Review by Booklist Review
Avery Byrne is about to take her own life when she learns that a massive asteroid is plummeting toward Earth. Everyone's world, not just hers, will end in nine days. With so little time, Avery focuses on helping those around her: her roommate, Aisha, desperate to catch a flight to Nigeria; the American lit professor who failed her, hoping to escape to Louisiana with his dog; and Cass, the best friend she's in love with meeting her in their hometown. What ensues is a journey in every sense of the word as the world dissolves into chaos and the secrets in Avery's life--her queerness, her depression and planned suicide, and her aunt Devin's own demise--have no place left to hide. Alternating between Avery's past and present, St. Jude examines the viciousness of depression and the inexplicable way it has of being exacerbated by everything and nothing. From first times and underage drinking to being gay and Catholic, this story is raw, but unflinching, too, until the bitter end.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
On the morning that white 19-year-old Avery Byrne intends to take her own life by drowning in the river that winds through her Ivy League college campus, her phone blares with the same urgent message received across the world: a planet-destroying asteroid will strike Earth in nine days. Before she can follow through with her suicide plan, Avery's Indian and Mexican best friend, Cass Joshi-Aguilar, calls to assure her that their recent falling-out is insignificant in light of the impending end of the world. Cass urges Avery to meet her in Boston so the pair can travel to their New Hampshire hometown together. Chapters alternate between the past and the present, as indicated via a countdown toward impact. Past entries depict Avery's struggles with her burgeoning queer identity, as well as her depression and Catholic upbringing, while the present is punctuated by panic, survival efforts, and widespread existential dread. Avery's complicated yet fierce relationship with Cass and the fraught energy between Avery and her parents are rendered in clear and emotive detail, yet most notable is St. Jude's heart-achingly precise interpretation of one teenager's experience with depression and suicidal ideation. Hope for a bright future is always evident in this sometimes dark, thought-provoking debut. Ages 14--up. (May)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 10 Up--College freshman Avery, 19, is on the verge of dying by suicide when she receives a call telling her that an enormous asteroid is due to strike the planet in nine days, ending life as the world knows it. Avery and her roommate Aisha, a Nigerian international student with hopes of flying home, travel through the chaotic highways to find Avery's best friend Cass and finally reach Avery's parents in the suburbs where they are constructing a bunker. Avery's life story is told through a series of flashbacks detailing her history of suicidal ideation, and how she fell in love with her best friend. While the plan to survive the apocalypse slowly unravels, Avery and Cass finally declare their love for each other and attempt to have one last week together. St. Jude's writing is riveting, and the characters are well drawn. This book could be triggering for some readers, not only for those with suicidal ideation but also those with religious trauma. There are also threats of violence and consensual sex described on the page. The novel is an accurate depiction of the mind set and experiences of a person with depression, but it is perhaps too accurate in the way that every adult in a position of power over Avery fails her, even when she is actively seeking help. Where this book shines is the beautiful love story between two out lesbian characters that feels very grounded in their lifelong friendship. VERDICT Recommended; this beautifully written story is one to share (with care).--Jeri Murphy
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Just as college freshman Avery Byrne is going to end her life, sirens blare, warning of an unimaginable crisis: An 8-mile-wide asteroid is set to hit Earth in nine days. Avery, a former straight-A student, is a promising soccer recruit at an elite college in New Hampshire, and yet she finds herself friendless, on academic probation, struggling to find authentic queer love, and desperately missing her childhood bestie, Cass Joshi-Aguilar, who is living in New York City. Avery's suicide plan tragically mirrors her Aunt Devin's own back in her family's homeland of Ireland--a heartbreaking family trauma that has provided a somber backdrop to Avery's life. Through asynchronous chapters that switch between the present-day apocalyptic survival adventure and Avery's childhood and teenage years, this courageous tale illuminates a young queer woman's quest out of self-loathing toward self-acceptance. It boldly asks: When the end is near, how do we live, and whom do we hold most dear? Alongside the bleakness of the asteroid's impending impact and the melancholy of Avery's deep depression, St. Jude deftly navigates difficult topics such as death, generational trauma, mental health, and queerness in a conservative Catholic family. Supporting characters who are diverse in ethnicity and sexuality add real depth: Aisha, Avery's Nigerian roommate and fellow soccer player, is asexual, and gregarious free spirit Cass is an Indian and Mexican lesbian. A textured book offering readers hope in the face of impossibility. (resources) (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.