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Review: The End of Ordinary by Edward Ashton

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The End of Ordinary by Edward Ashton // VBC ReviewThe End of Ordinary
Edward Ashton
Published: June 20, 2017 (Harper Voyager Impulse)
Purchase: Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Humanity. Not generally so good at the “can’t we all just get along” concept. Find a difference, make it bigger, and BOOM! Torment, cruelty, and sometimes, war. The End of Ordinary takes place in the years after the so-called Stupid War, when genetic engineering is commonplace (at least for those who can afford it), those have not been modified are known as unaltered, and mankind has done its level best to exterminate the only other sentient race around.

The story itself centers mostly on a small group of teens, all of them bound together in ways they aren’t quite aware of. Hannah, whose father Drew works for one of the biggest genetic engineering companies, is starting at a new school—primarily for the award-winning cross country team. She meets Jordan during her training runs, who is another member of the cross country team, though he happens to be unaltered–and who is dating Micah, another member. Devon, who attends a different school but is also a runner–and has a secret. Then there’s Marta, the daughter of the most powerful man in the country, who owns the company Hannah’s dad works for, and whose mother happened to be one of the first victims of the Stupid War. Throw this mismatched group of teenagers together, add in the secret project that Hannah’s dad Drew is working on, throw a match on in the form of a missing member of Drew’s team, and watch the world burn.

I ended up reading The End of Ordinary in one straight go. I kept thinking I should go to bed (I finished around 1am), but…I just wanted to see what happened next. It’s a fairly quick and easy read, though it does make some interesting points about what makes us human and why we *can’t* ever seem to just get along. The setting was not much different from what we can look out the window and see—the biggest differences came with descriptions of those who had been genetically engineered in one form or another, as well as with the government forces that sprang up after the Stupid War finally ended. The teens were, well, typical teens in their own fashion—popularity, rivalry, annoyance at parents–but with the added twist of what happens when your parents have engineered you to be one thing and that isn’t what you want?

Honestly, if it weren’t for a virus that is spread like an STD, I would highly recommend this for classrooms, due to the topics is manages to touch on. Personally, I have no issue with the idea, as it was built into the story in such a way that it makes sense–and could be another topic unto itself. However, some would object, and it would probably end up on a list of challenged books somewhere. Which, I must add, tend to be my favorite ones to read.

Overall, The End of Ordinary would be an excellent beach read for teens or adults. It’s fun, engaging, slightly snarky, and asks some excellent questions along the way, all without seeming preachy or heavy-handed. I just finished recommending it to my teenager, and now I’m recommending it to all of you!

Sexual content: none

One Response to “Review: The End of Ordinary by Edward Ashton”

  1. I’m so happy you loved this one, Beth. I was hooked on Edward Ashton’s writing after reading his story in the Geeky Giving anthology (which, you know, is highly recommended!). This sounds just fantastic.

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