Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days.
When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization.
For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance.
With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart.
I Hope You Get This Message is a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful story about three teens and their journeys, as they face the end of the world as they know it. When a strange transmission from another planet comes through, stating that humanity has seven days left before the end, the world goes into a state of utter panic and mayhem. This also throws everything into perspective for some, while others are just trying to make it through the day.
The novel is split into three perspectives; Adeem, Cate and Jesse. While I would definitely have liked more development for the characters and for the book to be slightly longer so we got more sense of resolution, it kind of fits the narrative perfectly to have it be this glimpse into their lives and minds and then it ends. I rooted for all three characters and empathised for them so much. I especially enjoyed reading their separate narratives come together and how Adeem and Cate specifically learn so much from each other and form a true friendship. As you’ll know if you’ve read a few of my reviews before, the found family trope is my favourite thing of all time and we sort of get that here. This is a very character driven novel and it’s more about these three individuals rather than the action and the sci fi element.
As well as the characters, I enjoyed the whole concept and basis of the novel. I love any media that involves aliens or an apocalyptic type narrative and on this front, I Hope You Get This Message delivers. The element which triggers the series of events in the book is that extraterrestrial lifeforms from the planet Alma have transmitted a message to Earth – the fate of humanity will be announced in seven days. I think the way the subsequent reaction plays out is so realistic – some people are in disbelief and just can’t comprehend that it’s true, others feel like their conspiracy theories are finally validated and others just want to take the opportunity to find answers and right some wrongs. And of course, amidst all of this, some people take the opportunity to run wild and commit anarchy. In any media which deals with apocalyptic type stories, whether it be aliens, zombies, illness or natural disaster, I always find the behaviour of the characters so interesting and it’s like a study of human behaviour.
I also loved the act of sending messages and how important this was in the novel. As cell towers and wifi starts blinking out, the only other method of communication available is radio transmissions. I really liked how this was used and while I don’t fully get the technical sides of things, since my brain is much more humanities focused, I thought the messages were really powerful. Especially because we don’t meet all of the characters who are sending these messages out and we don’t know the full context behind them, it makes it even more poignant. It’s like getting a small glimpse into a strangers life, or like people watching almost.
Overall, I Hope You Get This Message was exactly what I thought it was going to be and I enjoyed it so much. It had heart, some social commentary and poses some interesting questions, the main one being, what would you do at the end of the world? If all you knew was effectively crumbling and may be non existent in just a weeks time, what would you do? I would love to hear your answers in the comments!
Until next time,