtaposed against the backdrop of capital punishment in present day Florida. When we first meet Mel, a whip-smart, middle-class sixteen-year-old, she’s perched on a concrete barrier running along the edge of Sunshine Skyway Bridge with Jeremy, an introspective seventeen-year-old high-school senior with a quick wit and a crushing family secret. Through the clever use of first-person narration and ongoing flashbacks, Mel recounts their first meeting at high school, their ever-growing feelings for one another, her mother’s dedication to abolishing capital punishment, and Jeremy’s spiralling descent into tormented darkness. Stevenson’s engaging storyline quickly draws the reader into the richly complicated lives of Mel, Jeremy, and their families, where we learn the intimate details that have brought them to this precipice in their relationship and the life-changing events that follow. Complete with solidly drawn characters, moving dialogue, and a realistic, not-so-tidy ending, The World Without Us is an intense, astute exploration of love, death, self-discovery, heartbreak, and hope that will serve as a catalyst for earnest dialogue not only about mental health, but also the strength of the human spirit and how we define the meaning of life.

The World Without Us

Robin Stevenson
Orca Book Publishers
ISBN 13: 9781459806801

Jennifer D. Foster
Jennifer D. Foster Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto-based freelance editor, mentor, and writer, specializing in book and custom publishing, magazines, and marketing and communications. She loves kidlit, greyhounds, Japan, pumpkin pie and yard sales.  

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