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The Great Unknowable End

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Slater, Kansas is a small town where not much seems to happen.

Stella dreams of being a space engineer. After Stella's mom dies by suicide and her brother runs off to Red Sun, the local hippie commune, Stella is forced to bring her dreams down to Earth to care for her sister Jill.

Galliard has only ever known life inside Red Sun. There, people accept his tics, his Tourette's
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Simon & Schuster books for Young Readers
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  84 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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C.G. Drews
it's a bit early for a review, so a few things this book is about!

→ it's set in 1977
→ lots of music references
→ there's a girl struggling to take her dead mother's place + a boy leaving the commune he's lived in his whole life to visit the outside world
→ Galliard had Tourette's!
→ kinda a Stranger Things mild sci-fi/magical realism vibe?
→ the cover is prettyyy
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was completely sold by that synopsis and the previous book I read by this author. Sadly, this title was disappointing.

I liked Stella and Galliard well enough. They’re both struggling and trying to figure out what they want from life and it was easy to root for them. There are a few other characters, but no one stood out for me.

Plot wise it was boring. I was expecting all of these odd things {and they happened}, but the ending and so called explanation was a let down. The movement of the stor
Apr 28, 2018 marked it as to-read
after the beautiful masterpiece that was Tash Hearts Tolstoy I will read anything Kathryn Ormsbee writes!!!

so uhhh cover?? release date???
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

I have really enjoyed everything I have read by Kathryn Ormsbee. And I didn't dislike this one, but it definitely isn't my favorite of hers either. There are definitely some good points, and some that are... less so, so might as well break 'em down!

Things I Liked:

•The atmosphere and time period were fabulous! The 70s, punctuated by some eerie shenanigans, was quite the trip to read a
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am so pleasantly surprised by this book. It was weird but in such an endearing and wonderful way. Kathryn Ormsbee is one of the most underrated YA authors and if you haven't read one of her books, you definitely should.

The individual journeys that each Galliard and Stella take are commendable. They are dealing with realistic teenage issues of the time and yet, issues that people of many ages can relate to. The feeling of being split between love and duty is a universal theme but I adored how t
Celia McMahon
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Edelweiss for the chance to review this book.

Wow. This book was weird and fun, and surprising.

This story is set is the 70's in a town called Slater, Kansas and involves one girl and one boy whose lives could not be more different. Hey, let's throw in some mysterious phenomena and here we have The Great Unknowable End.

Enter Stella. She lost her mother to suicide and works two jobs, one at an outdoor movie theater and another at a hair salon. She puts her dreams of becoming a space engi
belle ☆ミ (mybookcastle)
overall, i enjoyed stella's journey into finding herself, discovering what she really wants in life, and actually doing something to achieve it. i did find the ending a little anti-climatic though.

full review to come!
Claire (bookscoffeeandrepeat)

Inspired by The Twilight Zone, you say?

Well, sign me the hell up!
(Note: These gifs are from the episode, Monsters are due on Maple Street. All I can say is... ALIENS!)

I'm a huge fan of this series. I've only watched it the first time when I arrived to America (7 years ago). I was born in the Philippines, so give me a break! I've watched and re-watched the episodes of The Twilight Zone ever since I lived in the United States...

My top 3 favorite episodes would be:
1) The Eye of the Beh
Stefani Sloma
Jul 18, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019-releases
Give me all the cult books!
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Great Unknowable End is about self-discovery. Whether it be Galliard and his questioning of his Red Sun life, or Stella's assumption of her motherly role towards her family, both of our main characters are at points in their life where they have figure out who they want to be. When you don't think you can be anything else than what you've known, what you've thought, how do we
Seoling :)
May 18, 2017 marked it as to-read

I am so excited for this book. Why is summer 2018 not here yet?

Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Slater, Kansas, is like most Midwest towns --- record shops, hair salon, an outdoor theater and Red Sun, a nearby pacifist community that strives toward unity, shunning the Outside and its corrupting influence on relationships and the environment. While the commune is far from a mystery to the town, it certainly isn’t embraced, frequently the scapegoat for incidents in Slater. For some, however, tensions with the commune run higher --- like for the Mercer family.

After Stella’s brother Craig leav
Chelsea Pennington
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I completely fell in love with this book. I think it shows such strong growth from the author, Kathryn Ormsbee, and is easily my favorite novel by her to date.

The novel is dual POV with alternating chapters. Stella and Galliard's voices were easily identifiable and had clearly been crafted with care. It didn't take long for me to root for both of them individually, and for me to root for the two of them to fall in love!!

Both character arcs were well thought out and made sense. I wished I could j
Leah Hatch
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee is a historical fiction/fantasy novel set in 1970’s Kansas. The story follows our duel protagonists, Stella and Galliard, as they navigate the strange happenings around their city. Stella is a young woman working several jobs, just trying to get by and care for her family. Galliard is a member of a cult called Red Sun, and is trying to achieve his dream of being the resident artist so he spread
Jenny {So She Tries}
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
The Great Unknowable End takes place in the 70s and features a cult. Well, they don't call themselves that, obviously, they're a commune if you ask them. 

The story switches point of view between Galliard, who was the first child born in the commune and has lived there his entire life, and Stella, whose brother ran off to join the commune two years prior.

Galliard has parents in the commune, but they aren't called that. Kids are basically raised by the entire commune and belong to everyone. 

Alison Morquecho
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I received this e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The title of this book drew me in. When I read the synopsis I knew I would enjoy this book. And I did. I pretty much fell in love with this book within a few pages. I was intrigued immediately. Galliard, who is one of our POV's, is such a cool character. He struggles with Tourrettes syndrome, and it was so neat to be in his head and see how he thinks. I have a 7-year-old daughter who may have Tourrettes, it's still too early t
Dazz Ross
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a little sad I didn't enjoy The Great Unknowable End as much as Ormsbee's past two YA novels, but I still really liked it. Ormsbee is still a master at creating stories that are incredibly engrossing and well-developed characters you want to root for. I felt like I was transported to 1977 with the rich detail found in the pages, and I connected with both Galliard and Stella. The dual POVs worked incredibly well, and the former's Tourette's was well represented.

There were a couple of gripes
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-arcs
I wasn’t expecting this book to be set in the 70’s, so first of all that threw me off. Second of all, I expected the weird phenomenons going on in town to be explained. I didn’t really care all that much about the characters or the resolutions of their personal storylines. I wanted to know WHY the weather was acting so crazy! I was disappointed with the end result.

I didn’t mind Stella and Galliard. Kathryn Ormsbee created some well rounded characters, but I just didn’t care about their storyline
Jill Muller
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 out of 5
Sadly, this didn't live up the high expectations set by the other three books I've read by Kathryn Ormsbee.
Destiny Soria
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An eerily beautiful book. Like a Twilight Zone episode in YA form.
Apr 28, 2018 marked it as to-read
Gotta love the Cold War era!

Excited to read about a time period I've never read from before.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is the first title that I have read from Kathryn Ormsbee. The synopsis drew me in, the cover lured me, but the book just didn't engage me enough for me to be drawn in.

I enjoyed the setting and the basic premise, because who wouldn't enjoy a mystery? But for me, I just did not connect to the follow through of the plot.

I enjoyed the characters, Stella and Galliard. But I really loved the family, their relationships, and the whole dynamic. But I was more invested in getting to know the family
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-s, 2018, arcs
I love the premise of this book. A dark and twisty girl. A boy in a cult. The 70's and the end of the world. But, I found myself bored within 50 pages. The fact that this one was almost 400 pages didn't help. I thought the plot moved very slowly, and nothing really happened until three-quarters of the way through. I had high hopes for this one that were not fulfilled.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
There was nothing about this book that I did not like. I have not read anything so engaging, so intense, so heartfelt, so true all year long. Thank you, Edelweiss, for letting me have that experience.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: a2, a3e, feb, nyp, simon-schuster, 2018
Not nearly as good as I was hoping, I'm afraid. A book that builds up a huge mystery should really deliver on it, not wimp out with 'sometimes weird stuff just happens, I guess'. If this had been just about Stella and Galliard, without any of the strange stuff, I probably would have liked it; as is, it's just disappointing. A real shame.
The Bookish Austin
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
You can read my review here:
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is insides altering, mind bending, heart wrenching, heart filling, inspiring and beautiful. Meet two lifelong misfits, Stella and Galliard. Both struggling to find their own paths in life when it seems that the world around them has already laid their paths. Throw in some creepy occurrences, a mysterious countdown, gorgeous writing, insightfully flawed and inspiring characters and you get the amazing experience of “The Great Unknowable End.” This book so thoroughly sucks you into the 7 ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-galleys
I was lucky enough to win an arc of this book on a twitter giveaway by the author!
So thank you so much to Kathryn for sending this to me!

The Great Unknowable End is still not out for a week or two, so I'll keep this review spoiler free.

Our first POV is Stella: she lives in Slater with her father and sister, having lost her mother to suicide and her brother to the local commune. She's grown apart from her friends, and the family tend to keep to themselves. She works at the local hairdresser's b
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews
Grade: C
An e-galley was provided by Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I'm having trouble quantifying this book as easily as I do some others I've read and reviewed. It was by no means a terrible book; it was just...a little too weird for my tastes. It's sort of like historical fiction meets fabulism/speculative fiction.
So, pros: I really liked that Galliard has Tourette's because that's not something you see portrayed often in fi
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Kathryn Ormsbee writes books, cooks food, & records podcasts in Austin, TX. She is the author of YA novels LUCKY FEW, TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY, and THE GREAT UNKNOWABLE END (Simon & Schuster).

Kathryn also writes Middle Grade fantasy novels as K.E. Ormsbee. She is the author of the WATER AND THE WILD series (Chronicle Books and Gumption Press), THE HOUSE IN POPLAR WOOD (Chronicle), and the upcom