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The Edge Of Everything > Readalong Part 1 (2/1 - 2/6)

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message 1: by Dana (new)

Dana (andbookhoarding) | 3 comments Mod
HI readers! I’m Dana, and I’ll moderating Part One as well as Part Three of this Edge of Everything readalong. I can’t wait to discuss this with you guys! In the comments, PLEASE only discuss Part One. I don’t want to get spoiled, and I’m sure no one else does either. :]

READING RECAP:

A blizzard is falling over the mountains of Montana, and Zoe’s brother Jonah (who suffers from ADHD) goes to play outside with the two dogs for a bit. Her mother is out grabbing groceries, fully expecting that they’ll all soon be trapped in the house for a while because of the snow. Zoe texts her friends for a bit, and during that time we also learn about her father who passed away very recently (in November) and her elderly neighbors, Bert and Betty, who went missing after someone had intruded their home. Zoe goes to check on Jonah after a bit too long, and doesn’t see him because of the white out conditions.

She searches for him, becoming more frantic and delusional as the freezing weather closes in on her. She’s going in the direction of Bert and Betty’s, as her and Jonah know that route best; they stayed there frequently throughout the years. As she gets closer to that destination she notices a figure slumped in the snow. As she draws near, she realizes it’s the two dogs intertwined, huddling for warmth. Then she spots Jonah, curled up beneath them.

With a surge of adrenaline Zoe rushes Jonah to their old neighbor’s home, which was shockingly unlocked, where they could finally get warm. With no electricity, no cell signal, and no water it wasn’t the perfect hideaway, but at least they were safe - for like, a second. Zoe fell asleep, had a horrible nightmare, and woke up to one of the dogs barking out of defense, because our antagonist has arrived on the scene. ‘Stan the Man’ hit one of the poor dogs with his truck, with absolutely no remorse, and then talked to Zoe like a ‘low life perve’. He knew her name, and knew her father, which were two intriguing factors. Jonah surprise attacked Stan with a rock to the head, and then Stan showed aggression, demanding the location of the other dog. Zoe and Jonah came to the conclusion that this man doesn’t fight fair, and therefore they could only keep each other safe by stepping out of the ring. Jonah fell asleep, and Zoe watched from the window as Stan started in on the dogs.

Suddenly, while Stan’s back was turned, the scene changes as a man (who we now refer to as X) approached the frozen lake where Stan is attempting to drown the dogs. The tables turn as X takes the dog out of the lake, warms him and then gets Stan into the lake. X shows Stan a scene on his bare back. It shows the recent past, where Stan breaks into Bert and Betty’s home, leaving them lifeless as they try to escape the horrible situation he created. X turns to Zoe, silently asking her if she’d like to be the one to finish him off. Instead, she decided to spare him, confusing X and leaving Stan to the weather’s demise as he ran into the white covered woods.

X and Zoe have their first interaction, and we discover that he was sent there by a higher power for the purpose of eliminating Stan. X carries Zoe and Jonah back to their home, and that’s where they lay sleeping when their mother comes back from the grocery store, wrapping up their wounds and watching over them as they rest.

When Zoe woke up at 3am to some ruckus downstairs, she was told that the police were there to question her. She had emailed them before bed with a picture of Stan the Man’s license, and a description that led him to be the guilty party of Bert and Betty’s death. She didn't think she could tell them that she knew this because she saw it played on X’s back like a TV, so she left him out of the story completely. However, she forgot that she intstagrammed a picture of X, and one of the officer’s daughters had commented on it. The officers refused to believe in the element of magic after Jonah had tried to explain it (he woke up after some time) and frustrated, they left. Their mother then led them to the garage, where she had been hiding X the entire time.

THOUGHTS:

This book is fast paced, and it reads in the same way that I talk, which I LOVED. It’s really modern without trying to be too modern. It’s also semi quirky, but at the same time when describing heavy feelings it’s beautiful and so very accurate.

Personally, I’m not someone who can be thrown into a fantastical world. I need some sort of safe ground to tread through first, and the beginning of this novel allowed me to do that. I loved the contemporary, thrilling beginning I was given before elevating into a magical element.

Something that I really enjoyed is how pop culture was incorporated without references being thrown in every two seconds. So far it all feels very natural, she checked Snapchat and Instagram as a time killer just as I would.

Another thing I’m loving is having a side character with mental struggles (Jonah with ADHD) and also openly LGBTQ+ side characters (Zoe’s best friend Val and her girlfriend). I love a diverse cast, and while I see that Jonah is going to be a focal point in the book I hope we get to see more of Zoe’s friends as well! I’d even like to see more of Dallas, he seems like a lovable goofball.

Is it just me, or does it seem way too early to rule out Stan the Man as a threat? He was a scary, realistic antagonist with a driving force. And although ‘The Man’ was defeated, he’s not yet dead. I have this underlying feeling that we’ll be seeing more of him.

The fact that X is now in the house with them ( and the fact that he’s a factor at all - albeit and unknown one) leaves SO MANY doors open. The end of this part makes me want to just jump to the next! What do you guys think about him?

- X mentioned that he was from the Lowlands. Do you think he was born there, or exiled there for something in his past?

- Do you think the Lowlands are located in our world, or somewhere totally foreign?
If killing Stan was X’s purpose, will he be ‘exiled’ from the Lowlands until the deed is done?
Do you think Stan was the main antagonist, or is there someone (or something) scarier coming their way?

- Who’s your favorite character so far? I’m LOVING Jonah, as well as the mom.

- Is Zoe and Jonah’s Dad actually dead?? I know this is a stretch, but they didn’t find the body. and the fact that Stan knew the father leads us to believe that the Dad’s life was separate from the children’s life.

Curiouser and curiouser! PLEASE let me know your thoughts, I can’t wait to discuss this first part with you all!


message 2: by Heather (new)

Heather (bookables) I agree! This book is already so fast paced (which I love!). I am a lover of fantasy books but don't love how much worldbuilding some books need so I love the mixture of contemporary and fantasy.
The lowlands defiantly intrigue me. It sounds so scary and how did X end up there?!
Overall I can't wait to see what part 2 holds!
Great discussion Dana!!


message 3: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Sorry I just saw the note about the reading schedule - so I will playing catch up as I have not started the book but looking forward to diving in!


message 4: by Heather (new)

Heather (bookables) Beverly wrote: "Sorry I just saw the note about the reading schedule - so I will playing catch up as I have not started the book but looking forward to diving in!"


No worries! Join in at anytime!


message 5: by Corinna (new)

Corinna | 2 comments Hi there - I am late to this discussion. I got the book after we should have been done with this first section. So far, I am LOVING it. In fact, I could not stop reading to come post on section 1 so I kept reading, therefore, I am unable to answer the questions posed b/c I already know some of the answers and do not want to spoil anything for anyone else.

My thoughts on Part I:

First, I just love the book. I am pretty new to YA fantasy and I have heard a lot of things have been done over and over. Since I am new, this concept is pretty new to me. I LOVE the plot and I think it is unique. I also loved that it is in Montana in snow. I have not read a story in that setting am enjoying it. I am not sure what the author does to create such a vivid picture in my head... but it's not often that I can get a VERY vivid picture of the world around me but this book I could from the very beginning. I love the world and am so intrigued to see where the story is going.

I love the characters. I feel attached to them already... I hope I get more attached though. I too feel like Stan will be back. There is no way they can drop that story line. Too much we do not know yet! I can't imagine they brought Stan in to simply introduce 'X'.

I agree with Dana, in that, there is a very good balance in the quirkiness, feeling of emotion and seriousness, all while bringing in humor. There have been a few times I have laughed out loud!

I am so excited to finish Part II so I can post there! This time, I will post immediately since I am near a computer! I love this book and I already feel like I don't want it to end... I am happy there will be a follow up book... (I did not make that up, did I? I thought I recall someone mentioning it's the first book of a possible duology??)


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