A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen
Publication date: January 14, 2020
Rating: 3.5/5 stars ☆☆☆☆
Strengths: Believable and diverse characters, nice location details
Weaknesses: Plot details and backstories
At the beginning of this book, the four main characters are just casual acquaintances at best (well, except the father and daughter). They're all living in the San Francisco Metro after a widespread pandemic forced them into quarantine and then out into the world to start over with essentially nothing. Most of the population suffers from PASD (Post-apocalyptic Stress Disorder) and many people avoid interaction with others. Those are just the facts.
Our involvement with the story starts when the wedding planner (Krista) leaves her client (Moira) and ends up stuck in the elevator with Rob (one of Moira's co-workers, and Sunny's dad) during a power outage. Their familiarity with each other is now established, and the plot can proceed. They all become closer with each other over time (a few weeks, maybe?) until everything escalates at once. They work together through an unexpected crisis during another possible pandemic outbreak to try and achieve the happily-ever-after we all want.
I enjoyed the characters a lot, and they are why the overall rating made it to 3.5/5 stars. I did wonder form time to time at the lack of impact on their lives from the first pandemic. Yeah. the quarantine and starting over changed all their lives greatly, but despite somewhere in the book giving a fatality rate of a lot from the illness, only one character talks about an actual interaction with someone sick. I'd say it was still mostly believable, but I'm just surprised that an illness causing the 'end of the world,' isn't more noticeable.
I'd still recommend this book for fans of dystopia. Also, there is only super-minimal romance, so that may be a plus or a minus, depending on your tastes.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book to read in advance of its January 14, 2020 publication. The opinions expressed in this review are not influenced by having received the book for free.