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I Hope You Get This Message

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Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days.

When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization.

For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the guys he hooks up with. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance.

With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart.

448 pages, ebook

First published October 22, 2019

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About the author

Farah Naz Rishi

7 books465 followers
Farah Naz Rishi is a Pakistani-American Muslim writer and voice actor, but in another life, she’s worked stints as a lawyer, a video game journalist, and an editorial assistant. She received her B.A. in English from Bryn Mawr College, her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School, and her love of weaving stories from the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s probably hanging out with video game characters. You can find her at home in Philadelphia, or on Twitter at @far_ah_way.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,036 reviews
Profile Image for Farah Rishi.
Author 7 books465 followers
May 31, 2019
SHRUGS. I dunno, I mean, it IS a book I worked pretty hard on, so I will shamelessly give Past Farah five stars. You did good, kid. You tried your best. And that's enough in my (proverbial) book.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,950 followers
November 10, 2019
One of the two books in the Owlcrate October box! Click on GOODIES LINK to see the goodies!


I thought this book was good!! I loved how things mostly came together at the end!! Jesse ended up being my favorite character because of the wolves 😉🐺

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for OonaReads.
561 reviews174 followers
October 8, 2019
3.5 stars

If aliens sent a message to Earth and told us that the entire human kind would be eradicated because of our behaviour on the planet, I would simply think ‘that’s fair’
Profile Image for R.F. Kuang.
Author 16 books37.7k followers
February 7, 2019
So...this was really. flipping. good.

Long RTC. Put this one on your TBRs, you won't regret it.
Profile Image for Bookish Pengu.
394 reviews169 followers
January 30, 2020
What a super underwhelming end. It is not even a real ending, she just stopped writing in the middle of things lol

I don't know I think my updates speak for themselves and I don't want to talk about this book longer than nessecary. The characters where not developed and the whole book felt like the author wanted to put so much good topic in it but it was simply too much so everything got only talked about briefly.

There were no great twists in this book ( at least not for me ) since everything was so predictable.

It could have been such a great book but it was all just surface talk, nothing more.

I was also constantly mad because, well the world is going to end in 7 days so you better be prepared my dudes. Maybe, I don't know, talk to your loved ones for once? Open up a bit so you don't feel like shit? NAH let's just stay silent and have the same dramas like in every other ya contemporary book.

The love aspect of this book also didn't hit me at all. Maybe because I couldn't feel for the characters? Yeah probably.
Profile Image for Amy.
293 reviews187 followers
November 14, 2019
DNF on page 114.

I hate, hate, hate when I purchase a new release, read it right away, and dislike it so much that I can't even finish it. It feels like such a waste of money.

There's nothing inherently wrong with this book. It's a really interesting premise, and the writing style was noticeably lovely. However, I was incredibly bored.

I do not care about any of the characters. I wanted to, but I didn't. Each time it switched to new POV chapter, I couldn't remember the personality of that character. Despite all of them having interesting back stories, I couldn't find it in me to get invested in their current stories.

For a pre-apocalypse book, this was way too dull. The plot felt like it was going nowhere. I really can't imagine where this story was going to go for the next 200+ pages, but it probably wasn't anywhere that I cared about.

Maybe I'll pick this up again at a later time. But for now... it's completely forgettable.
Profile Image for Becca & The Books.
323 reviews6,808 followers
March 25, 2022
Not rating this one as it's so far away from anything that I enjoy reading now (I've essentially just grown out of YA contemporary), that my rating/opinion is pretty irrelevant.
I also had brain fog while I was reading it so I essentially just needed something that was easy and didn't matter if I wasn't retaining much information.

If you're a fan of books like They Both Die At The End then you may enjoy this one.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
982 reviews749 followers
July 10, 2021
First things first. I really liked the cover of this book. As an Electronics Engineer, the communications tower and the parabolic antennas on the cover are very enticing and I just wanted to buy the book already when I've first seen it.

Second, I Hope You Get This Message is an emotional story of finding happiness, contentment and oneself in the middle of the end of the world. Compare to We Are The Ants, we surely know that the aliens here aren't magical realism but the real deal. It almost felt like a backdrop sometimes, but it does help to strengthen the plot and pacing of this book.

I like the three (3) major characters. They are distinct and realistic. I like their character development as the story progressed especially on the end that they're somehow connected to one another. Which is kinda predictable, but it's fine.

The major point that I really loved in this book is the use of radio communications and how it serves its purpose on the story. The title really makes sense.
Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
568 reviews407 followers
April 9, 2020

* I enjoyed the writing, fairly easy to get through and despite the multiple POVs, which I generally dislike in books, it was easy to separate the characters’ voices
* I really loved how diverse it was - Muslim rep, lgbtq+ rep
* the plot was woven pretty well, it didn’t feel forced, having each individual character’s story merge at different points in the overall arc
* it was quite poignant and it reads a lot like a coming of age book


* okay, so I was expecting it to be a looooot more sci-fi than it was
* y’know, when you have the synopsis say that the aliens are destroying the earth in 7 (?) days, you expect shit to hit the fan
* it… didn’t?
* i mean, it felt a lot like a contemporary novel, exploring characters and relationships, which isn’t bad in itself, but i just wasn’t expecting it to this degree
* i didn’t feel a sense of urgency, of impending doom
* i. don’t. like. open. ended. books. pls. stop.
* i felt like it tried to tackle a LOT of things in not such a long book: estranged family relationships, abandonment, fear of commitment, attempted suicide in the past, poverty and debt… like… it was a lot

YAY or NAY: eeehhh… i’d say yay. It’s not a bad book at all! I just had different expectations from it, that’s all :)


To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)
Profile Image for noa.
164 reviews103 followers
July 8, 2019

It reminded Adeem of one of the poems his sister had shared with him once, one by Rumi. In the poem, Rumi banters with God over life’s usual philosophical questions: what to do with that pesky thing called a heart, where to focus one’s eyes, etcetera, etcetera. But when Rumi asks God what to do with his pain and sorrow, God tells him, “Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

tw : suicide attempt (in the past, not depicted), mental health issues, 

Some books just stick with you for reasons beyond your immediate comprehension. This is what happened with I Hope You Get This Message and I. Ever since I've finished it, it quietly sat in the back of my head. Lately, I've been thinking about the end of the world a little (dark, much ? a little but it's not that bad) and thinking about how We as Humans hurt the Earth and how it's eventually going to fight back and We (and the future generations) will (are) suffer(ing) from it greatly.

I Hope You Get This Message follows three characters, Adeem, Jesse and Cate as they experience essentially the end of the world. An entity known as Alma warns humans that they will terminate our existence in the next seven days. All hell breaks loose and our main characters try to navigate this announcement however they can.

Rishi's writing is beautiful and fluid. It's also full of little gems of wisdom (“Be kind, Adi. Life’s too exhausting as it is to hold on to anger so tightly.” OOF)

✨The characters 


“It’s convenient to sit back and do nothing when everything goes to hell,” continued Adeem, only a little quieter. “People like him blame the problems we face on the natural order. Or God. Or a lack thereof. But the moment we sit back and do nothing while everything falls apart—that’s why we have problems in the first place. That’s why this is happening.” 

Adeem is Pakistani-American and so is the author ! Adeem goes after his sister who, after coming out to her religious Muslim family, ran from home (without saying goodbye to Adeem). I really felt Adeem's struggle : while he is angry at his sister for running away and abandoning him, there's also this part of him that wishes she had trusted him enough to know he wouldn't have rejected her. I appreciated the way Rishi described sibling relationships because most of the time, they're far from simple and I always love to read about it. 


"The thing about wanting to die was that people always assume it’s the constant pain that gets to you, the pain that convinces you to do something, anything, to make it stop, and Jesse’s depression was painful at first, all sporadic tugs and pulls beneath his skull, like a stubborn specter that clung to his mind with sharp teeth."

Jesse was my favorite character. His reaction to Alma is to pretend he built this machine that's able to communicate with the "aliens" and this attracts a bunch of people desperate for just a little bit of hope. This opened my eyes about how much emotional baggage we carry as human beings and how easy, almost natural, it is for us to assume that everything is okay when really, everything is Really Not. Jesse's relationship with his mom was beautiful and heartbreaking and I'll talk more about him in the "themes" section. I really did love Jesse's evolution/thought process throughout the book and I thought he was well-written and complex. 

💜Cate was probably the character I felt the "less" about. She didn't strike me with her personality or her arc. Cate decides to leave her mom to go find her dad, whom she's never met (which is a brave thing to do). Her resilience truly was something to admire but I can't lie to you and say she will stick with me (unlike the book in its entirety for example). 

✨ Themes ✨

1) We are not our parents and other complex family intricacies. The reason why I loved Jesse so much is because of his relationship with his family but also his thought process when it came to his relationship with his dad. 

"Sure, crows manipulated. Crows deceived. But crows also survived—it was their trickery that kept them alive."

I felt Jesse's anger and personal conflict. It reminded me that We Are Not Our Parents and that trauma needs to be dealt with because unfortunately, it doesn't just go away. 

“But I don’t want you to keep pretending you’re okay. I don’t want you to keep downplaying the hurt you feel like you’re not even human. You keep it up—all these lies to yourself, to other people, and soon you’re not going to know who you are.”

Jesse is definitely a character that will stay with me for some time. 

2) Companionship is Important and it's something fundamental that we gravitate towards. Finding friendship, and I mean Real, Unapologetic, True Friendship is rare. It's not something that happens on a daily basis. This book reminded me why I love to read about friendships (and if you need to know anything about me, it's that it's my favorite thing and I literally cannot shut up about it). 

3) Hope is not Dumb, it's Necessary. At some point in the book, Jesse is confronted with his utter rejection of Hope as a driving factor of humanity. 

“You wanna know why people believe in you? It’s because hope gives people something to hold on to. It makes them feel better. It gives them a reason to keep fighting. People need hope right now, Jesse. Desperately. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”

While on the one hand, I deeply understand Jesse's point of view, I also truly believe that Hope Is Necessary. And to be completely honest with you, it's with that type of dialogue that Rishi made me fall in love with her writing. Her way of putting things into perspective and moving me to the point of tears needs more recognition. 

“But isn’t that the point of hope? And faith, even? That you have it and you hold on to it and you protect it, even when it’s impossible? Isn’t that when you need hope the most? You can’t blame people for wanting to feel better.”“You know, the worst part of it all,” said Corbin, “isn’t that you were profiting off people’s hope. It’s that you look down on people for having any hope at all.” 

I feel like this book was emotionally violent for me on two different levels : 

✨ one is that it is really brutal : the reality of the matter IS that some kids have to grow up way too fast and that it's so fucking unfair but it is what it is. While the three MCs are teenagers, this book is also a testimony that sometimes kids have to grow up too fast, and they have to face things they're no ready to face that are yet inevitable. 

✨ two is that there's an inherent softness to what Rishi is saying. There's this quote in the book “remind the ones you love there’s something still worth fighting for” and it reminded me of Keanu Reeves (9:51) on Stephen Colbert. I don't know how to put it into words eloquently so I'll just shut up and ask you to read the book. 

My Only "Criticism"

I wish there had been more light-heartedness. Okay hear me out, yes it's the end of the world (or at least the end of A World aka as we know it) BUT there was some serious potential to (for lack of better words) "lighten" the story a bit (maybe that's just a personal preference and honestly the author did this very well at some point : “Man,” he choked. “Your body doesn’t give a shit about timing, does it? That’s why we’re in jail? Seriously? Did it not get the memo about the impending alien attack?” “Are you . . .” Cate blinked back her disbelief. “Adeem, are you asking me if my uterus knows about Alma?” )

ALSO I WANT TO FRAME THIS QUOTE :“What do you think we should do, just snooze our way through the freaking apocalypse?” (probably because it's what I would do)

In Conclusion

I loved this comment about the end of the world and the inherently brief nature of humanity. The ending did not fully satisfy me (actually it didn't satisfy me AT ALL) but I think it's the reason I liked it (paradoxical, I know). I'm a sucker for looking at a book in its entirety and not just focusing on One Thing I Disliked. And with I Hope You Get This Message, I enjoyed it in its entirety, and its message. 

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Profile Image for Claire⁷.
254 reviews
November 4, 2019
I Hope You Get This Message is overall an okay but forgettable read. It tackles some interesting issues, but doesn't really deliver a powerful message or gives a conclusion and/or closure for the main characters, which makes an already uneventful story rather underwhelming. It's really just a contemporary coming of age story with scarce mentions of aliens and destruction of the human race.

If We Are the Ants was right up your alley, I'd definitely suggest giving this a chance, though.

*Thank you to HarperTeen and HarperCollins for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for julianna ➹.
207 reviews268 followers
May 27, 2021
sadly i did not get a single existential crisis from either of these books, and if i don't feel disproportionately upset about the state of my life then what is the freaking point

> rep: pakistani-american & muslim main character (ownvoices), gay (white) main character
> cw/tw:


reading this book + the ones we're meant to find at the same time so i can get that supreme "Existential Crisis Over Climate Change" experience ✨
Profile Image for Anum Shaharyar.
99 reviews444 followers
May 22, 2023
“Half the time, I have no idea what I’m doing. Life does feel small in the grand scheme of things, and sometimes it feels like I don’t have control over anything.”

Sometimes you read a book and everything is just great, the characters are diverse and have complex internal lives, the relationships are complicated and worth rooting for, the plot moves along nicely, and yet you just… don’t care.

For me, this was that book.

It was so weird to be so bored with a story that I should, by all accounts, have really liked. The writing was strong, there was a great female friendship, and my favourite trope of all time—protagonists from different settings coming together at the end—was a significantly important part of the narrative. And yet, I felt like I was slogging through it all. I read almost three other books and a huge chunk of fan fiction before I could force myself to finish this. And forcing myself really was the only way I could have gotten through this, because I kept wanting to stop reading.

Not that it’s the most perfect book ever. The premise itself is pretty weak: an alien species has decided to blow the earth up within a week, and somehow managed to communicate this to NASA, which sends the whole world into a tail spin. Interspersed within the separate tales of three teenagers are scenes from a trial going on at the supposed planet, where a bunch of aliens argue back and forth about whether the earth should be blown up or not.

Seven billion lives were at the mercy of some distant planet, a speck they could hardly see with even the best telescopes. What did they want, really? They said Earth was going up for judgement: But what kind of judgement? What more could they want? The whole thing felt unfair. And why send a message of warning if humans could do nothing to change the outcome?

Even though all the scenes in the extraterrestrial setting felt repetitive and gimmicky, the whole ‘the world is ending’ aspect of the story was actually pretty well done in terms of its overall impact on the earth. Things started falling apart almost immediately, with riots breaking out, mass hysteria rising up, and families all torn asunder. That sense of urgency is repeated almost constantly throughout the novel, even though we mostly look at it from the perspective of three teenagers and the very specific ways that this news affects their lives. This type of storytelling, where the implications of such a large-scale event are portrayed through the very personalized narratives of singular characters, has always been a personal favourite of mine. Another reason why I should have loved this book, and weirdly did not like it at all. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that I spent pretty much a huge chunk of the time reading this book just thinking, ‘But you usually like stuff like this. Why are you so bored?’ Even the fact that a few smart sentences popped up here and there did not manage to assuage the tediousness I constantly felt.

“Honey, I’ve lived long enough to know that begging your oppressors to spare you never works. You either fight back, or remind the ones you love there’s something still worth fighting for.”

In fact, there were more reasons for me to like this book than others who have attempted the same thing, and that was because of the Muslim representation! Adeem, one of the three teenagers, is a Muslim, and as a reader, it’s exhilarating for me to see a Muslim character as a protagonist in a novel which doesn’t specifically focus on his religion as a selling point for the story. The world is coming to an end, and things are falling apart, and one of the three people telling us this story happens to be Muslim. It’s as simple as that, and that kind of subtle representation feels more valid than books specifically written with Muslim characters, because those can feel too performative or too focused on making a point. Adeem is simply a young boy who, confronted with the idea that the world is ending, decides to go find his runaway sister, and he also happens to be Muslim. I love that casualness, and yet. The flip side of this was that Adeem was, unfortunately, pretty much a Muslim in name only. Oh, what I would give to read a Muslimrep book which actually featured practicing Muslims. Muslims who pray and fast and read the Quran and yet still manage to have complex, defined lives without being defined by their religion. And I get that there are people all over the world who are Muslims and yet don’t actually follow any of the religious practices prescribed so strenuously, practices that I follow so fully myself, but creating a character as Muslim and not allowing them to actually follow any of the practices of the religion feels like such a cop-out. I am still waiting for that one novel, smart and well-written and entertaining, where one character just happens to casually get up to go pray or needs a break to open their fast, but for now, since that is such a pipe dream, I guess we’ll have to make do with what we have, which is a young adult novel that brings attention to islamophobia in the midst of a possible alien invasion.

He’d last been listening to a report of the sudden increase in violence—specifically, violence targeting Muslim communities. Three prominent West Coast mosques had burned down, the target of fanatical arsonist who believe that the end of days was here—and that Muslims had brought it.

What was even more interesting was the fact that not only was Adeem Muslim, a huge part of his narrative also focused on homosexuality. With seven days left until the world ends, in his part of the narrative Adeem sets off to find Leyla, his older, beloved sister who ran away from home after coming out to her parents. From the perspective of a story about a sibling’s coming out and the ensuing dramatic aftermath, the author handles stuff really well. Adeem is left confused and regretful, wishing he had done things differently and angry at his sister for not contacting him even once. I know that there are a significant number of stories out there where the character worries about coming out, only to find out that their loved ones are much more open to the idea than they had thought. But there are also a lot more stories about coming out to only be rejected, banished, or assaulted. All those possibilities are versions I have read, but I’ll be the first to admit that this was the first time I was reading one where the parents of a Muslim family aren’t immediately vengeful and sadistic.

Adeem had blamed himself, too. Not for saying the wrong thing, but for saying nothing. No that’s okay, Leyla. No we love you anyway. He’d been in shock. He’d been angry she hadn’t told him before. He’d made it about him. Maybe that was why she’d run away—so her life would finally belong to her.

In fact, I can easily admit that this book put me in a very confusing position, where the open-mindedness of the parents felt too surreal to be believable. The truth is that Pakistan, where I grew up, is not a country that is kind to homosexuality. Trapped between culture and religion, most of the population would rather stone to death anyone who publicly claims to be attracted to the opposite gender rather than consider the possibility of accepting such a life style. Homophobia is rampant and widely accepted, and the books I read with positive LGBTQ representation might as well be written about people living on Mars. This puts me in a very awkward position: ideally, I want representation of Muslim parents who are open to homosexuality and not the stereotypical products of our society, but when I do get it I roll my eyes because it sounds so unbelievable, so not reflective of the reality I know. I get the dichotomy, I’m aware of it; as aware as I am of the fact that there must be Muslim parents out there who don’t have an immediate ‘we banish you forever’ response to their child��s emergence from the closet. But the reality I inhabit doesn’t allow this fact to seem plausible, which makes the story so very hard for me to swallow. I suppose this just makes the argument for books like these to be more widely available, so that this possible reaction also becomes something we can accept.

The worst part? His parents hadn’t even said the wrong things. It wasn’t as though when Leyla had admitted in shaky whispers that her best friend, Priti, was way more than just a friend, they’d told her to leave and never come back. They weren’t like Qasim Uncle, who’d cast out his own son a few years ago, openly called him horrible things in front of the whole mosque.

Another thing that was done differently was the representation of mental health in authority figures, and how it can affect the children around them. The only other story I remember that comes close to such a treatment is Marchetta’s Saving Francesca, one of my all-time favourite young adult novels, where the heroine’s mother suffers from depression. Over here Cate, the only female protagonist in the story, has a mother suffering from schizophrenia, in what is once again a really well-handled narrative arc. Cate is a wonderful character, multifaceted and capable of being both responsible as well as impulsive and reckless in all her teenage glory. Of course, that still doesn’t mean I enjoyed reading any of her chapters, but then again none of my reactions to this book made any sense to me, so there you have it.

Mom, who loved sci-fi movies, who asked too many questions about Cate’s nonexistent social life, who made the best mind chocolate chip brownies. Mom, who heard voices in the walls, and starved herself, and begged Cate to forgive her in spite of everything.

In fact, this book deserved even more points than usual because Cate was that rare breed of teenaged characters in young adult who actually like their parents. Even though Cate’s mother ends up in a hospital at the very beginning of the last week on earth and sends Cate on a wild-goose chase looking after her absent father, her presence permeates every moment of Cate’s story. This story, of children forced to grow up too quickly because of parents who are unable to bear responsibility, is one I have read in multiple other places, but in almost all of these situations the parents are seen as burdensome and a restriction to the teenager’s ability to live their life to the fullest. Cate’s story also includes that perspective to a degree, but there was one particular part which had me blinking in surprise, amazed that a young adult novel could look at things from such a refreshing angle.

She had to be strong for Mom. She had to be strong for her because, for better or worse, that’s who Cate was: stupidly, stubbornly dutiful, until the end. And that was okay. Living for her mom wasn’t such a bad thing. She loved her.

So Adeem was great because of the Muslimrep and Cate was great because of the complexity (and also because her angle included the female friendship bit that I loved), but it was the third character whom I should have loved the most. Jesse, single child of a single mother, is a troublemaker, full of angst and yet kind at the centre, just the way I like my characters to be. His story includes a diabolical scheme to make money in desperate times (good guy forced to do bad things), a cute love interest (so the romance aspect) and proper gay representation. All of these things I should have cared for, but from the very beginning, when it is established that Jesse lives in Roswell, I just could not invest. I vaguely remembered the place Roswell from that American TV show a few years ago that I never actually watched, and only ever associated with aliens in my head. In this book, Roswell is the central hub of all our alien activity: it is the place where Jesse lives, and the other two are drawn towards. So Jesse was just the right mixture of cynical and wanting to believe, angry and desperate for affection. So much possibility for me to like the book. Sadly, none of it translated into the reality of the reading experience.

Could it be real? He was a Roswell kid, for Christ’s sake. Half the tourists that came through believed in little green men. He knew better than to fall for this shit.

The final nail in the coffin was the ending, which I can’t exactly discuss in detail except to say that I don’t care for the ‘guess what happened next’ vibe in fiction. I want to know what happened. Real life is confusing and ambiguous enough; books are supposed to wrap things up in one neat little package so I can carry that version of the end in my head, nicely balancing out the more perplexing aspects of actually living in this world. I kept waiting, throughout the book, to reach that point where I would get hooked, or I would at least sufficiently care enough to want to flip the page, but it just never came. Which is honestly a sad state of affairs, and all in all I hope I never have to go through this experience ever again.

Recommendation: I honestly couldn’t say. By all accounts it’s a very smart novel, which managed to bore me to death. That’s the only caveat I can give. Read if you must.

“I know it’s stupid. But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that fear”–she gestured around them–“makes people kind of lose their heads.”


I review Pakistani Fiction, and talk about Pakistani fiction, and want to talk to people who like to talk about fiction (Pakistani and otherwise, take your pick.) To read more reviews or just contact me so you can talk about books, check out my Blog or follow me on Twitter!
Profile Image for TL .
1,879 reviews53 followers
October 30, 2019
Liked the story well enough (real life kept interfering with my reading time for various reasons). Part of the ending had me smiling, ther part felt "Meh" about.
March 18, 2020
Wow Ik I gave three books 5 stars this month but this was truly amazing.
I love how we had LGBT+ characters.
I also love those two Star Wars references.
The one thing that bother me was that cate when into a stranger car and I'm like: NOOOO
Sorry if that line was a little spoiler but oops.
5/5 stars
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,869 reviews693 followers
May 19, 2020
Actual rating: 3.5

This book deals with an impending judgment from an alien species that will decide if humanity gets to live or die. Which is a very interesting take on apocalyptic stories, because usually it's about chance and bad luck rather than another species deciding we as humanity have failed and deserve to die. And for the most part, I thought the way this was explored in the book was really interesting as well. The storylines of the three main characters combine in an interesting way, and they all have their own issues and motivations when it comes to how they want to spend their last week.

One thing I was a little disappointed in though, is that this book kind of stayed on the surface. It introduces several serious topics, but I felt like it didn't end up exploring all of those to their full potential.

Rep: gay MC, Pakistani Muslim MC, gay Pakistani side character, Asian side character, brown side character

CWs: genocide, schizophrenia/mental illness, shooting/gunshots, poverty, violence/assault, past death of a parent, absent parent, racism, homophobia/homophobic slurs, animal death, hospitals, cancer, surgery, depression, self harm, attempted suicide
Profile Image for Meb.
180 reviews4 followers
January 31, 2019
"Your pain is where the light enters you."

This book. I don't have words for how much I love it.

It's beautifully written, laced with sadness, and anger, and most of all hope. Farah Naz Rishi is a simply incredible writer. This book is important. I can't wait for more people to read it.
Profile Image for Nev.
1,111 reviews152 followers
October 27, 2019
4.5 - An alien planet has sent a communication to Earth saying they’re going to exterminate humanity in seven days. Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths cross as they’re trying to get to unfinished business before the supposed end of the world.

This is definitely a sci-fi story that is more about the characters and their emotional journeys rather than the aliens themselves. It’s probably an overused comparison at this point, but if you enjoyed Shaun David Hutchinson’s We Are the Ants, then I’d say to give this book a shot. It similarly deals with mental health, difficult family relationships, friendships, and queer characters while also having a light sci-fi element.

My only real complaint is that I wish there was a little bit more emotional resolution at the end of the book. We definitely do get some, but I think even just 10 more pages to wrap up the different emotional journeys and relationships between the characters would’ve improved this a lot for me.

This is an extremely strong debut and I look forward to reading more from Farah Naz Rishi in the future.
Profile Image for tappkalina.
666 reviews415 followers
June 11, 2023
Good story with weak writing. The 3 povs were too much, because the characters were not fleshed out enough, and jumping between them slowed down the story, since I didn't particulary care about any of them. I'm sure with a little plotting it could have been a single pov that contained all of their stories in a more exciting way.

However, I liked the plot, the way everything connected at the end. I especially liked the ending, that I won't spoil now, but it was perfect for this kind of story.
Profile Image for Josiah.
3,220 reviews147 followers
February 10, 2020
In a style somewhat reminiscent of Shaun David Hutchinson, Farah Naz Rishi orchestrates an end-of-days scenario featuring a cast of teens as confused about how they fit into our world as they are about the imminent apocalypse. Tension fills every corner of society after a message is beamed to Earth from a heretofore unknown alien planet called Alma. When scientists decode Alma's statement as a pronouncement that they will terminate mankind in one week, our civilization self-destructs. Looting occurs everywhere and supply shipments to grocery stores and gas stations end, leaving us a much more primitive society. Brief transcripts from the Almaean trial are included between some chapters of the book, revealing that their council of Scions is undecided about whether to exterminate the human world, which the Almaeans refer to as "Project Epoch." On Earth, however, people know nothing of this council that could save their species. Jesse Hewitt felt trapped in life before the extinction announcement, and knowing he has seven days left doesn't change that. Living in Roswell, New Mexico on the brink of bankruptcy with his mother, Jesse's life has been a procession of lukewarm sexual encounters with guys his age from in town and out. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, California, Cate Collins and her best friend Ivy Huang compile a list of experiences they want to have before Alma turns out the lights on Earthlings, but Cate worries about her mother, whose schizophrenia is worsening. Only the doctors know her mother's diagnosis, and it's becoming harder for Cate to keep watch over her mother without letting the secret spill. Not far from where Cate lives, Adeem Khan is a standout computer and coding student in high school, whose innovative mind is eclipsed by apathy in other areas of his life. He doesn't have the heart to pursue academic excellence, not after his sister Leyla deserted the family. Raised a religious Muslim, Leyla left town and didn't look back after admitting that she and her female friend, Priti, were romantically involved. Adeem understands that Leyla was hurt by her family's immediate reaction, but why didn't she give them a chance to adjust? With the world ending in a week, why has Leyla still not reached out to her family?

Jesse's lackluster life takes a turn when he finds a radio apparatus that belonged to his father. Jesse's father died a while ago, leaving the family crippled with debt and a mortgage now on the verge of foreclosure, but could Jesse use the radio to solve those problems? He spreads the word that he's going into the business of broadcasting messages to Alma for anyone willing to spend money for the privilege. The new Hewitt Electronic Communication Center (HECC), his name for the radio, drops a pleasant surprise into Jesse's lap when a good-looking guy named Corbin Lee asks him to transmit a message to Alma on behalf of Corbin's kid sister Mari, who has cancer. Corbin's suspicions relax when Jesse waives the fee to send Mari's message, and he visits Jesse several times in the next few days. They form a bond, but is there time for a real relationship with the apocalypse looming? Jesse thinks the Almaean extinction event is a government hoax, and he knows his radio setup is one, but for the first time he feels an emotional connection to another guy, and he's not ready for it to end. In San Francisco, Cate and Adeem cross paths when the city's anxiety reaches a boiling point, and the two strangers find themselves driving together to Roswell, New Mexico. Adeem has reason to believe his sister Leyla is there, and he wants to persuade her to go home and reconcile with her family if the world truly does end a few days from now. Cate would rather be with her mother at the hospital than heading to Nevada in a car sure to run out of gas soon, but the last coherent thing her mother said was a plea for Cate to find her own father in Roswell, a man Cate knows almost nothing about. Cate and Adeem have powerful reasons for their road trip, but does Roswell hold what they're looking for?

"Maybe sometimes you had to live for someone else until you learned to live for yourself. Sometimes, they could be one and the same."

I Hope You Get This Message, P. 362

The road gets rougher as the days dwindle toward zero hour. Jesse rakes in huge quantities of cash from his HECC; people will pay any amount to transmit messages to Alma, suppressing their own doubts about the radio system. Jesse will be able to pay off all his father's debts if the Almaean threat doesn't materialize, but past mistakes catch up to him when two friends of a guy Jesse once assaulted demand that he pay the medical bills. They want every penny earned by the HECC, and make it clear the consequences will be bloody if Jesse doesn't cooperate. It seems the radio scam won't get him out of debt after all, unless he can avoid paying the two goons without jeopardizing his own life and his mother's. On the road toward Roswell, Cate and Adeem face dangers of their own, but they have time during the car ride to examine their motives for leaving home just when their families should be coming together. Is it actually important for Cate to find her father? It was one of her mother's final lucid wishes, but what if it wasn't lucid? What if this quest is a product of her schizophrenic thoughts, and Cate is making a mistake by chasing after her father instead of being with her mother as the Almaean countdown clock ticks down? Adeem is convinced he's helping reunite his family by pursuing Leyla, but is it wise to gamble his final days on the chance that she might agree to return home? Urgency rises for Jesse, Cate, and Adeem as days turn into hours before Alma has promised to smite civilization. Will these teens find peace before mankind is snuffed out?

What is life's meaning, and how do we obtain it? Are humans naturally depraved, or just quick to emulate bad behaviors of previous generations while adding our own, snowballing into a mound of dirty ice that has too much momentum to be stopped? In transcripts from Alma's council debate to determine the fate of Project Epoch, these ideas are passionately argued. Humans have proven to be contemptible creatures, but are we irredeemable? Are character flaws proof we should be wiped out of existence, or is there a happier solution to human evil? Even the sagacious Almaeans have no absolute answer. As humans, the best we can do is seek a life of purpose, but what defines purpose? Ty, whom Cate and Adeem meet on the road, states the problem in clear terms. "Earth society has programmed us to keep our heads down and remain as these mindless drones. Everyone tells us we all have to follow the same blueprint: You gotta go to school. Graduate. Go to college, if you want the best job. Get married. Make babies. Work some more, get promoted. Then you retire. We want, and want, and want, and then we die. Then people say, Oh, what a great life that person led. But that's not living. It's just a way to exist." The hunt for meaning is engraved on the human heart, but most of what we do is neutral or counter to that goal. It's imperative that individuals look past societal norms and live with purpose, or our lives are just a brief coming and going, marked by pain and pleasure, with nothing permanent to show for them. If violent alien intervention is required to get untracked from a tragically dull procession toward the grave, then maybe Jesse, Cate, Adeem, and their friends are the luckiest generation of all.

I Hope You Get This Message is fairly well-written, if less intense than I expected for a book about humans facing a hard deadline to their existence. I didn't feel compelled to continue flipping pages at all hours of the night, a trademark of most great novels. Some story elements are unclear in the end, and I wasn't overwhelmed by the emotion, but I like Farah Naz Rishi's style. I Hope You Get This Message leans a bit too much on dated cultural references, but they're not integral to the plot, so that's a relatively minor criticism. If you want to be immersed in an urbane, thoughtful read about human nature, you'll enjoy this book. It's certainly not an all-time favorite, but my perspective was enriched by it, and that's all I ask from the books I engage with.
Profile Image for TJ.
711 reviews54 followers
December 21, 2019
For a book about the end of the world, the stakes in this book feel nonexistent. It wanted to be something like We Are the Ants or The Rest of Us Just Live Here, or even a combination of those two titles, but... I just didn’t care about anything in this book. And it was SO. SLOW. The dialogue was decent and the characters were okay, but nothing made it stand out. It’s just a basic debut; it tried, but meh. I appreciate the diverse cast and what this book wanted to be, but I don’t think it succeeded in reaching its potential. I hear there’s a show in development at Amazon; I actually do think this could translate well to film and could even maybe benefit from a visual medium. 3/5 stars.
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,189 reviews1,020 followers
October 15, 2019
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

But the thing about the end of the world was this: either everything mattered, or nothing did.

Are we all so excited for the release of I Hope You Get This Message? Because frankly, we need to be. This is the possible-end-of-days book I have been dying for. I love the concept, but in the books I have read, the execution hasn't quite met my expectations. Not so here! The author really nails all the chaos and contemplation that the threat of end times would really bring with it.

Your problems don't disappear just because death might be imminent. In fact, they become more urgent in many cases. In this book, we're treated to the perspectives of three young people: Cate, Jesse, and Adeem. They're all incredibly different, which makes their stories each so compelling. I loved them each in their own way, even when they didn't make the best choices. Because even when humanity's sheer existence could be ending, here they all are, still trying to live fully. And what that means to each one is so, so compelling and thought provoking. What would matter to you most at the end of days? How far would you go to make the last few moments, if that's what they end up being, count?

As you can imagine, relationships are a huge focus. Family, friends, romantic partners, even enemies find themselves in each others' company as the clock counts down. Obviously, you can imagine that some of these relationships are just heartwarming and lovely, but some are really complicated too. Of course, as you have mere hours to make sure you've said everything you need to say, it's imperative to make every word, every action count. Because of this, every single interaction in the book seems really important and worthwhile.

The story itself is powerful and moving, even hopeful in spite of the circumstances. There is a ton of diversity, from mental health issues, to LGBT+ characters, to a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. And it's extra powerful because when the end of the world comes, it comes for us all.

Bottom Line: A compelling and thought provoking story mixed with a ton of emotional pull, this is one you absolutely cannot miss.
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