“The End or Something Like That” by Ann Dee Ellis
Kim and Emmy have been best friends since birth. En utero, actually, since their mothers were friends while they were pregnant with the girls. Kim was born with a heart condition, but other than Emmy and her family, nobody else knew about it.
Kim had a zest for life, but also spent that life obsessing about her own death. When the girls became teenagers, Kim began predicting that it would happen soon. She found comfort in the thought that she could come back and visit Emmy, and enrolled them in a seminar taught by a “doctor” who would assist them in doing so. (It was easy to find him. They live in Vegas.)
The story is told through chapters that oscillate between present day when Emmy performs every task the “doctor” prescribed so she can once again see her dead friend and chapters of Emmy remembering snippets of her life and friendship with Kim when she was still alive. Emmy has struggled with Kim’s death and reverts deeper into herself, clings to junk food, and is reluctant to share her feelings of depression with anyone. She wants so desperately to talk to Kim again, because a misunderstanding at the time of Kim’s death remains unresolved, weighing on Emmy every day since.
While the thought of talking to Kim after her death seemed far-fetched to Emmy while Kim was alive, the concept is less unlikely to her now. Emmy can actually see and talk with dead people now. She can choose who or when, and it’s disheartening when they aren’t Kim.
The End or Something Like That is recommended for readers age 12 and up. Light moments outweigh any sadness (although there was one scene where I sobbed), but it does touch on the importance of grief. It’s a beautiful look at friendship, family, trust, and moving on.
The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis (Dial | ISBN 9780803737396 | May 1, 2014)