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'The End or Something Like That' explores pain of losing a friend

POSTED: May 14, 2014 10:00 a.m.
Penguin Books for Young Readers/

"The End or Something Like That" is by Utah author Ann Dee Ellis. She will be doing a book signing on Thursday, May 15, in Salt Lake City.

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“THE END OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT,” by Ann Dee Ellis, Dial, $17.99, 352 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)
It’s been a year since Emmy’s best friend, Kim, died of a heart condition. And before she died, Kim was trying to find a way she and Emmy could talk after she dies.
They did research; they went to hear Dr. Ted Farnsworth about communicating with those who have passed on.
In Ann Dee Ellis’ novel “The End or Something Like That,” Kim made Emmy promise to communicate with her after Kim dies. Emmy wasn’t so sure, but has tried, especially on both of their birthdays, at their agreed-upon place. But 15-year-old Emmy doesn’t see her friend either time and feels guilty that she’s somehow failed.
On the day before the anniversary of Kim’s death, it’s not her friend Emmy sees, but instead her recently deceased science teacher at the teacher’s funeral. And then she also sees other people who are dead.
The main storyline includes two days — the day before and the day of Kim’s death anniversary — and it’s intermixed with flashbacks from before Kim’s death.
Emmy isn’t sure what to think about life after death. Her mother doesn’t believe in it. Her father’s parents died in a car accident when he was 18, and he’s hopeful but not sure what to believe.
Emmy’s pain is raw as she tries to move on from losing her friend and dealing with real life, including her own insecurities and the trials of high school social life and new friend Skeeter.
Emmy is constantly looking for a way to communicate with Kim and is hopeful as she sees she can also help others.
There isn’t any swearing, violence or sexual themes.
Ellis explores themes of death and grieving from a teenager’s perspective and does it with hope and humor laced through the story as Emmy starts to heal. The novel is engaging, but be prepared for some tears.
Ellis is also the author of “This is What I Did” and “Everything is Fine.”  Email: rappleye@deseretnews.com Twitter: CTRappleye

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