It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life— and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
This has been called a zombie book, but I think it’s more of a survival story or a psychological study. Six people trapped in one place and there was no clear cut good or bad. There was no, “Oh, well, Harrison should live because he’s the youngest” or “Grace is so nice, I hope she makes it!” These people were all flawed and real. Courtney Summers is great at creating characters like this – ones you sympathize with one moment and then dislike the next.
This is one of those books that makes you question your own hypothetical responses – would you have Sloane’s passive-aggressive attitude, would you try to keep some semblance of normal like Trace and his morning runs, or would you cry constantly like Harrison? Interestingly enough, the person I understood the most was Cary, so I’m not sure what that says about me. And I didn’t really care for Grace because, she, like Sloane, was also a bit too pass-agg for my taste. Rhys didn’t make a huge impression on me, either, but I didn’t dislike him.
This book made me hold my breath and gave me a few shivers when I read it before bed. It was that fear of the unknown, that life could suddenly shift and we’d be facing the end. I love these types of unsettling books.
Small note if you haven’t read it yet: I stumbled at the very beginning (before Part 1) because I had no idea what was going on with Lily. Once everything started happening, it made a lot more sense, but be warned that the first few pages might be confusing.
If you have read it, what were your thoughts? And if you’re not part of the YA Book Club yet, come join us!