Book Review | All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown

The first book I read in 2023 was All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown. It’s a dystopian queer romance about survival, courage and finding love in the most desperate and life-threatening of circumstances.

“You make me feel safe. Like the world hasn’t ended and there’s nothing left. Because I have you.”

Sixteen-year-old Andrew is injured and alone in a postapocalyptic world. The majority of a post-Covid world has been wiped out by a relentless Superflu, leaving him alone and in need of medical attention. He stumbles across a cabin only to be greeted by a riffle aimed at his chest. Hesitantly, Jamie, a fellow teenage survivor, takes him in and nurses him back to health thanks to his mother’s old notebook and stolen medical supplies. Together they step out into a dangerous new world relying on their survival skills and the kindness of strangers to find supplies and civilization.

I was desperately rooting for these loveable and relatable characters. Andrew’s sarcastic wit cut through the bleakness of the story perfectly and the tension between him and Jamie had me grinning from ear-to-ear. Both characters were clearly dealing with serious survivors’ guilt and the weight of their past trauma pressing on every decision they made. The way Andrew and Jamie would subtly lean into each throughout left me teary eyed and the tension throughout left me breathless.

All That’s Left in the World is heartfelt and beautifully written. The constant pop culture references were a little on the nose at times but I appreciate that they’re added to appeal to a young generation of movie buffs and fandoms. This book explores life as a queer teenager in America in a thoughtful, emotional and engaging manner. They find themselves in some seriously dangerous circumstances such as coming face-to-face with armed looters, thieves, and a commune with some disturbing views on who should survive in their ‘new America’. This was a truly tense, creative yet life-affirming read that I absolutely loved.

All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown is available to purchase HERE.

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