ARC REVIEW: All That’s Left in the World

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All That’s Left in the World
by Erik J. Brown
Published by Balzer & Bray
Releasing on March 8th, 2022
YOUNG ADULT FICTION—Science Fiction > Dystopian, Romance

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What If It’s Us meets Life as We Knew It in this postapocalyptic, queer YA adventure romance from debut author Erik J. Brown. Perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Alex London.

When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he’s injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population, including everyone both boys have ever loved. And if this new world has taught them anything, it’s to be scared of what other desperate people will do . . . so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other?

After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But something isn’t adding up about Andrew’s story, and it could cost them everything. And Jamie has a secret, too. He’s starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey.

The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together. Only one thing feels certain: all that’s left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other.

Trigger/Content Warning(s): Pandemic, Assumed Mass Death of World Population, Deadly Virus, Guns & Shooting, Depicted Gunshot Victim, Near-Death Experiences, Minor Homophobia, Murder, Slight Gore

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*I RECEIVED A DIGITAL GALLEY VIA EDELWEISS+ IN RETURN FOR MY HONEST REVIEW. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION*

All That’s Left in the World is a book I couldn’t help but smile at while reading. Impossible to put down and incredibly addicting while reading, Erik J. Brown had me completely obsessed.

Jamie and Andrew were characters that felt like old friends to readers, at least in my perspective. Their personalities jump off the page and grapple onto you in a way that makes them easily memorable. Their relationship started off as “enemies to survivors,” then to “survivors to friends,” before finally hitting “friends to lovers.” As someone who likes slow burn when it’s done well, Brown DID. IT. WELL. I don’t like seeing characters fall in love instantaneously, and I was thrilled that the author took the time to really flesh them out as individuals before delving into their relationship. Along with that, I was extremely impressed with the way Brown melded into the story their need for each other that grew in a time of unsureness and fear. Nobody really focuses on the loneliness factor when the world “ends,” so when it was brought up and actually addressed in this book, I adored it.

When it came to the plot of this book, I had my likes and my dislikes. For one, I honestly thought the book was over 20% of the way through. There were a lot of concept ideas that were written into this book, and it nearly felt like we were reading multiple stories at once. I thought some of them could’ve been better off if this book had been broken up into small novellas, as they did come across as a bit much when reading them altogether, but I did still enjoy them nonetheless.

I do want to highlight something that popped up in Jamie’s perspective. I will not speak on what it might be like for a bisexual man, as I am not one, but I am bisexual, and I couldn’t help but adore the way that Brown portrayed Jamie questioning his sexuality. I went through a similar way of thinking (minus the whole post-apocalyptic aspect) that Jamie did, and I was easily able to connect with him on that level. It was nerve-wracking, it was confusing, but overall, it came to him embracing himself, and I really loved seeing that on-page.

Adding on to that, I adored Brown’s writing style. It was easy to read through, and it looped me into the story almost instantaneously. I really loved being able to experience that, and it’s definitely one of my more positive remembrances when reading.

Overall, while I did have a couple of dislikes, I still really enjoyed this book. For that, I rate it 3.75 stars. I do suggest picking it up and adding it to your TBR as soon as possible, as we are ALWAYS in need of more queer, post-apocalyptic stories. And this book did honestly give me the feeling of home.

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DELETEErik J. Brown is a writer based in Philadelphia, PA.

In 2009 he graduated from Temple University with a degree in Film and Media Arts with an emphasis in Writing for Media. When not writing, he enjoys traveling (pre-pandemic), collecting disco compilations on vinyl, remodeling his haunted house with his husband, and embarking on the relentless quest of appeasing his Shiba Inu, Charlie.

In 2021 he was selected as a Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Fellow.

His debut Young Adult novel, ALL THAT’S LEFT IN THE WORLD will be published in early 2022 by HarperColllins/Balzer+Bray.

You can find him on Twitter @WriterikJB, and Instagram @ErikJB.


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