Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: 6-19-12
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? – Goodreads
I admit that I have never been a fan of zombie novels. I just never saw the appeal to this type of story, but if more zombie books were like this, I would most certainly be converted. To say that this book stays with you is an understatement. The writing seeps into your mind until it permeates every paranoid little fear you keep in your sub-conscience and brings it to your frontal lobe and the next thing you know, you are mentally making zombie escape plans when you should be paying attention to your kids.
In my mind, the brilliance of this story is in Sloane’s inability to decide whether her life is worth something. Even before the zombie apocalypse, she wants to die. Because of that, this book was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. How can there be any hope when the main character doesn’t want to live? I almost didn’t know how to relate to her because of it, but the group of students that find themselves barricaded in the high school turn this book into an ensemble cast of complicated, flawed and dynamic characters. Not everyone is a hero, not everyone is able to process the devastation taking place outside and these realistic reactions give the reader no reprise from the fear that something or someone from the outside might get in at any moment. You are there in that school with them and you may or may not get out alive.
This book that is filled from beginning to end with death, seemed to me to be all about life. Sloane’s history, her inability to break free from her fear, and her inability to escape the past that lives in her head has turned her into a living zombie in many ways. She has had no opportunity to think about who she is without fear or pain and the realization that she does want to live and that she can live comes only after seeing indescribable death. Although this book is bloody, and I don’t mean to downplay the terrifying zombie-ness of it, it is so much more than just a story about someone who is trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. I was surprised by how much this book stayed with me long after I finished it. This book will be on my “recommend to everyone I meet” list for a long, long time.
I read this book as a part of the Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tour.