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“As a member of the End of the World Book Club here at BookPeople, I’ve read a lot of apocalyptic fiction over the last 16 months. A lot. From atomic fallout to zombie hoards, we have covered a whole slew of catastrophes that could spell the end for mankind. Lepucki manages to craft a rather low-key resolution that somehow feels more solid and pertinent than it could have in other hands. It definitely speaks to how many books I have read in the genre that build into eruptions to resolve the conflicts, featuring epic brawls or massive explosions, that I was surprised by this ending. I want to give credit to the author for resisting the temptation to wrap up everything she had built with a neat little bow or overplay the inherent drama being played out on the page by tacking on some grand finale. All the dynamic relationships between friends and families are earned by communicating, in confessions and boasts and admitting fears, so California stays true through its bittersweet ending. I was left wanting more, until I looked outside and remembered how close it comes to being so real.”Read Alex's review.
The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable despite the isolation and hardships they face. Consumed by fear of the future and mourning for a past they can't reclaim, they seek comfort and solace in one another. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant. Terrified of the unknown but unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses its own dangers. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and irrepressible resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.