The Children’s Book Review | January 31, 2017
Written by Jeff Giles
Age Range: 14-18
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (2017)
What to expect: Supernatural, Romance, Mystery, Strong Female Characters
The young adult market is flooded with tales of romance between supernatural monsters and human girls. Stories about devils are dime-a-dozen. It is, therefore, thrilling to find a novel which presents these themes in a fresh, believable, and engaging way. Jeff Giles’ The Edge of Everything replaces the stock romantic hero and heroine with characters which are complex, believable, and relatable. At the same time, his depiction of Hell is both intriguing and rich, inviting readers to question their beliefs and reimagine the conventional.
Zoe has had a horrendous year. Not only has her much-loved father been killed in a caving accident and his body left retrieved by the police, she had also had to come to terms with the disappearance of her two close family friends – the elderly Bert and Betty Wallace, whom she had loved like grandparents, and who had disappeared from their neighboring home, leaving behind signs of violence but no clue as to their whereabouts. Then, when a blizzard leaves her stranded with her brother Jonah in the Wallace’s home, Zoe is threatened by the sinister and threatening “Stan the Man”, whose eyes, when he looks at her, leave “slime trails like snails” (30), and who admits to the murder of Bert and Betty. Helpless and terrified, Zoe watches as Stan drags her dogs to the lake, ready to drown them for their attempt to protect her. That’s when X appears. A bounty-hunter send from the Lowlands to punish evildoers like Stan, X has no name, superhuman strength, and burns with a supernatural sickness. X has only one purpose in life – to punish the evil and drag them down to Hell. Yet, in this first terrifying encounter, a bond is forged between him and Zoe that threatens the safety of both. Now, to save both of their lives, X must learn the truth about his own mysterious incarceration in Hell – and how he can free himself forever.
The Edge of Everything tempers an absorbing romantic plotline with gritty realism and characters who sign with life. Zoe, in particular, is everything a female protagonist should be: strong, resourceful, and unafraid to speak her mind, she is a true heroine whose story will call out to readers. For lovers of supernatural romance, therefore, this novel comes highly recommended as a masterpiece amongst a plethora of unremarkable offerings.
About Jeff Giles
Jeff Giles grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Most recently, he was the deputy managing editor of Entertainment Weekly, where he oversaw all coverage of movies and books, including the magazine’s championing of YA fiction. Jeff has written for Rolling Stone and The New York Times Books Review. He also coauthored The Terrorist’s Son, a nonfiction book that won an Alex Award from the American Library Association and has since been translated into more than a dozen languages. While reporting on the Lord of the Rings movies for Newsweek, Jeff was invited to be an extra in The Return of the King. He played a Rohan soldier, and–because he didn’t have a beard or mustache–they glued yak hair to his face. Jeff lives with his family in Montana.
The Edge of Everything, by Jeff Giles, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like The Edge of Everything by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Magic, and Young Adult Fiction.