On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis. Amulet / Abrams, 2016
It’s 2035 and a comet is headed toward Earth. Preparations for the inevitable destruction have fallen along class lines—those who can afford it, or who have critical skills, are set to escape on self-sustaining generation ships. Those who can’t are staying in underground shelters with little hope of long-term survival. Biracial (Black/white) Denise, her drug-addicted mother, and her trans sister don’t come close to qualifying for safe passage on a generation ship, but Denise is determined to get the three of them on board, even it means lying or sneaking on. Denise has autism—sometimes that hinders her, sometimes it helps, but always it is just part of who she is and how she views the world. Set in a futuristic Amsterdam, this compelling novel is tense, visceral, and extremely well crafted. It also offers a thoughtful exploration of ethical dilemmas: What would you be willing to do to survive? Whom would you save? And, in the face of pending doom, who deserves to live and who is expendable? ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:
- How does Denise’s autism aid or hinder her during this end of the world catastrophe?
- What are the ethical implications of choosing people to live or die? How would you choose who survives?
- In the end, why do you think Denise makes the choice she does? What would you have chosen?
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