This is an awesome middle-grade survival story with a snarky robot, a baby mammoth and the last boy on earth. It's imaginative, action-packed, thoughtful, and has a seriously creepy antagonist. There's just so much to love about this book.
The Boy at the End of the World uses a lot of post-apocalyptic tropes: we've totally screwed up the planet; the solutions we attempted to fix our screw ups just made things worse; we tried to at least preserve some of humanity by sealing them away underground; the legacy of genetic manipulation is seriously freaky and generally wants to kill you. Also, creating robots to protect humanity is never a good idea. (Have we not learned this lesson yet?)
The ideas are familiar, but Eekhout makes them fresh and fun with a likeable protagonist named Fisher (because that's the skill-set he got downloaded into him when he was awakened from cryogenic sleep)(possibly not the most useful skill-set he could have gotten) and the mostly clueless robot Click, who is his only help and companion. The plot is actually pretty dark and intense, since Fisher might be the only human left alive, and earth is now full of things that want to kill him, but the bantering and ultimately affectionate relationship between Fisher and Click, and Fisher's unflinching and sarcastic determination to survive, damn it! (I refuse to be killed by a parrot!) make it quite a warm, funny story. Also there's a baby mammoth, who poops a lot. (And becomes a dear character in his own right.)
It's a story with as many Awww moments as Yikes! moments, interspersed with lots of humour. It reminded me a lot of The Prince Who Fell From the Sky. Yes, there are some very obvious environmental messages, (plus the thing about the dangers of robots taking over the world, which, you know, bears repeating) but the true message is that what makes us human are the connections we make with others, and survival alone isn't survival at all.
Medium-rare steak lightly seasoned with garlic and pepper.
You'll find lots more middle-grade suggestions on Shannon Messenger's awesome blog, which hosts Marvellous Middle-Grade Monday every week!