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How It Ends

Review

How It Ends

HOW IT ENDS is an insightful and heart wrenching novel centered around the pressures and shifting tides of an adolescent social life. Author Catherine Lo masterfully paints the hardships of crafting a reputation and the travesty of losing one.

Jessie remembers when she didn't hate her classmates. She can almost picture a time when her now biggest enemies were her closest friends. But sophomore year seems like it will be just another year of torture and ridicule. How can people still criticize you for a bad hair decision you made in sixth grade? She is so used to constant harassment at school from the popular kids that when a new --- and seemingly popular group material --- girl shows up on the first day of sophomore year Jessie makes sure to keep head down and not make eye contact. But all of this changes when the new girl asks to sit next to Jessie at lunch. This new girl does not think Jessie is weird or an outcast and for the first time since sixth grade Jessie brings a friend to her house after school. Maybe sophomore year is shaping up to be a little better than she first thought.

“HOW IT ENDS was a brilliant and miserably realistic novel. It showed the brutal side of friendship and an honest element of the fragility of relationships.”

Annie didn't ask for her dad to remarry after her mom died. She did not ask for a new obnoxious older stepsister. And she certainly did not ask to move away from her school, the city and her best friends. It seems she can never escape the tyrannical rule of her new stepmother and her dictates. On the first day of school, Annie can spot the so-called popular group right away and it seems the whole school is buzzing with the addition of a new mysterious girl to the grade. One girl in particular catches Annie's eye. She sits alone a lot and doesn't really talk to anyone. So who better to sit with during her first lunch at a new school? After talking to her, discovering her avid interest in books and seeing her amazing wall of her favorite book quotes, Annie can begin to see a glimmer of hope for the coming school year. Who knows? Maybe this year could turn out a little different than she first expected.

When Annie and Jessie first meet it seems to be a match made in heaven for both of them. Annie has all of the confidence and courage that Jessie has lacked since sixth grade. And Jessie has the quiet kindness and subtle gentleness that Annie's sanity needs with her complicated family life. But their personalities seem to clash when the popular group begins to try to adopt the mysterious new girl into their fold. Jessie never thought a boy could come between her and Annie, but she also never thought that Annie would go after the the first  guy to show Jessie attention in years. Was their friendship really so fragile? Could it be destroyed by one remark or one cruel glance? Was Annie really the one hurting Jessie or did Jessie close herself off to the relationship before it began?

HOW IT ENDS was a brilliant and miserably realistic novel. It showed the brutal side of friendship and an honest element of the fragility of relationships. It made me cry and laugh along with the amazing characters. I felt the sadness and reality of this book from the moment I read the first page to the moment I read the last. Lo did an incredible job of crafting realistic characters with realistic flaws and strengths. I enjoyed getting to know and understand the characters by experiencing life from their point of view. I loved this book and would read it again in a heartbeat. I would recommend this book to any teenager!

Reviewed by Lauren H., Teen Board Member on June 17, 2016

How It Ends
by Catherine Lo