Rooney (Marina) would love to accept the position of editor during her senior year of high school, and she'd love to go to Columbia University and to know her younger brother Daniel is going to be okay. However, her mother belongs to a group that some people call a cult, called the Next World Society, and she doesn't believe they'll be here, as in, on Planet Earth, in November.
This is a relationship story with many layers - Rooney's protective stance toward her brother and the pain when he doesn't always look to her as a hero and starts making decisions for himself is an important one. Rooney's relationship with her mother, of course, is complex throughout the book, but so is her relationship with her estranged father and his new wife. She also has relationships with teachers, a coffee shop employer, and her best friend, Mercer, all of whom help Rooney sort out who she is and what she believes.
This book explores issues of financial and parental responsibility, loneliness and isolation, environmental responsibility and balance, spiritual beliefs and faith, and trust and communication.
The beginning of the book feels like a 5th or 6th grade read, with Rooney taking on an adult share of household responsibilities, but as it progresses (parties with drinking, romantic relationships), it includes more mature content.
"The last time I clued Dad in on my life, he and Mom ended up screaming at each other on Forty-Third Street. But right now, I just want someone to be on my side. So I tell them about Mom's lists and Daniel's new obsession with Harmonization. By the time I get to the part about staying home from school, Dad is scowling and Carol looks worried." p. 149
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