The End of the World is Bigger than Love cover

Shortlist year: 2021

Shortlist category: Young adult literature

Published by: Text Publishing

She said we didn't know what the world out there had become. We had been alone there so long on that tiny island, in that tiny church.

But in the night, I couldn't bear it.

My chest beat like wings.

Identical twin sisters Summer and Winter live alone on a remote island, sheltered from a destroyed world. They survive on rations stockpiled by their father and spend their days deep in their mother's collection of classic literature—until a mysterious stranger upends their carefully constructed reality.

At first, Edward is a welcome distraction. But who is he really, and why has he come? As love blooms and the world stops spinning, the secrets of the girls' past begin to unravel and escape is the only option.

A sumptuously written novel of love and grief; of sisterly affection and the ultimate sacrifice; of technological progress and climate catastrophe; of an enigmatic bear and a talking whale—'The End of the World Is Bigger than Love' is unlike anything you've read before.

About the author

Davina Bell

Davina Bell is an award-winning author of books for young readers of many ages. She writes picture books including 'All the Ways to be Smart' and 'Under the Love Umbrella', junior fiction 'Lemonade Jones' and middle-grade fiction the 'Corner Park Clubhouse' series. Davina lives in Melbourne, where she works as a children's book editor.

Judges’ comments

This novel is an ode to the love and connection of twin sisters, the coping mechanisms we create in order to deal with trauma and loss, and the ingenuity and strength two young girls find in their quest to survive a world that is 'greying'. In an eerily possible future, the girls create an almost idyllic lifestyle on a remote island without power or the distractions of other people or modern life, reeling from the death of their mother and challenged after their scientist father disappears from their 'safe haven'.

The 'seasonal' twins Winter and Summer, create a somewhat magical existence between them, reading their mother's books to each other and end to end several times over as an act of solace, familiarity and identity. A secret is uncovered about their father's role in the earth tilting off its axis, both metaphorically and physically with dire consequences for their family, and the rest of the human race.

When a stranger comes along, they are forced to save themselves, mortified to discover betrayal and lies … and yet hope prevails. In the end the girls' connection and love, as well as that of their parents is what saves them both, as the ever-nearing end of the world approaches.

This beguiling story leaves you with many unanswered questions and a distressing window into what may lie ahead, into the things that could make the world stop turning, and the things we are willing to sacrifice, in order to save ourselves and the people we love. 'The End of the World is Bigger than Love' will linger in your mind, as you consider what becomes of Summer and Winter in the many layers of this magical tale.