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The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World

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Billy Sloat and Lydia Lemon don’t have much in common, unless you count growing up on the same (wrong) side of the tracks, the lack of a mother, and a persistent loneliness that has inspired creative coping mechanisms.

When the lives of these two loners are thrust together, Lydia’s cynicism is met with Billy’s sincere optimism, and both begin to question their own outlook on life. On top of that, weird happenings including an impossible tornado and an all-consuming fog are cropping up around them—maybe even because of them. And as the two grow closer and confront bigger truths about their pasts, they must also deal with such inconveniences as a narcissistic rock star, a war between unicorns and dragons, and eventually, of course, the apocalypse.

464 pages, Hardcover

First published July 9, 2019

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About the author

Amy Reed

41 books1,021 followers
Amy Reed was born and raised in and around Seattle, where she attended a total of eight schools by the time she was eighteen. Constant moving taught her to be restless and being an only child made her imagination do funny things. After a brief stint at Reed College (no relation), she moved to San Francisco and spent the next several years serving coffee and getting into trouble. She eventually graduated from film school, promptly decided she wanted nothing to do with filmmaking, returned to her original and impractical love of writing, and earned her MFA from New College of California. Her short work has been published in journals such as Kitchen Sink, Contrary, and Fiction. Amy currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two cats, and has accepted that Northern California has replaced the Pacific Northwest as her home. She is no longer restless. Find out more at amyreedfiction.com.

BEAUTIFUL is her first novel.

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5 stars
182 (23%)
4 stars
256 (32%)
3 stars
226 (28%)
2 stars
94 (12%)
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24 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 173 reviews
Profile Image for Lou (nonfiction fiend).
2,771 reviews1,616 followers
July 10, 2019
The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World is a surrealist gem which is absolutely fascinating. It has so much heart and soul oozing from each of its pages and is an emotional roller coaster ride of intense ups and downs; I was enthralled and immersed almost immediately. My favourite author is Haruki Murakami, the King of surrealist fiction, so this book was an intriguing and entertaining read for me. It's very well written although it really is evident that the market it's targeting is teens/young adults by the overly simplified wording and phraseology yet this was only a minor irritation.

It is a strange story, as all surreal fables are, so if you're a reader who prefers tales grounded in reality and with a plot that is structured like most other novels then this might not be for you. Important topics are explored in an adult and sensitive manner and I felt the characterisation really worked well. The friendship between our main protagonists, Billy and Lydia, was the most solid and fascinating aspect of the whole book for me. They are relatable, believable and their relationship was heart-warming as they had each others back throughout everything. Overall, this is a great option if you appreciate weird, surreal coming of age novels. Many thanks to Atom for an ARC.
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,523 reviews74 followers
October 2, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Boy and Girl Who Broke The World
By: Amy Reed

*REVIEW* 🌟🌟🌟
I'm a fan of young adult fiction, but The Boy and Girl Who Broke The World was too juvenile for my taste. The premise of two teenagers trying to find their place in the world and with each other will be very appealing to a younger audience. I didn't get interested enough to really care about the characters. I did finish the entire book, but I wouldn't read it again.
Profile Image for cathy.
196 reviews7 followers
February 15, 2020
I honestly don't really know how to properly rate or review this book so I'm going to try my best.

Overall, I think it was an okay book. The first half felt very meh to me, and like it was dragging on. I also kind of... don't get what the final message of the book was really about? Letting people in? Finding family? I'm not sure.

Here's the thing: the book felt like one big, vague attempt at a political statement, but you can never really put your finger on what that statement is.

You have Billy, a character who suffers from depression and in the beginning, almost seemed to me like the author was writing him on the spectrum. There's a teacher who thinks he's gay and he doesn't want to correct them when he's not, because said teacher is the only "friend" he can really eat lunch with to escape the school bullies. He's also called ableist slurs and has homophobic jabs made at him by other characters because he won't date his female best friend. Then at the end, he's insta-loving with another character, which drove me mad!

Then we have Lydia. She's half Filipino, and for a while I really thought she was just going to be another token character because of it. There's a Native American tribe living nearby that, in the beginning, people constantly ask Lydia if she's part of because she's brown. (They're called the Quillalish tribe, which I'm guessing is a play on the Quileute tribe? Because they all live in made-up towns in Washingtown. Twilight vibes, anyone?) No characters from the tribe are actually ever mentioned. It was all just odd to me.

Then there's the fact that America has a King who acts a lot like our current political leader does. And Florida isn't a thing anymore? And none of the hows and whys of this are mentioned, you as a reader are just supposed to go along with it, even though it doesn't make sense.

Then there's the only reason I actually picked up this book, the promise of a rockstar, who turns out is just a junkie for most of the time.

So, again, political statements that aren't clear for an ending that everything just turns out okay? Because it's like all the abuse and heartache and everything else is lost in the blink of an eye. And again, magical instalove to make it all better.

Don't get me wrong, overall I liked Billy and Lydia (and Lydia's dad, Larry,) but only after the first half of the book. And as someone who also suffers from depression, I could somewhat connect to Billy. And to him and Lydia both being loners who want to push people away. But it wasn't enough to fully care about them.

Couple that with the fact that none of the magical realism in this book is ever really explained? And I just didn't get some of it? This book isn't really something that was memorable to me, or gave me hope, or anything else. I wasn't feeling any of it.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,205 followers
June 26, 2019
The boy in the story -- Billy -- and the girl in the story -- Lydia -- are best friends when their small town rival high schools are merged into a single building. They made the decision out of force and by choice, which is one of the biggest themes in this bizarre and strange and weird and awesome book about family, found and made, reminiscent of the work of Shaun David Hutchinson.

The story is set in an impoverished community and deals with social class well, as well as deals with what it's like to live in a place known for something weird (in this case, Unicorns vs. Dragons the book series ala Twilight, as well as the birth place of famous rock star legend Caleb, ala Kurt Cobain).

There's a speculative undertone in the story, though much of it is grounded in reality. Lydia is a Filipina girl with no connections to her heritage but a desire to connect with it, and Billy is a boy from a broken family with the famous Uncle Caleb. Likewise, Reed pulls no punches including aspects of current political realities within this world, bringing in The King, modeled after the current president.

More on this one soon, but it's a wild, weird ride full of characters who are wild and weird. Though it's a little odder than Reed's previous books, her writing voice and the well-developed voices of her characters are all there.
Profile Image for Kit.
708 reviews56 followers
January 28, 2020
I WANTED to like this so much, but unfortunately I didn't. I can see why it's good, and yet, personally, I couldn't connect to the characters. Billy, specifically, actually, because I loved Lydia. I see why both needed pov, but I just didn't enjoy it.
Profile Image for Chelsea.
1,125 reviews598 followers
July 29, 2019
This book is definitely flying under the radar. Amy Reed's writing is fantastic here, telling the story of two outcasts whose friendship begins to change their lives. This coupled with magical realism elements signaling a coming apocalypse of sorts makes for a unique read that has the vibe of a YA contemporary but an added element of unpredictability.

It's definitely on the "quirky" side, but it's intentional. This will either completely work for readers or be an instant turn off, but I liked the dramatic weirdness of the writing style. It examines an interesting viewpoint on small town life, and both main characters are incredibly distinct and likable. Definitely one that should have more readers!
Profile Image for Mathilde.
727 reviews154 followers
July 9, 2021
Une jolie histoire, l'auteur prend son temps pour poser son histoire et cela fait du bien de ne pas aller trop vite. On apprend beaucoup sur nos personnages, nous les suivons un petit moment, le résultat est là : on s'y attache.
On aborde les thèmes de l'acceptation de soit, la différence, les drogues, la tolérance et la positivité.
J'ai passé un bon moment de lecture.
Profile Image for Sarah gobiel.
34 reviews3 followers
November 26, 2019
This was a very well rounded book. Very different from the last one of Reed's that I read. While this did have the same toils of teenage romance it also tied in fantasy. It kept turning and twisting in ways you wouldn't expect. It always kept me guessing and the ending was lovely.
1 review
April 30, 2020
I didn’t particularly enjoy this book as I don’t think it is my favorite genre of book, I also found it a bit heavy and depressing at the start
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Abby.
93 reviews5 followers
December 27, 2020
This book was weird. The world building was really bad and the plot was really confusing to follow.
Profile Image for Jess.
Author 5 books90 followers
February 8, 2020
*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley*

3.5 stars

Billy Sloat has no friends, no parents, and lives with his mean grandma. Despite this, Billy is an optimist and always manages to put a positive spin on everything.
Lydia Lemon is a cynic with a chip in her shoulder. She lives with her dad in an apartment behind his bar and keeps her love for dancing a secret.
Billy and Lydia are opposites, yet they soon become friends.
Then weird things start happening, like fog consuming everything, Billy's house falling apart, and Lydia being followed by something.
Why are these things happening?
Are Billy and Lydia causing them?

I was going to start by saying that The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World is not your average YA contemporary, but I'm not even sure that it is a contemporary book given the fantastical elements.
I loved Billy straight away - he was so sweet and upbeat that it was hard not to like him. He lived a very lonely life until he met Lydia, and I wanted so badly to give him a hug and maybe even take him home so that I could look after him.
I liked Lydia too, especially reading her interactions with Billy. They were funny together and helped each other.
The plot was interesting and held my attention, but I felt like the pacing could have been better in the middle as it did drag a little.
The fantastical elements were really intriguing and made the book unique, but it was the themes of friendship and family and how they were handled/explored that made the book for me.
The writing style was engaging and easy to follow.
While I did enjoy this book, it didn't blow me away or have me on the edge of my seat.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, unique read.
Profile Image for Paul .
588 reviews27 followers
June 28, 2019
The story is told in alternating chapters from Billie and Lydia’s points of view. They are both good narrators with strong unique voices. Billie is the positive person who even after being struck down over and over again by life, having a grandmother who ignores him and an uncle who never reaches out to him, he continues to try to find agency. Lydia has created a hard shell around herself after her mother died while running away from the family. Her father tries his best, but it’s hard to raise a child while working behind a bar. Reed has a real talent for fully painting these sympathetic characters.

The plot was a bit shaky. The basic premise is interesting and the last quarter of the book is definitely fast moving, but there’s no real overarching conflict to keep the tension through the middle of the book. Most of the conflict revolves around the evolving relationship between the characters and I felt like there needed to be a better external stab to get the pages turning. The worldbuilding was good when describing the local Washington landscape, but was vague when trying to include aspects of a psuedo-dystopian US that has somehow lost Florida and has a ‘King’ for a leader. This King is a pretty cheap knockoff of Trump which seemed a little too easy a villain to draw.

Overall, I enjoyed these characters, but wanted either the dystopian part of the novel to be more of a factor or Billie and Lydia to be on their toes a bit more throughout.

For my full review: https://paulspicks.blog/2019/06/25/th...

For all my reviews: https://paulspicks.blog
Profile Image for Elle.
993 reviews82 followers
July 10, 2019
* Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

4.5 stars.

This was a fun and somewhat oddball YA contemporary with a magical realism feel.

The setting is strange and mysterious and vaguely reminiscent of the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. For those who have read that series, I feel that there can be a bit more understanding of the magical realism component.

Billy & Lydia are quintessential teens with some heartbreaking backgrounds. Billy has never really felt loved by anyone, yet he is the unfailing optimist who cares for everyone else while allowing himself to be severely taken for granted. Lydia is a talented girl who doesn't quite feel at home in her own skin, though she makes all outward attempts to appear as though she does. She sports a rough exterior and struggles to accept love from those who truly care about her.

Reed seems to be quite good at creating characters with distinct flaws. They were well-written, dynamic characters who felt believable. The supporting characters were also well thought out, though admittedly not always very likable.

The narrative is moving and somewhat intense, with several concurrent storylines running throughout. I very much enjoyed how it was all wrapped together with a solid, though somewhat quirky ending.

For those who enjoy something different, are fans of YA, and love a bit of magical realism, this is a fantastic read. I look forward to reading more from Amy Reed in the future.

See the full review at EPJ.
Profile Image for Alondra.
140 reviews2 followers
January 8, 2020
I'll start by saying that I was going to rate it 3 stars because at the beginning of the book, I was really confused as if this book was going to be fantasy or just a contemporary YA. BUT decided to give it 4 just because the main characters were a boy and a girl and they didn't fall in love. Which is SO refreshing.

I could feel a connection to Billy, I felt pity at times, sympathy and warmth. With Lydia I felt sympathy to, but she was stronger and you could see how society and the way they lived has affected them both and how they thought so different about life. Billy was always so lovingly, kind and naive at feelings. And Lydia didn't want to show her feelings or emotions.

I like how you can really see the development of all the characters, the redemption etcetera. How they all started with a personality in the beginning and they little by little start seeing things from different perspectives.

A really good book. ♥️
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Karen Barber.
2,477 reviews59 followers
July 15, 2019
Billy Stoat and Lydia Lemon don’t have much in common. Yet when their schools combine, they find themselves becoming friends.
Both socially inept, the teenagers have family backgrounds that make you want to cry. Yet the two keep a sense of humour, and actually come across very positively.
The story as such is not that exciting. Billy’s uncle (a famous singer) has a breakdown and returns to his home town. He hides away from everyone, relying on Billy to keep him fed. Then the town is hit by a tsunami.
It’s rather rambling, and could have been made more succinct but the appeal of this story was the two key characters, their developing relationship and their growing self-belief.
Thanks to NetGalley for granting me access to this prior to publication.
Profile Image for Rebecca Petruck.
Author 2 books99 followers
July 14, 2019
The surrealism of this book both shone an interrogator's determined light on some intense internal and external darknesses as well as helped make the darkness...something a reader could process? It's difficult to put into words. I was moved by how well Reed articulated things that reflected my own experiences, and helped make my own experiences a little more process-able, too. This is a deep dive into what it takes to survive when your near-extermination comes not from some faceless bad guy but from the people closest to you, and yourself. This is a book that can help readers transform pain. <3
Profile Image for Erin.
477 reviews4 followers
April 11, 2019
Wooooooooooooooow!!!!! Just Woooooooooow!!!! I’m just going to throw all the stars at this! In general, the fall YA lineup has been pretty spectacular so far. But this one, THIS ONE, is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. Billy Sloat is everything you need in the world and I absolutely adore the friendship between him and Lydia. Thank you so much Amy Reed for sharing such a thoughtful story with characters that I’ll never forget.
Profile Image for Liz.
1,823 reviews4 followers
August 7, 2019
3.5 stars maybe? This isn't a book I would've picked up by itself, but I loved The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed and decided to check her new book out (got it through Book of the Month actually). This book is nothing like The Nowhere Girls and felt like it could've been written by a totally different author. It's not a bad book, and there are some meaningful moments in it, but the general plot felt all over the place.
Profile Image for Deborah Hightower.
114 reviews2 followers
March 18, 2019
Thank you Edelweiss+ for the digital ARC of The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World. I really enjoyed this book. Billy and Lydia don't fit in with other students. He is an optimist and she sees the worse in situations. They forge a friendship that changes both of them. The humor in the storytelling makes this a great read.
Profile Image for Shelly Shaffer.
68 reviews9 followers
August 2, 2019
Amy Reed writes another great book that makes readers think about the world in a different way. I like the exploration of poverty and how it impacts the lives of the two main characters in this novel. It also touches on what it means to be from a small town. A little fantasy, with a lot of reality, are mixed into this book.
Profile Image for Mary.
166 reviews
September 19, 2019
Loved this book. You know how sometimes you read something and you think, "These characters just aren't relatable." Well, high school me was nothing like Billy and Lydia but I adored them and all the terrible parts of their lives anyway. Lots of spikey-ness, lots of truth, and a little LGBTQ+ bonus sweetness.
Profile Image for Jamie Cluff.
378 reviews13 followers
January 2, 2021
This book was so weird! The story was so odd I never really knew what was happening and it didn’t come together till the very end. Probably one of the weirdest books I’ve read in a while. That said- it had a lot of great lessons about the power of vulnerability and being honest with our emotions to others and ourselves.
Profile Image for Lizbeth.
519 reviews16 followers
March 13, 2020
I received an advance digital copy of this book from the author, publisher and Netgalley.com. Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Ms. Reed's new book is dark, surreal and a completely engrossing. A tale that will be confusing at times and keep you guessing.

4 out of 5 stars. Recommended reading.
Profile Image for Justkeepreading.
1,795 reviews70 followers
June 3, 2019
I really enjoyed this book and I think that it is one of those books that will be extremely well rated and talked about in many different places. A really well written, thought out book.
Profile Image for Lisa Naylor.
200 reviews15 followers
April 3, 2020
Loved this strange book, filled with humour and my kind of weirdos. A new favourite!
7 reviews
November 18, 2022
I rated “The Boy and Girl who Broke the World'' by Amy Reed three stars because it met my expectations.Set in Fog Harbor, Washington during the 21st century, the story follows Billy and Lydia as they adapt to both of their high schools combining and the ever changing world around them. I discovered this book when I was in the library looking for a new book. But they didn’t had the book I wanted so I picked this instead. What I really liked about it was the way the author progressed the relationship between Billy and Lydia. From it being Lydia accidentally becoming friends with Billy to her understanding him more and realizing what he is after all. I expected their relationship to progress like that but the way the author made it progress was really nice. It wasn’t too fast but at the same time not that slow. When the world around Billy and Lydia turned white every once in a while it made me feel confused at first since I didn’t know why it happened or the meaning behind it and because of this it made me lower my expectations. I liked the relationship Billy has with his uncle because it shows that a lot of times people seem to act as they don’t care about the ones close to them but in reality it is because they want to protect them. When Billy’s Grandma started offering tours of their house it made me think about the lengths people would go to make a buck of someone who just happened to become popular and because of this idea it exceeded my expectations, and I couldn’t put it down. This book teaches the reader that even people who aren’t the most popular or liked can have an impact on someone and the world around them. I wouldn’t read another book by Amy Reed because I looked into some of the other books she has made and none of them interest me. If you read books about two main characters who are odd among the people around them, but around certain people they aren’t odd and like it, then you would enjoy this book. I wouldn’t recommend this book if you like action since there isn’t much action in it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Deborah.
13 reviews
August 3, 2021

when i finished reading this book i was pretty satisfied and glad i had finished it but looking back at the book there are just so many things left unanswered or just badly written. not much to say here so lets get to it.

billy: i appreciate the author making billy sensitive but the crying was a little much. even cutting out one crying scene would've been ok. i also enjoyed the inclusion of billy's fake it till you make it attitude and how it's not as easy as it seems. i usually dislike the main character of books but billy I was ok with. occasionally though billy does not talk like a teenager. I'm glad there was a moment when he finally got upset and spoke his mind but it should've happened with his bullies too. it's weird that he's been bullied since forever and never got upset at them (at least during the book).

lydia: her attitude that she was better than everyone was annoying. the inclusion of dance was nice but i disliked how she judged that ballet girl at first (can't remember her name hehe). the way she treated her dad. horrible. she left him out of stuff even though he was incredibly supportive. billy was the only person who she actually seemed to like and she was definitely helpful especially with Caleb.

caleb: mhm not much to say. i still don't understand how he got over his drug addiction so quickly. his character development seemed rushed.

lydia's dad: such a nice character EXCEPT when he didn't defend lydia after that one guy harrased her like SERIOUSLY. also what was up with the hinting that the mom was forced to marry him? like was she or not??

billy's grandma: ehh idk she was okaay i guess. she got better by the end.

ballet girl (i really cannot remember this girl's name. oops.): I kind of liked her. i would've preferred if she was one of the main characters with a pov. i wanted to know more about her being rich in a town full of mainly poor people, being a POC raised by white parents, growing up dancing, etc. a storyline about eating disorders would've been interesting as well since some dancers develop an ED.

cult girl: from the beginning i wanted to know more about her and how she grew up. again the book following her instead of one of the standing main characters would've been preferred. also how did she adapt so quickly to the world? we know sometimes she visited the library but she didn't even know what a hoarder was. th?! hoq did she know what sex was?

world building: so much left unexplained, it was kind of disappointing. there's no detail as to why the U.S. switched to having presidents instead of having kings which I assume are by blood. th do they mean florida is no longer a state? again no explanation is given.

combining both schools into one was kinda unnecessary and was only done so lydia and billy goat could be together.

complaints: the King dying, in the end, was kind of ridiculous. the way everyone's problems were solved in the end felt like i was watching a disney show where all the characters problems poof into thin air by the next episode. why was the abuse by billy's grandmother simply brushed off? and billy went on to live with her as if nothing happened? yes, she did apologize but many abusers apologize but don't stop the abuse. was caleb even charged for injuring people? the entire end half of the book i was waiting for them to address if he would be charged or go to jail for a period of time but i don't remember any of those things coming up. billy and the cult girl's (cant remember her name: rose??) relationship was completely rushed. and the bit about them having sex in the end, my goodness. completely and utterly dumb. it was like the author said: mhm billy's never been that successful talking to girls or anyone. why don't we get him laid just for the heck of it?😃😃😃
also, lydia and the ballet girl (again can't remember her name) did they even end up together? it was like they kissed and just moved on. i think i would've preferred if the epilogue was cut out completely. so much of it sounded so unrealistic. why was the magic not explained? like the time they saw something that looked like a unicorn. and the tornado scene was not needed. felt kind of out of place. the entire book i was waiting for the book to become magical or something and it was like i was given false hope.

things i liked:
- lydia and billy's non romantic relationship
- the book being interesting enough to read
- that's it.

i hope someone got through this review. i used "like", "interesting", and "think" way too much in this.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Abiya.
58 reviews
August 20, 2022
I'm not a big fan of this book, even though it is young adult fiction. The story involves two teenagers, Billy and Lydia, trying to find their place in the world and with each other. The characters and the plot didn't look that interesting and appealing to me. Most of the time, it felt confusing to me with the intentional dramatic weirdness of the writing style and the characters who are wild and weird.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
661 reviews
April 6, 2021
This book started out quirky, with likeable characters that over-characterized p0lar opposites.

Billy is an akward boy with no friends. His character is endearing because he doesn't realize the social norms, but wants to help people anyway. Lydia pushes people away and almost revels in the fact that she doesn't need other people. Until that day Billy sits down next to her and asks to be her friend. The day they break the world.

This book is quirky because it toes the line of fantasy but never goes too far .

The thing is, you can't tell people your dreams. When some knows what you love, they know how to hurt you.

Unfortunately, the author pushes political agendas, which creates disjointed subplots to the book .

I enjoyed the story of Billy's famous uncle Caleb . I liked the mysterious fog that made people think they could see unicorns. This book just got a little to long and lost its quirkiness by the end.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 173 reviews

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