I HOPE YOU GET THIS MESSAGE by Farah Naz Rishi is a relatable science-fiction story set in the modern day. This post DOES NOT CONTAIN SPOILERS.
I happily obtained this ARC from Epic Reads who I freelance write for. Here is the summary and shortened review.
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 guys he hooks up with. 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.
Note: When you purchase the book with the link above, you are supporting my local indie bookstore, Avid Bookshop. Thank you.
Why I was interested: While I enjoy science fiction, I feel like I watch it more often in TV shows and movies than I do reading it. I really loved this concept when I was offered the book: three teens with their own separate problems come together at the end of the world. I wondered how it would look like to live during the last week of the world and Rishi did not disappoint in thinking things through.
Judge a book by it’s cover: I love that Cate, Adeem, and Jesse grace the front by holding onto a radio tower, something that is very consistent throughout the story.
What to expect: Part science-fiction end-of-the-world story, part contemporary with modern problems. When y’all finish, I want to know your opinions on the ending, which I won’t write about now because this is a spoiler-free review afterall.
Why you should pick this book up: If you find yourself more of a science fiction aficionado or a contemporary lover at heart, this story will appeal to both audiences. It’s a relatively fast-paced book with all the feels.
ATTENTION: IF YOU HAVE YET TO READ I HOPE YOU GET THIS MESSAGE do not continue reading. The following contains spoilers for the book.
When I think of IHYGTM, my mind races over each of Jesse’s, Kate’s, and Adeem’s individual struggles as they face the reality that their world may end in about a week. But truly, what sticks with me the hardest is the ending — that ending.
The sad truth is, we don’t 100% know what happens at the end. We are left with a hopeful message as the humans meet the Almaens in Roswell, New Mexico — but do they die? Do they make a pact and let humanity live? We will truly never know what happens to Cate, Jess, and Adeem in terms of fate, but maybe we really don’t need to know.
Yes, the who plot of the book is centered on this one idea: will the Almaens give up in Earth or let the humans live? The characters — and readers — both stress over this, hopping for an optimistic ending. But even as we will never know, we do know that each character finds some form of closure with what they have been looking for.
Cate wants to find her dad. Adeem wants to find — and apologize to — his sister. Jesse really just wants to get by, make some money, and leave, thinking the entire thing is practically a giant PR hoax.
And in short, Cate and Adeem are sort of successful: Adeem finds and apologizes for how he reacted to his sister coming out to their family, finding former friends along the way, while Cate learns that her birth father is dead, but actually has a half-brother in the form of Jesse.
Jesse’s arc is a total change from who he once was to who he is at the end of the story. He at first is highly cynical, with a chip on his shoulder and no real interest in caring about anyone besides himself and, in his own way, his mother. His hurt relationship with his absent father looms over him and Jesse fears he will be as careless as he was. He almost embraces this idea that he can’t be and will never be loved. He has little hope for himself and his world.
His father’s old machine becomes a mode of taking advantage of people’s hope by sending messages out into space which may or may not be listened to by the Almaens. People are so focused on wanting to appease them that they fail to pay attention to each other. We not only see this through Jesse’s careless actions but also with the active shooter in the casino, multiple thefts, and more. Jesse is almost the personification of humanity at its very worse: he profits off of people’s hope and love for one another but doesn’t want to admit he too has hope and love.
It is not until he realizes he truly cares about his mother and Corbin that he decides to try to be the good people see in him. He not only embraces people’s ideas of love and hope; he becomes it by reading all of the letters over the radio. The Almaens may be important, but they are not the ones who matter. Humanity matters in the form of individuals.
The idea of humanity is complicated in IHYGTM. People are horrible and wonderful and everything in between. While we may never know what happens between the Almaens and humanity, we do know that hope is truly what matters most.
What did you think of Farah Naz Rishi’s I HOPE YOU GET THIS MESSAGE? I’d love to hear your comments below!
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