In this slow-boiling YA thriller, Brodsky (Dive Smack) immerses readers in the fraught lives of three sisters living in a doomsday survivalist commune and prepping for The End of the World as We Know It. Under the oppressive rule of an increasingly tyrannical group leader and the siblings’ deceptive mother, oldest sister Honey does everything in her power to keep her sisters safe, while “weird” baby sister, Blue, spouts ominous predictions foretelling radical change, and middle sister Birdie falls into a heady first love that pitches the Juniper sisters into a fight for survival. From the first page, Brodsky’s main characters are difficult and contradictory, yet also devoted and uncommonly courageous—sisters in every sense of the word. Despite a sluggish start, heavy-handed application of the survivalist concept, and unconvincing, at times overly mature dialogue, the story comes into its own as the conflict escalates and the twists pile up, leading to a conclusion that, while not surprising, is satisfying. For readers enduring an uncertain future, much of the Juniper sisters’ perspective will feel relatable. Ages 13–up. Agent: Suzie Townsend and Devin Ross, New Leaf Literary. (May)
One of CNN Underscored's Best Books of May 2020
"A riveting, pulse-pounding story about family, love, and what happens when the end of the world turns out to be the beginning. I loved the fierce, funny, and fantastic Juniper sisters." Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces
“An impressive, immersive, addictive tale of a world that never ends the beating heart of sisters, breathtaking and unstoppable.” Emily Murdoch, author of If You Find Me
“The moment I picked up LAST GIRLS I fell in love with the Juniper Sisters. Full of twists, turns, and adventure, this action-packed tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end, then left me wanting more.” Suzanne Lazear, author of The Aether Chronicles
"ABAO: All bets are off in this intense, action-packed thriller. Last Girls is both a sister story with heart and a deep-dive into Doomsday Prepper culture that will keep you up all night turning pages." Kelly deVos, author of Day Zero
"Last Girls is a harrowing view into a world where sisterly bonds are sealed in blood, and doomsday is only a breath away. Demetra Brodsky's portrayal of three girls living on the fringes of society, learning to question authority, identity, and the definition of family, kept me riveted until the final page." Gillian French, Edgar Award nominated author of The Missing Season and The Lies They Tell
"Tense and compulsively readable. . . I won’t be forgetting the Juniper sisters any time soon." Kara Thomas, author of The Cheerleaders
"This gripping thriller laced with dark family secrets had me tearing through the pages. .... prepare to stay up late reading this one!" Emmy Laybourne, international bestselling author of the Monument 14 trilogy
"Brodsky weaves a suspenseful tale reflective of the current political landscape, interwoven with Shakespearean subtext . . . this is a story of survival and figuring out who to trust in a world where the characters have been taught to trust no one." School Library Journal
"[this] effective mix of mystery, romance, and strong, capable young women is a real page-turner and will send fans back to Brodsky's first novel, Dive Smack (2018).” Booklist
"A twisting, suspenseful YA thriller about sisterhood, survival, and family secrets set in the world of doomsday prepping." The Children's Book Council
Gr 9 Up—Honey Juniper is always big "R" Ready. She's continuously conducting threat assessments of her classmates and teachers. Her EDC (Every Day Carry) is by her side and packed with a multi-tool and bulletproof vest. She's prepared for everything, including TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World As We Know It). For Honey and her sisters, Birdie and Blue, this is their normal. They live on a secret compound deep in the woods of the small town of Elkwood, WA, with other doomsday preppers. Meanwhile, Toby, a street artist in San Diego, leaves messages around town. He's trying to solve a mystery that has been haunting him. On a stormy evening years ago, his sisters went missing and he hasn't stopped blaming himself for their disappearance. Brodsky weaves a suspenseful tale reflective of the current political landscape, interwoven with Shakespearean subtext. Some scenarios feel too extreme and over the top, and are still not enough to pull readers in. Ultimately, this is a story of survival and figuring out who to trust in a world where the characters have been taught to trust no one. VERDICT Reminiscent of reality shows like American Preppers. Purchase where realistic thrillers circulate well.—Alicia Kalan, The Northwest School, Seattle
Three sisters living in a doomsday prepper compound discover there is more to their lives than they thought.
Honey Juniper and her sisters, Birdie and Blue—high school senior, junior, and sophomore respectively—live with their mother in Washington state in The Nest, a compound peopled by a group who are convinced that the end of the world is coming and for which the group is preparing by stockpiling food and weapons. It is the sisters’ fifth move in a decade, a fact relayed by Honey in one of her letters (whose sole purpose seems to be to sum up previously relayed events) to her imaginary friend, Bucky. Honey’s first-person present-tense narrative relays details of life in the compound—always be prepared, don’t trust Outsiders—and about high school, where she and her sisters are considered “weirds.” A concurrent storyline told in separate chapters is narrated by Toby, an 18-year-old street artist who lives with his mother, also an artist, in San Diego. The connection between the two storylines becomes apparent early on, and it’s not clear if this is intentional. The rest of the story unfolds with much of the plot being easily anticipated. The narrative lacks nuance and is blocky with implausibly convenient coincidences and conveniently dense characters. The characters, mostly white but with a black love interest, are solidly one-dimensional, never moving beyond their initially described character traits.
A clumsy offering. (Fiction. 15-18)