Seventeen-year-old Aisha hasn’t seen her sister June for two years. And now that a calamity is about to end the world in nine months’ time, she and her mother decide that it’s time to track her down and mend the hurts of the past. Along with Aisha’s boyfriend, Walter and his parents (and Fleabag the stray cat), the group take a roadtrip through Malaysia in a wildly decorated campervan – to put the past to rest, to come to terms with the present, and to hope for the future.
I read this book as part of the Summer Mixtape Readathon that I was participating in. I chose this book as my ‘free space’ pick as the suggestion was to choose a book that reminded you of a summer bop. The front cover of this book made me think of We Like to Party (The Vengabus), because I cannot look at a cool campervan without thinking of the Vengabus!
This was a cover buy a wee while ago because I just felt that the cover was so cute! Then the blurb sounded utterly charming. I had to take it home with me.
I enjoyed this book. I really enjoyed the characters and despite the book being quite short, I really felt like I got to know Aisha and her sister, June. I felt like they really went through a character arc and really grew. They felt like fully rounded characters. Walter’s parents just seemed so nice, with a healthy obsession with juicers.
I really enjoyed the plot of this book. The world was ending and Aisha really just wanted to be reunited with her sister. June had left their family home some years ago and Aisha hadn’t heard from her since. I felt that the book handled family estrangement and grief really well. I appreciated the different ways that people handled the impending end of the world; some were angry, some were accepting, and some decided to try to survive. I’ve read a few end of the world books but this felt different.
There were a lot of flashbacks which helped to explain the family breakdown and various relationships. This also helped to explain why Aisha felt that she knew where June would be found. I really enjoyed learning about the history of the sisters and their grandparents. I enjoyed the description of the grandparents’ home as it just sounded like such a dream home with the adorable door!
I must admit that I had hoped for some more cat action from a book titled The Cats We Meet Along the Way but there was just Fleabag. Fleabag was a very entertaining kind of cat but I had expected him to play more of a role or for maybe more cats to be found on the road trip.
I had a good time reading this book and despite it taking place at the end of the world, Malaysia really sounded absolutely gorgeous as a location. I enjoyed the ending of the book too as it was ambiguous and didn’t take the route that I did suspect that it might. I really like when a spontaneous purchase ends up being very much worth the risk.