April 18, 2022

Adrienne Celt: "End of the World House" (ARC Review)

Title: End of the World House [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Adrienne Celt [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: SPOILER - click on the Spoiler button below if you want to know, since revealing the genre(s) would ruin your reading experience...If you want to go into the book without knowing anything vital about it, I recommend not reading the Labels at the end of my review either. No need to worry though - the review itself will be spoiler-free...
Year: 2022
Age: 14+ (I shelved it as Adult because of the characters' age, and it's definitely got more of an adult appeal, but it can be read by teens)
Stars: 4.5/5
Pros: Unique, surprising, gorgeously written.
Cons: A few occurrences remain unexplained. Mainly, for a story about female friendship, it ultimately plays into men's hands too much...
Will appeal to: Those who like a Groundhog-Day-meets-Sliding-Doors scenario with a soft-apocalypse background.

Blurb: Bertie and Kate have been best friends since high school. Kate has recently decided to move from San Francisco to Los Angeles. When Bertie’s attempts to make Kate stay fail, she suggests the next-best thing: a trip to Paris that will hopefully distract the duo from their upcoming separation. One night in Paris, they meet a strange man in a bar who offers them a private tour of the Louvre. The women find themselves alone in the museum, where nothing is quite as it seems. Caught up in a day that keeps repeating itself, Bertie and Kate are eventually separated, and Bertie is faced with a mystery that threatens to derail everything. In order to make her way back to Kate, Bertie has to figure out how much control she has over her future - and her past - and how to survive an apocalypse when the world keeps refusing to end. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on Edelweiss. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


End of the World House is a very difficult book to review without giving away too much (you might think that "Groundhog Day meets Sliding Doors" is a huge enough cue, except it doesn't even begin to cover what happens in the story, and how/why for that matter). For that reason, this is going to be a less structured review than my usual ones. The best thing I can do with a book like this is make a bullet list of what I loved about it (or loved less) and why:

  • It's a unique concept (or a unique blend of different concepts with a twist).
  • It's a fascinating mystery, or the first section is (then again, you don't get all the answers until the end, especially the ones about Bertie's friend Kate, so it never really stops being fascinating). You keep trying to crack it, and at the same time you find yourself being swept away and enjoying the ride.
  • It's a story about a messy female friendship - mind you, not your usual catty one - where at least one of the parts involved is a bit too dependent on the other for her own good (which hit close to home for me). Then again, at one point Celt implies that Bertie's feelings for Kate may be a little more complicated than (partly unrequited) friendship...and I got that vibe myself.
  • It's a story steeped in art, where on the one hand the Louvre is not only a (magical and atmospheric) setting, but almost a character in itself, while on the other Bertie's graphic-novel-in-the-making is given the same amount of attention (and respect) than the famous paintings in the most iconic museum in the world are. Her drawings sort of come alive on the page, too.
  • There's a completely believable "soft apocalypse" in the background, one where the elite keeps maintaining a degree of privilege, but which still creates an undercurrent of uneasiness and melancholy. You find yourself buying into the idea that the world is more likely to end with a whimper than with a bang.
  • The writing is gorgeous and very quotable. [...]


There are only a couple of reasons why I didn't give EOTWH 5 stars:

  • This one didn't weight much, but even if I love trippy books, I would have liked for the inner workings of the whole situation to be clarified/motivated better. We get an umbrella explanation for what happens and why, but we don't know HOW. That didn't ruin my reading experience, because I can be pretty lenient about "mundane" details when a book gives me an exciting story that caters to my genre preferences, but I couldn't help wondering about the mechanics behind it all...
  • I can't see a reason for a certain female character to forgive, let alone trust, a certain male character, in the light of what Goodreads reviewer Jordy calls a "toxic masculinity/gaslighting subplot". Celt does a good job with redeeming him and explaining his actions, and there's hope he learned from his errors, but still...I would have liked to see more female empowerment, especially in a story that is supposed to be about the friendship (if a bit rocky) between two women.

Despite my reservations, I really enjoyed EOTWH, and I can see it work both for readers interested in quirky/speculative stories and for those who prefer contemporaries but aren't averse to their having a wild premise.

For quotes from this book click here. (ARC quotes not available, at the publisher's request. I'll add them when I buy my own finished copy).
For more Adult books click here.
In order to know the other Reading Room this book belongs to, click on the Spoiler button below.


  1. The messy female friendship sounds compelling. I do like to know the "how" though too. and I clicked on Spoiler so now I'm even MORE interested!

    1. And here I went out of my way to hide the genre! πŸ˜‚ Though, seriously, the author herself mentioned it somewhere. But my reading experience was enhanced by NOT knowing it beforehand, so I wanted to give my readers a chance to replicate it...

    2. Makes sense! I'm famously weak when it comes to spoilers and don't mind them as much as many bloggers do...

    3. "Famously weak" πŸ˜‚.

  2. Ok you've got me so curious now. And yes, I had to see the spoiler genre😁 This sounds like a book for me, I'm definitely keeping it on my radar!

    1. No one can resist a spoiler, it seems πŸ˜‚. Yeah, this isn't your usual brand of sci-fi, but it is speculative fiction (and literary, whatever it means), so you'd probably like it.

  3. I do love a spoiler. So bad! Haha, I had to check it

    1. Out of 3 of you, everyone read the spoiler! πŸ˜‚

  4. From your review it does sound like it would be a fun read for the most part.

  5. A focus on friendship is always a win for me, but I like that art plays a role too. Glad this was such a hit for you!

    1. We don't often see art as a main theme in books, and I loved how graphic novels were given respect and attention, though I personally am not interested in the media.

  6. I love reading about non-catty female friendships, we need more of those in books. :) Also, I love that it focuses on art.

    1. Women/girls are so often pitted against each other in books. Things are changing though, if a bit slowly.


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