Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Pages: 323, Paperback
Rating: 4 stars
Summary from Goodreads:
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?
The minute I finished reading this book I looked to see whether or not there was a sequel. I already knew there wasn't but I just refused to accept that ending. WHAT THE HECK COURTNEY SUMMERS. I spent most of this novel waiting for a certain ending (I am impatient like that) and then as I got closer and closer to the end of the book I began to accept that maybe another outcome would ensue. Well I was rather upset when NEITHER ending happened especially since the two endings are rather black and white with no grey area. The fact that Courtney Summers found a grey area is because WE DIDN'T GET AN ENDING. I will forever be in a state of unrest not knowing "what's next" (not really, i'm just being dramatic). I wish I could be more specific but I don't want to spoil anything and well, maybe it will add to the suspense for those who haven't read it!
I obviously still enjoyed this book judging by my 4 star rating. But it read more like a dark contemporary than anything else. The characters were trying to survive themselves and each other more so than the zombies outside. You really could have replaced the threat of zombies with anything else and the book wouldn't be very different. But the presence of zombies did enhance the the overall feel of utter hopelessness. It was well done too, not cheesy or unrealistic. I think this was a result of the intentional lack of focus. No details were added that weren't necessary to the story. It was a smart move.
Sloane had already given up on life by the time the apocalypse started. After years of abuse from her father, the only thing keeping Sloane together was her sister Lily. So when Lily betrayed her and left, she lost all hope for a better future. She's surprised to find herself in the company of 5 other students who want to survive, when all she wants to do is die, even if that end comes brutally at the hand of hungry zombies.
Tension is high in the gym. Siblings Grace and Trace blame Cary for the death of their parents and mentally break him down one blow after another. Their obvious division takes its toll on the others. Rhys stands by Cary, meanwhile Harrison follows whoever he believes gives him the best chance for survival. Rhys is a strong character but has a more subtle presence next to Cary, the natural leader, and Trace, whose controlled by his emotions. Sloane largely remains impassive, mostly due to her inability to feel much of anything anymore, but nevertheless emotions of longing and connection start to creep in.
This story's strength is in its characters and their relationships. The threat of zombies has everyone on edge and their feelings are on overdrive. There is obvious loss, and a desperation to hold onto what little is left. These kids are forced to grow up really fast and make decisions that will make the difference between life and death. Courtney Summers does a beautiful job building these characters and portraying their struggles. Lastly, Sloane's POV is an interesting one to have since she doesn't share the same will to live as the others. It was a very unique dynamic and created one compelling read. I was hooked!