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Boldly weird, cool, and confident, this YA novel of LGBTQ+ teen artists, activists, and telepathic visionaries offers hope against climate and community destruction. From the National Book Award–longlisted author of Out of Salem.
James Goldberg, self-described neurotic goth gay transsexual stoner, is a senior in high school, and fully over it. He mostly ignores his classes at Cow Pie High, instead focusing on fundraising for the near-bankrupt local LGBTQ+ youth support group, Compton House, and attending punk shows with his friend-crush Ian and best friend Opal. But when James falls in love with Orsino, a homeschooled trans boy with telepathic powers and visions of the future, he wonders if the scope of what he believes possible is too small. Orsino, meanwhile, hopes that in James he has finally found someone who will be able to share the apocalyptic visions he has had to keep to himself, and better understand the powers they hold.
How to Get over the End of the World confirms Hal Schrieve as a unique and to-be-celebrated voice in LGBTQ+ YA fiction with this multi-voiced story about flawed people trying their hardest to make a better world, about the beauty and craziness of hope, about too-big dreams and reality checks, and about the ways in which human messiness—egos, jealousy, insecurity—and good faith can coexist. It also about preserving the ties within a chosen family—and maybe saving the world—through love, art, and acts of resistance.
About the Author
Hal Schrieve grew up in Olympia, Washington. Hir debut novel Out of Salem was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2019. Hal's poetry has appeared in Vetch magazine, and hir comics have been featured in Stacked Deck Press's 2018 anthology We're Still Here. Hal works as a children's librarian in New York. Hal can be found on Twitter at @Hal_Schrieve.
"How to Get over the End of the World feels wholly original—a punk rock opera that finds a way to blend sci-fi, coming-of-age, and inspiration that maybe we can fix this messed up world. No one writes the contemporary teen voice better than Hal Schrieve."
—Colleen AF Venable, author of the National Book Award Longlisted Kiss Number 8
“A story exploding with voice and vulnerability, How to Get over the End of the World is electric and soft and honest and powerful and left me buzzing. I’ve never read such a raw depiction and reflection of my trans and queer identities, and I’m beyond excited for young readers who’ll get to read this book and feel seen by Hal’s words. Simply magical. Very gay.”
—Kacen Callender, author of the National Book Award-winning King and the Dragonflies and the bestselling novel Felix Ever After
"Queer teens navigate breakups, familial challenges, and personal tragedy amid surreal apocalyptic visions in this frenetic speculative offering from Schrieve (Out of Salem). James Goldman, a transgender teen who describes himself as “neurotic and feral and gay,” distracts himself from his oppressive small-town high school environment by participating in the local punk scene and volunteering with Compton House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support to the LGBTQ community. After a fire breaks out at a well-known venue, devastating the music scene and further imperiling Compton’s already strained finances, James and his found family of fellow queer friends endeavor to stage a rock opera to raise money. In the process, the teens reckon with the bizarre and terrifying visions they’ve experienced ever since meeting Orsino, a mysterious trans guy with apparent telepathic powers. Meandering plot points and stilted pacing sometimes distract from the important messaging of this slice-of-life read. Still, Schrieve’s zingy dialogue shines, and the novel’s punk-rock energy makes the many discussions of gender and sexuality feel punchy and vital."
"How to Get over the End of the World would have been phenomenal and necessary even without the science-magic: queer and trans teens, playing in bands, falling in love, raising hell, fighting and friending and living radical lives. But, there is science-magic. Aliens and telepathy and vibes. This is the book we need right now."
—Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave
"Hal Schrieve has proven hirself a virtuoso of vital, immediate trans storytelling. How to Get over the End of the World is a brave salvo against anodyne trans YA, richly populated by messy, earnest, colorful characters. You'll love them, loathe them, and fall in love with them all over again. Trans kids are under attack. How to Get over the End of World will show them how to fight back."
—Peyton Thomas, award-winning author of Both Sides Now
"Growing up and being trans and aliens, oh my! How to Get over the End of the World is one of those rare novels that combines razor-sharp wit with a courageous and tender heart. With pitch-perfect accuracy and fearless honesty, Hal Schrieve evokes the raw wild magic of queer and trans adolescence with characters that are at once astoundingly realistic and delightfully larger than life. Ferociously intelligent and relentlessly authentic, this book has all the makings of a queer cult classic."
—Kai Cheng Thom, author of Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir