As high school students, we can all relate to the overwhelming stress, the agonizing drama from peers and the never ending lengths of self discovery we face. In Catherine Lo’s first ever novel, How it Ends, the struggles and hardships of many teens are highlighted and brought to life.
How it Ends tells the story of two girls, Annie and Jess. In this best friends-at-first-sight tale, readers get to travel through their worlds, inside and out. Annie, the new girl from Downtown Toronto, faces various challenges getting used to her new suburban life living with her horrible step mom, Madge, and her perfect daughter. Meanwhile, Jess battles her anxiety ridden brain and the bullies that push her farther down the slope of insecurity. In this teen fiction, one can explore young love, friendships and the real pressure students go through every day.
Annie has a very spunky and outgoing personality to hide her upsetting emotions from her past, where as, Jess is quite the opposite. Jess eludes her insecurities and shyness, but deep down she is just waiting to be accepted by society, so that she can show her true fun personality.
I found this book very interesting with it’s dual perspectives; helping show the different lifestyles each girl had, but also helping you notice the similarities in how they felt. Though neither had the exact same problems, they still had something in common; how defeated and alone they felt. Failure and loneliness is something a lot of high school students can relate to.
Lo worked with high school students dealing with mental illnesses, which was where she drew the inspiration for the book. I found her experience helping these teens had opened the book to a more real and personal interpretation and emotion on the subject. Stopping the stigma surrounding mental illness is such an important thing, and I feel the novel helped to do so.
Jess and Annie both shared an amazing and understandable hardship individually and together as friends. I would give this novel a 8.9/10, as I thought the ending could have gone slightly differently. I highly recommend reading this incredible story and taking the journey down the far too familiar high school road.
By Madeleine Kwan