4 out of 4 stars
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Patrick Stoodle is a twelve-year-old boy who has a simple life in Cordial Falls in the 1950s. He lives with his father named Mason, and he helps a lady called Mrs. Cummings with her daily chores. However, Patrick always feels that something is wrong, that the children he knows don't like him, and that his dad hides something from him. On Patrick's twelfth birthday, Mason told him that he would take the boy to the 2020s in a time machine. In this travel, the young boy gets to know the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, the smartphones, and the fact that his father was hiding more secrets than he thought.
The Joke at the End of the World by Scott Dikkers is a unique sci-fi novel that brings the themes of racism, COVID-19, faith, homophobia, gender, and sexuality questions. The author talks about some issues with seriousness, but he also uses humor to make the novel lighter.The story's narrator is Patrick, so the reader sees every scenario from the perspective of a curious and wary boy who was discovering a new reality.
My favorite aspect of this book was the character development. Dikkers created realistic personas with different viewpoints. For example, Patrick is always worried about how his life will end, and we see his concerns when he overthinks or imagines the future. Nevertheless, the characters also try to conscientize the reader about the importance of masks and social distancing in the pandemic. For instance, Patrick talks about the symptoms and the consequences of the COVID-19 on the human organism.
There is nothing to dislike in this novel. It seems professionally edited, well-written, and I found only a few errors that didn't disrupt my reading. Besides, the author constructed a structured story that is hard to put down, with an unexpected turn of events, and that catches the readers' attention until the end.
Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Dikkers created an exceptional narrative full of twists, mystery, engaging stories, and well-developed characters. I recommend it to those readers who are interested in reading a unique sci-fi or young adult novel, but also for those people who need hope or optimism in pandemic times. However, I don't recommend it to people who aren't interested in fiction books that talk about technologies, time travel, or aliens. This volume also contains a few profanities, so I don't recommend it to children, but they didn't disturb me.
The Joke at the End of the World
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