Ways The World Could End by Kim Hooper
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Kim Hooper has once again delivered an impactful story that captured me from the very beginning. I couldn’t wait to read Ways the World Could End, because I’ve read No Hiding In Boise and the writing impressed me. As it turns out, I’m even more impressed by this book. This story is poignant and complex, and if it had gone on for a hundred more pages I wouldn’t have minded.

Dave is on the autism spectrum, and the father of a teenage daughter (Cleo). He was married to Jana, but now Dave and Cleo are on their own. Although Jana has been gone for about a year, she’s still very much a part of the story.

There are many ways the world could end, and Dave knows them all. He’s a doomsday prepare, who researched and prepared for all of them:

  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
  • Fires
  • Aliens
  • Apocalypse
  • Pandemics
  • Global warming

It’s a seemingly never ending list of ways the world could end. Dave has thought of it all and researched it all. He has plenty of data to share and obsess over. His life, and by default Cleo’s, is guided by his obsession for being prepared for the end of the world. While I did find the data and statistics of the various ways the world could end interesting, what I enjoyed most about this story is the poignant view into Dave and Cleo’s life as a father-daughter duo surviving without Jana.

This is a story about a man who’s recently been assigned the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) label, and is trying to make the best of his life with a teenager. This is also a coming of age story for Cleo, who’s trying to figure out who she is, while missing her mother every day. In addition, this story puts marriage under a microscope, and brings to light many questions about happiness.

Told in alternating POVs between Dave and Cleo, we truly get to know the characters. They are both likable and vulnerable individuals, whose lives are relatable. Through their renditions of past and present events, we learn about their journeys and growth they’re experiencing. Overall, this is a tender story about love, family, and forgiveness.

The story takes place in California, in the San Juan Capistrano area. If you’re local to the area, you’ll enjoy the mention of various locations in the Capistrano/San Clemente areas.

This is the kind of story that really made me think while reading it, and I know it will stay with me for a long time. It’s also the kind of story I’ll be recommending to everyone (especially the audiobook). Clearly, this book has earned itself a spot on my Favorites shelf.

This book was part of My Fall 2022 Reading List, and I’m glad I got to read it. If you can, listen to the audiobook. It’s narrated by Stephanie Willing and Pete Cross, and they truly gave Dave and Cleo a voice and brought the story to life.

Have you read either of these books by Kim Hooper?