We have several posts coming your way today. We're posting a review of Demitria Lunetta's In the After, a spotlight on Second Suns, a review for Rachel Shukert'sStarstruck, and most importantly: our blog tour posts dedicated to Bridget Zinn's Poison.
First up, In the After. We were lucky enough to read an ARC from Harper's, and were blown away. We can't wait for everyone to read this book when it's released on June 25th.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: June 25th 2013 by Harper Teen
Synopsis (via Goodreads)
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.
Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.
After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.
Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.
Things that worked:
Lunetta’s created a strong, clever, proactive and likeable protagonist in Amy.
From the start of the book, we’re isolated in Amy’s head. Without any significant human interactions during the first half of the book, Amy could have easily come across as boring or self-absorbed.
But thanks to Lunetta’s skill, Amy remains consistently compelling, likeable and interesting to read. She views life in the After with a tough, cynical but understandable eye, and provides us with the ideal narrator to adjust to the idea that earth is now populated by deadly aliens.
Though we don’t “hear” much of Baby in the first half of the book, she’s also a unique, likable character in her own right.
* The writing.
Lunetta is a strong, fluid writer who tackles her story with a lot of skill.
First, her ability to create a creepy, post-invasion setting is remarkable. As another reviewer pointed out, Lunetta doesn’t get too overly descriptive when trying to set the tone for Amy’s new life. She focuses on the small things that matter: e.g. describing the need to pad cans in a bag with candy and popcorn; and lets our imagination (and fear of the unknown/fear of the dark) fill in the rest.
Lunetta’s also incredibly talented with her ability to incorporate a number of writing devices – e.g. flashbacks and flash forwards – to propel the story forward. At no point was I confused by the flashbacks/flash forwards, nor was I able to guess some of the upcoming plot points.
* Developing/embellishing on previously-used tropes.
Lunetta’s ability to utilize common story lines from science fiction, and make them fresh and innovative.
While Lunetta does use a lot of well-known science fiction story lines – the idea of the alien invasion; the concept of being the last human one earth; the dysfunctional band of survivalists – she does such a good job of adding her own twist onto them, they become completely unique as a result.
* The plotting.
Unlike books with similar plot lines, Lunetta places the reader in the thick of things, after the invasion has taken place. She gradually unfolds the pre-invasion world, as Amy lives her daily life. This did a good job in showing the stakes that Amy now lived with, while also reminiscing on the magnitude of everything she's lost.
Lunetta also does a fantastic job in keeping the story flowing through a variety of developments - e.g. the reason for Amy and Baby's forced relocation to New Hope - by both showing us that not all hope is lost, while also pulling plot twists which remind Amy/Baby (and the reader) to stay on their guard.
Things that didn't work:
In the After is an ideal reading choice for both teenage girls looking for an admirable role model similar to Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games, or for teenage boys who may be reluctant readers.
Disclaimer: We received an ARC of In the After from HarperTeen via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!