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Coming of Age at the End of Days

2.85  ·  Rating details ·  522 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Alice LaPlante's acclaimed psychological thrillers are distinguished by their stunning synthesis of family drama and engrossing suspense. Her new novel is an affecting foray deeper into the creases of family life—and the light-and-dark battle of faith—as LaPlante delves into the barbed psyche of a teenager whose misguided convictions bear irrevocable consequences.

Never one
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Atlantic Monthly Press
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2.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  522 ratings  ·  117 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Eerie...strangely surreal, rarest of fictional subjects,...heady-page-turner!
Psychologically acute - morally complex story about a 'coming-of-age' girl named Anna.
Anna is 16 years old. She lives in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Mom is a music teacher --gives piano lessons.
Dad is an amateur scientist. He studies earthquakes.

This story is much too interesting to share many details. Small sly moments get revealed when you least see them coming.
For example...Some of the most haunting -screwed-up -conversatio
Cyndy Aleo
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is the perfect example of a publisher's blurb gone wrong. If your author is changing genres, SAY SO CLEARLY.

"Alice LaPlante's acclaimed psychological thrillers are distinguished by their stunning synthesis of family drama and engrossing suspense. Her new novel is an affecting foray deeper into the creases of family life..." does not say "Hey, here's some women's fiction from thriller author..."

Actual review of the book:

LaPlante's foray into mainstream fiction is an uneven one. The idea of
Aug 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reviews
“Coming of Age at the End of Days” is a book about depression, other unspecified illnesses, loss, cults, religion as a whole, and what it means to be growing up in the midst of all of these things. It’s an interesting concept, but the execution left something to be desired.

The character development was actually very extensive. However, the main character, Anne, was an extremely unsympathetic character. Depression is involved, along with some other unspecified medical issues that may or may not a
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-review
ARC for review.

A solid 3.5 for this - great premise, Anna, a seventeen year old, has never really fit in anywhere, and now she's moved into a deep depression melancholia from which it doesn't seem likely she'll emerge - her permissive parents are worried about suicide, but don't seem to know how to help her.

Things change when Anna begins dreaming of a red heifer, then in short order gets new neighbors, the Goldschmidts, including teenage son Lars. The Goldschmidts belong to a doomsday cult (bu
This one did not work for me compared to the author's other books. Real struggle to finish.
Just weird
Petri dish
Alcoholic science father
Depressed teen who turns to end of the world cult
visions and prophecies.
Damn red calf born in Israel!
I guess I got my own issues with revelations because I missed the message in this story!
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

COMING OF AGE AT THE END OF DAYS by Alice LaPlante is a quirky dark look inside a troubled girl’s mind, spiraling out of control, and her search for a higher purpose and meaning— with a dystopian, apocalyptic twist, highly charged psychological suspense, and haunting exploration of family, cause, faith, and relationships.

Following a desperate search for meaning in life, a depressed teenager turns to
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, ebook
Anna is a depressed teenager living with her parents in a conventional California suburb. One day, she finds herself pulled out of her "melancholia" by meeting Lars, another teen who moves into her neighborhood, and his parents. Lars and his family introduce Anna to the world of his "church," which is more of religious cult that has a forceful prophecy about the upcoming end of days.

As Anna becomes more and more drawn into this religious world, she finds herself beset by visions and otherwise w
Maureen Tumenas
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.

I wanted to like this book, as I have enjoyed the author's previous work. It simply doesn't work for me. The initial premise of the story, the 16 year old girl, who never fits in; her new religious neighbors and her new religious fervour makes sense. We have seen this before with religion, with drugs, with music, etc. as teenagers work out who they are, who they will become. Then the story goes downhill. The strange neighbor Jim, the unsympathetic ch
Jul 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015
Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy.

I really hate when the summary of a book sounds so promising and then it falls completely flat. That is the case for this. It was disjointed and awkward. I'm still unsure of the whole premise. I didn't like any of the characters and it felt like many of them had their own issues that weren't ever explained. I had to breathe a sigh of relief when I finished.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
I loved this book. It was my first experience with Alice LaPlante's work and as soon as I finished it, I went out and bought her craft book "The Making of a Story."

Honestly, I don't understand some of the poor reviews this book received, unless the promotional marketing of the novel was completely off-base. It's not a thriller, in the normal sense. It's a well-written and well-crafted story with compelling and believable characters. There is a great deal of tension in the story, but the kind of
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it
The Tribulations of Adolescence: A Character Study

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for sexual assault.)

Anna Franklin has never really fit in. A native of Sunnyvale, California, Anna was perhaps the least "sunny" kid in her subdivision. Socially awkward and unsure, she usually watched from the sidelines while the neighborhood children played tag. Her parents meant well, but failed to pay Anna enough attention, absorbed as they were -
Jun 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Alice LaPlante is a brilliant author. Her previous two titles, Turn of Mind and A Circle of Wives were what piqued my interest in this latest work, COMING OF AGE AT THE END OF DAYS. Though I would like to say that the latter title equaled in brilliance the previous two titles, I simply cannot do that. Though this book, COMING OF AGE, has glimpses of the amazing author, Ms. LaPlante, overall it seems to me that the author stepped so far outside of her comfort zone that this reader felt almost UNc ...more
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Alice LaPlante’s Coming of Age at the End of Days is the story of a 16-year-old girl named Anna who lived in Sunnyvale, California, with her piano teacher mother and her earthquake-obsessed father. Anna falls into a deep depression that begins to abate after her mother, who is quite anti-Christianity, reads the Bible to her in hopes of lifting her spirits. Anna is most intrigued by the Book of Revelat
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
In this well-written and compelling story, 16 year old Anna suffers from melancholia and is fixated on death. She doesn’t fit in at school and her only friend is her new neighbor, Lars, a misfit of a different sort. He and his family are members of a doomsday cult and when Anna begins to have strange dreams (visions? prophecies?), she easily falls under the spell of their beliefs and the mission to bring about the Tribulation, the time preceding the End. Anna is convinced her purpose is to help ...more
Ceri Elin Anwen
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Not quite sure what to make of this book. I did enjoy it, hence the four stars, but it was quite a dismal foray inside the head of a depressed and very susceptible teenager.

The main character, Anna, revels and wallows in her own misery, and it’s hard to say whether she has a mental illness or is being overly dramatic. She has little to be miserable about, which is a statement in itself. But when tragedy strikes she fi
Sep 14, 2016 rated it liked it
What an odd and interesting book.

Anna's mind works in different ways from others. She's depressed, obsessive, longing for death. Her parents, predictably, have no idea what to do for her. When she seems to find some joy, they try to overlook her fascination with a doomsday cult. They hope it will be a phase that will pass.

Instead, the search for the end of days becomes central to her life, and she follows a path that could not have been predicted at the beginning of the saga. She is alone and no
Tony Parsons
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Set in Sunnyvale CA, coming of Age Anna Franklin (18) is caught up in her neighbors Lars Goldschmidt religious cult; Tribulations at the end of the day.
Reverend Michael of the Third Temple Commission showed Lar’s the ropes.

The groups focus is to the group's efforts to breed a pure Red Heifer in hopes it will fulfill their 3rd prophecy (Revelations).

Jim Fulson & Clara (Chemistry teacher) are Anna’s confidants as she struggles with both mental/medical issues & the cult.

How will their l
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well-written, original and compelling, this is a coming-of-age story with a difference. Anna is a deeply troubled teenager who feels out of place and alienated from her family and peers. Then she comes under the sway of Lars, her next door neighbour and his fundamentalist faith. He and his family believe in the coming End of Days and Anna finds their belief gives her a purpose and meaning to her life. On one level this is a family drama and an exploration of mental health and adolescent angst, a ...more
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviews, fiction
Alice LaPlante has apparently written quite a few other books that are of a different genre than this one but this is the first book I've read of hers so I have no basis for comparison. I quite enjoyed it. Anna was a wonderful, wonderful character. Ms. LaPlante's descriptions of the depressive episodes were very accurate and expertly done. Her prose is brilliant. Though I liked the movement of the story around Anna there were a few characters that felt like filler. They were flat and honestly di ...more
Sharon May
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I typically love Alice LaPlante's books - her psychological thrillers. This is a move into more general fiction and while I loved the premise and enjoyed it, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. This is the story of Anna - a teenager who becomes clinically depressed. Her parents are obsessed in their own ways and can't seem to understand or help Anna. A new family moves in the neighborhood who are involved in an End of Days cult religion and she awakens from her depression to become engro ...more
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's something clearly wrong with Anna. First the depression, followed by visions/hallucinations and then religious fervor point to something being not quite right. But what that is, exactly, isn't clear. Is she truly somehow chosen? Her parents' reaction is a little puzzling (if Anna were my child, I'd have her seeing a doctor and therapist) but given their other issues, not altogether surprising. As the book progresses, Anna seems to become more and more unmoored but then develops a clarity ...more
Aug 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I just grabbed this one off the "new" shelf at the library. The premise - a depressed teen who becomes energized through involvement with a religious cult - sounded intriguing. The book held my interest well enough but was nothing spectacular. It did make me ponder severe depression, family secrets, and religious zealots. The ending was rather abrupt but appropriate enough. I think at that point, I was ready for it to end. I appreciated the epilogue.
Meagan Catherine
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much more than I thought

This book was much more than I was expecting. I wasn't necessarily in love with every aspect of the authors writing style but I love Anna & I love Jim. I I thought it was a bit long but I enjoyed the different stages that Anna went through. I would have liked a more detailed end/conclusion to the story.
Feb 26, 2015 marked it as could-not-finish
25% in and can't get into this book. It's not for me.

ARC provided by NetGalley. No star rating given since I didn't complete the book.
Nancy Syburg
Oct 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I was intrigued all the way through but disappointed in the end. I LOVED Turn Of Mind and was hoping for a similar "can't put it down" experience. Not quite.
I thought the buildup and plot of this book was, for the most part, really interesting. LaPlante created brilliant tension with Anna's extremist beliefs and dreams. She portrays Anna's depression in a way that, honestly, I could really relate to. I believed her desperation and need to turn to the End-of-Days cult. And then the book went off the rails for me. It just felt like it jumped the shark. Once. Twice. More!

The conclusion let me down. (view spoiler)
Janka H.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Teenage angst and the religious cult doesn't mix well.

Depressed teenager Anna discovers a religious cult immersed in rapture and soaks in its teachings and her own visions.

Sounds interesting? Yes, but it is not. It is sa psychedelic, angst-filled ride, but this ride has no aim, almost no interesting plot and a very little literary "fuel" to keep your interest.

I would go for 1 star, but there are few interesting thoughts and I liked the character of no-nonsense teacher Ms Thadeous.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, rounded up. Strange book. I haven't read any of LaPlante's thrillers, so I have nothing to compare this to. Interesting premise, and the last 40 pages really were compelling. I knew this wasn't a thriller but wondered if she was going to go in that direction. It made me think about End times and Revelations, things I usually prefer to avoid. If any of my friends ever read this, I'd be curious to know what they think of it.
Rachel Brotherton
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure this book is for everyone. I mean if your mother wasn't a ex Mormon and your father didn't come from a family of hell and brimstone homeschoolers...I'm not sure you would "get it". I LOVED IT! It weaves together themes of faith, belief, mental illness, and the ties that bind us all together without condemning any of them. I loved the writing.
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Alice LaPlante is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. She teaches creative writing at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer. She also teaches in the MFA program at San Francisco State University. Her fiction has been widely published in Epoch, Southwestern Review, and other literary journals. Alice is the author of five books, including ...more