On the Edge of Gone is in some ways about what happens to those who usually go unmentioned. … [It becomes] an excoriation of Y.A.’s traditional shallowness.
—The New York Times
Duyvis creates a distinctive, nuanced voice for the autistic narrator of On the Edge of Gone … Readers also experience what it’s like for even common social interactions to feel foreign, confusing and fraught with fear that you aren’t reacting in the “right” way. Such challenges, both external and internal, only make Denise’s ability to distinguish herself all the more admirable.
—The Chicago Tribune
With an utterly unique and ferocious heroine at its heart, On the Edge of Gone is an on-the-edge-your-seat apocalyptic thriller that dares to ask the most difficult questions: at the end of the world, who is worth saving and how do you decide? Denise’s raw, honest voice and her gripping story will stay with me for a long, long time.
—Laura Ruby, Printz Award-winning author of Bone Gap
Duyvis expertly employs real science and vivid imagery to bring to life the most terrifying villain of all: Mother Nature. But it is the author’s talent for writing about human nature that sets this book apart. Insightful, suspenseful, and unsettling in its plausibility, this novel is sure to stick with readers long after the last page has been turned. Verdict: A high level of believability and excellent writing make this diverse apocalyptic novel a recommended selection for any young adult collection.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Duyvis, autistic herself, draws a superbly nuanced portrait of Denise as a person (not a collection of pitiable autism tropes or cure narratives), but what makes this a winner is the nerve-racking adventure. Life-affirming science fiction with spaceships, optimism in the apocalypse, and a diverse cast that reflects the real world.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Denise seems so real and behaves so convincingly that she sells absolutely everything else in the book, from her wanderings around the destroyed city of Amsterdam to a deadly mega-tsunami. Being autistic (her creator Corinne Duyvis is, too), sometimes all she wants is to put her head on a pillowcase nobody else has touched. You believe in her, and therefore you believe in her ruined world. Utterly superb.
—SFX Magazine (SFX Loves selection)
With its strong post-apocalyptic storyline, this novel offers an edge-of-your-seat survival plot and a compelling narrative. It subtly raises questions about the value of a human life without didacticism or easy answers, and the diverse cast, including a biracial heroine and characters of various races, religions, and sexualities, gives the novel real-world authenticity and impact. Duyvis deftly balances broader social elements with a powerful family story, as Denise navigates fraught relationships with both her mother and sister, and a moving coming-of-age story, as she manages not just to survive but to flourish. Denise is a sympathetic character, who comes to terms with her limitations without giving others room to pity her … [T]his near-future scifi will gain fans amongst those who want a story that is simultaneously heartbreaking and thought-provoking.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
On the Edge of Gone is an exciting read that packs in some deep thinking and real moral wallops along the way. … Dutch author Corinne Duyvis’s tension-filled science fiction YA novel brings a complex moral center to the end of the world.
[On the Edge of Gone raises] important questions about social issues that are as applicable today as in the not-so-distant future of 2035. … Readers are immersed in the tics and tactile aspects of Denise’s condition as Duyvis skillfully incorporates an exploration of complex mental conditions, addiction, and gender identity into her narrative. It’s a riveting apocalyptic thriller with substantial depth.
This is a compelling, standalone story about family ties, disability, and the need to survive.
On the Edge of Gone brings a dimension of reality to apocalypse stories that is sorely needed. … Duyvis complicates the issue of privilege and raises the question of who—in the face of limited resources—is worth saving? And how does Denise herself define “worth” in a world that values the things she is so often not? On the Edge of Gone is a rare gem of a book. It reintroduces us to humanity in all its varied life, raises the kinds of questions that unsettle readers, and disturbs their lives long after they’ve read the last page.
Set in a futuristic Amsterdam, this compelling novel is tense, visceral, and extremely well-crafted. It also offers a thoughtful exploration of ethical dilemmas: What would you be willing to do to survive? Whom would you save? And, in the face of pending doom, who deserves to live and who is expendable?
—Cooperative Children’s Book Center
[T]his tale never falters. It’s an unrelenting, gripping story of the apocalypse as-it-happens as well as a fantastic, character-driven novel. … [Denise’s] voice is beautiful, emotional and profoundly moving … On the Edge of Gone is already on the run for a favourite novel of 2016.
—The Book Smugglers
Flowing seamlessly from intense action scenes to thought-provoking emotional drama, this well-written and perfectly paced novel is sure to keep you riveted. … Far from being your standard apocalyptic YA fare, this well-written and thought-provoking novel explores the human toll of a world-ending natural disaster. Relatable characters, tense action, and emotional turmoil make this book impossible to set down.
—Powell’s Staff Picks / Best of 2016
It’s one of the few futuristic, post-apocalyptic worlds that are populated by characters that are as real and complex as the people alive now … Duyvis’ books, apparently, just get better and better.
Denise’s fear is palpable throughout, which helps to push this sci-fi novel into thriller territory. … Duyvis’ attention to detail and strong descriptions will recommend this to fans of the genre.
The story is action packed, and the tension builds toward the [surprising] conclusion … The insights the author gives to Denise and her autism allow the reader to have an understanding of how she has learned to overcome or cope with the moments when she knows she might spin out of control, yet she proves to be fully capable of leading this story to its satisfying ending.
My cover was illustrated by the amazing Shane Rebenschied, and designed by art director extraordinaire Chad W. Beckerman. Below is a version of the illustration without the text, so you can see the art without anything in the way.
I’m also lucky enough to receive occasional fanworks, be it art, edits, or more. For creative works related to On the Edge of Gone, visit the “oteog creativity” tag on my Tumblr.
For more about On the Edge of Gone, check out the articles and interviews I’ve done over the years.
Optimism in the Apocalypse (June 23, 2016)
• Plot Twister:
Interview with Jessica Meats (May 25, 2016)
• On the Edge of Gone Book Presentation (April 16, 2016)
A 17-minute video of my On the Edge of Gone launch at the American Book Center in Amsterdam; contains reviewer Mieneke van der Salm’s introduction, my reading of part of the second chapter, and a few questions of the interview.
(click to show video here)
• Interview with The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (April 8, 2016)
• Interview with Geek Club Books (April 7, 2016)
• Disability in Kidlit:
Interview with Ada Hoffmann and Jessica Walton (March 24, 2016)
• Interview with Adventures in YA Publishing (March 22, 2016)
• The Fox's Hideaway:
Top Ten Favorite Moments of My Sophomore Release (March 22, 2016)
• The Guardian:
Fiction, like life, tells disabled people their lives have less value (March 14, 2016)
• The Mary Sue (interview):
Disability in Kidlit and the Changing Landscape of Disabilities in Books (February 6, 2016)
• Interview with Sci-Fi and Scary (December 17, 2015)
• We Need Diverse Books:
Cover reveal for On the Edge of Gone (August 15, 2015)
If you need warnings about potentially triggering or otherwise upsetting content before reading (or choosing whether to read) On the Edge of Gone, I’ve listed the ones I can think of below. Includes spoilers.
- relentless tension and fear of death
- parental neglect and drug abuse
- external and internalized ableism, including mild ableist language
- racist microaggressions
- comet impact and natural disasters resulting in global-scale death of people and animals
- humane euthanization of cats
- graphic description of accidental injury
- graphic near-drowning scene
- violent tsunami strike
- off-panel death of a named teenage character
- starvation, rationing, and food descriptions
- Holocaust references
- ransacking of room/personal items