The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Published February 9, 2017 by Bloomsbury
Source: ARC from the publisher
Rating: 3 stars
From the blurb: It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father's shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods—only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.
X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. X is forbidden from revealing himself to anyone other than his prey, but he casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As they learn more about their colliding worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future.
Seventeen year old Zoe Bissell lives in Montana with her mum and her eight year old brother, Jonah. She used to love caving with her father, a man who was often absent from their lives for months at a time, but he died in a caving accident and his body was never recovered. During a snowstorm she meets a boy with no name. Zoe names him X and finds out he's a special sort of bounty hunter, he comes from hell.
Overall The Edge of Everything was unique and very imaginative. I spent a lot of the book thinking "how on earth did the author come up with this?!" because there were elements that were different and strange. But, there were a lot of typical YA fantasy elements too.
X is, of course, unimaginably hot. Zoe is overwhelmed with the state of his body, face, and hair. As the female lead Zoe is a bit of a loner, though she does have two friends. While Zoe immediately thinks X is hot and falls for him, X in turn feels a connection to Zoe, she even influences the way his body feels - perhaps this will be explained in the sequel.
I liked that Zoe's family remained a large part of the story instead of fading into the background or being kept in the dark. I also thought Zoe and Jonah's relationship was well developed and authentic. Jonah has ADHD, and while Zoe is not always as understanding or sensitive as she could be, she loves her brother fiercely.
The pacing was a little uneven. The beginning was intriguing, the middle dragged with all the info on caving and Zoe's dangerous escapades, and then the end picked up again. I also noticed some mistakes and things that seemed to have no explanation, but I was reading an ARC, so perhaps these were corrected in the final edition. My one main issue, and I'll have to be vague to avoid spoiling readers, is that I didn't believe Zoe's choice when it came to the big decision she had to make.
Ableist language: SO MUCH. Spaz, insane, maniac, crazy, lame, psycho, freak, dumb, idiot, nuts, lunatic, demented, psychopath, looney, mental. Most of these words were used in the first 12 pages alone, but were also used frequently throughout the rest of the book.
The Edge of Everything is an intriguing and unique take on YA fantasy with some elements that allow it to stand out, combined with the typical elements that will appeal to a wide range of readers.
Thank you to Bloomsbury for the ARC.