Children's fiction

How I Saved the World in a Week by Polly Ho-Yen

Books for children with the end of the world theme can go in many ways. This chooses a reasonably unique path to tread. I found the first half of the book more to my taste. It was emotional and heart-rending, and it was hard not to feel for the lead protagonist.
Billy has a difficult upbringing. We have a mother who has drilled the severest form of preparedness into him. This has even led to him not having any social life apart from getting ready for the end of the world as they know it. This is the beginning of the story. When his mother’s actions put her away for a while, he is sent to live with his father.
I feel a lot of discrepancy in the story’s tone by the time we get to this point. I understand that children probably absorb things differently, but I felt a little cheated. We are led to believe in a certain angle to look at the troubled mother-son relationship and Billy and his mother as individuals. After this point, the end of the world arrives, and the way things wrap up seemed to take a whole other route!
I must admit that a certain logic was incorporated to link the beginning part of the story to the final reveal, but I did not enjoy it as much as I hoped. It is still an interesting book with colourful and different characters with a wide range of behaviours. I would recommend it for children who like an adventure mixed into family life with the world’s future riding on our protagonist’s actions.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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