Considering all that’s happening around the world and the elections, this might be handy. And her third point is the most right thing I’ve heard lately.
How to Pack for the End of the World by Michelle Falkoff released Friday in the YA Fiction (Ages 13-17) genre.
If you knew the world was going to end tomorrow, what would you do? This is the question that haunts Amina as she watches new and horrible stories of discord and crisis flash across the news every day. But when she starts at prestigious Gardner Academy, Amina finds a group of like-minded peers to join forces with—fast friends who dedicate their year to learning survival skills from each other, before it’s too late. Still, as their prepper knowledge multiplies, so do their regular high school problems, from relationship drama to family issues to friend blow-ups. Juggling the two parts of their lives forces Amina to ask another vital question: Is it worth living in the hypothetical future if it’s at the expense of your actual present?
Meet the Author:
Michelle Falkoff is the author of Playlist for the Dead, Pushing Perfect, Questions I Want to Ask You, and How to Pack for the End of the World. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently serves as director of communication and legal reasoning at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.
What My Characters Learned from Trying to Save the World
by Michelle Falkoff
In my latest book, HOW TO PACK FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, a group of teens creates a club to help themselves prepare for things they’re scared of, like pandemics and nuclear war and the climate crisis. In doing so, they learn a lot about themselves and the people around them, and while the book is ultimately about those more personal lessons, there are also a number of things the characters figured out about surviving the apocalypse that remain relevant, even in everyday life.
1. Planning is important, but that means both physical and emotional planning. My characters created games for one another to help plan for different scenarios, and one of the games involved learning how to plan meals and food shopping during a time of food scarcity and limited resources. All the characters did a good job with the technical logistics, but they made a mess of thinking about how they’d feel about their choices as they lived with them. From the character who lived only on ramen to the one who took advantage of the other characters’ trust, they learned that preparing for hard times means getting ready emotionally, not just technically.
2. It’s important to learn about the outdoors. Those of us who love books and reading are often pretty comfortable hanging out inside and keeping ourselves occupied, but it’s beneficial to be familiar with the outside world and able to spend time out of doors, even when the weather complicates matters. I’m finding this especially true now, when our indoor entertainment opportunities are limited, as are our opportunities to see people.
3. There’s surviving, and there’s thriving. As many of us are learning now, there’s a difference between the sacrifices we’re willing to make in the short term and the changes we have to make in the longer term as the world changes around us. It’s not enough to learn how to get by when the world gets complicated; we have to embrace those complications and turn them into challenges we can transcend.
4. People are the most important thing. For every scenario the characters envision, their ability to survive (and even thrive) depends on the extent to which they were willing to open themselves up to other people and to take other people into account when planning for catastrophe.
I hope this book provides some interesting things to think about in these strange times—I wrote it well before our own world changed considerably, so it’s been an adventure to look back on my own theorizing and compare it to what’s really happening. Happy reading!
- Autographed copy of HOW TO PACK FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, swag, and $50 Amazon Gift Card. (USA only)