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How It Ends by Laura Wiess

How It EndsHanna used to be an optimistic and cheerful girl, the kind who loved spending time with her aging neighbor Helen and looked for happy endings everywhere. Now, Hanna’s in high school, and all she wants is a life, particularly, a life including Seth. When she finally gets Seth, he’s not entirely who she thought he was, and their relationship isn’t the perfect one she thought it would be. Yet, despite the fighting and hurt, Hanna stays by Seth, because she hasn’t completely lost her faith in happy endings. But caring for her ill neighbor Helen for her school’s community service requirement might take care of that. Helen’s home isn’t the place of happiness it used to be in Hanna’s childhood, and the audiobook Hanna’s supposed to play for Helen is unsettling to say the least. Hanna gradually finds herself drawn into the book’s powerful love story until its shocking conclusion shakes her world and makes her question her own relationships and love itself.

How It Ends is a unique coming of age tale that explores the most fundamental human bonds. Wiess does an excellent job touching on all the different kinds of relationships people can have from family to friendship and beyond. It’s difficult to state exactly what Wiess has accomplished in this novel through that except for a few basics such as “there are good guys and bad guys” and “you eventually have to realize that a doomed relationship won’t work.” I also can’t really say if this is an ultimately happy or sad book because it has its share of sweet sections in addition to the depressing ones. As for the actual story, or stories I should say, I was drawn to both Hanna’s and Helen’s tales. There were the necessary ingredients like angst, mystery, and teenage rebellion to make Hanna’s story true to life, and I continually rooted for her despite her tendency to make poor decisions. I actually liked Helen’s story more than Hanna’s because it was slightly more interesting, but both their stories only prove that every relationship has its ups and downs, its good moments and bad. How It Ends as a novel is similar in that respect because there are passages that are boring as well as the sweetest moments that make the reader hope for the best.

How It Ends is a story that needs to be thought out and is not for readers looking for an immediately meaningful story. I recommend this novel to fans of A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian, One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee, and anything by Sarah Dessen or Deb Caletti.

Rating: 3.5

Review copy from publisher MTV Books

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