The Edge of Everything
by Jeff Giles
I haven’t read too many YA novels lately. But when I started seeing reviews for this Jeff Giles offering, I was instantly curious. It had allusions to fallen angels, grim reapers, and demons. But when most mentioned about a forbidden romance between a human and a godly creature, I was sunk.
Zoe’s year hasn’t been the best, to be honest. After the sudden disappearance of her father, she’s left trying to keep her family somewhat in a normal state. With her brother’s bouts of anxiety brought on by the knowledge that their father’s body could still be in the cave where he last went, things at home are a little precarious. When she lost him in a snowstorm, frostbite wouldn’t be the only thing that could put both their lives in danger. They found themselves at the mercy of a deranged criminal. Just when she’s about to lose hope, a vision in fire and light came to their rescue.
Their rescuer came in the form of X; a boy who looked to be in bad shape himself. His assignment was to retrieve the soul of one Stan Manggold, a hardened criminal who rightfully belonged in the Lowlands. Lowlands, for lack of a better word, is what you would call as hell. X is one of the bounty hunters who has lived in the Lowlands for eternity, it seems. There is no way out for the likes of him. But a deal with one of the generals could give X a chance to escape and live the rest of his life on Earth. It will not be easy, though, as his freedom come at a cost.
This book is gripping. I didn’t think I would enjoy yet another YA supernatural fantasy, but here I am. Honestly, if I hadn’t been distracted by so many books on my shelves, I could just as easily finished reading this in one sitting. As I mentioned, I’m a huge fan of star-crossed romances. It just so happens that X and Zoe were in one. The only downside to this is the speed with which they fell for each other. I feel like there wasn’t much chance of getting to know X. But I get it. Since X didn’t know much about himself either, I can forgive the underdevelopment of his character.
Zoe, on the other hand, is a girl whose life upended when her dad died. Granted that their dad wasn’t a “conventional parent” by any standards, they still had a camaraderie like that of any father and daughter relationship. He was presumed dead, but they never retrieve his body in the cave. Their mom is present in their lives, sure but she’s also distracted by trying to raise her kids. Mostly, she tried her best to keep what’s left of her family together.
I enjoyed this book. It had funny moments, surreal moments, and instances where I choked up a little. I especially enjoyed Zoe relationships with her close friends and her brother. She took care of him the only way she knew how. I could’ve sworn Jeff Giles is an experienced author. I didn’t realize this was only his second book. The Edge of Everything is exactly the YA paranormal fantasy that teens and adults alike would enjoy. The contemporary elements balance out the supernatural that makes reading it such a breeze.