Well the good news is this book made me laugh. The bad news is I don’t think it was supposed to. I reserve one star reviews for books which are truly irredeemable, but I’m telling you, this one doesn’t miss it by much.
It is the epitome of the generic YA dystopian novel. The logical inconsistencies are not so much plot holes as bottomless chasms. The story is at best unbelievable and badly written. At its worst it is chilling evidence for the case that publishing houses employ some terrible editors. Some really terrible editors.
And then there are the characters, who are among the blandest I have ever encountered. Our red-haired (red-haired – we are told this multiple times) protagonist, Sherry, likes to count and think about boys. I can’t tell you anything else, because she is otherwise devoid of personality. The love interest, Joshua, may be an actual robot. His cringe-inducing dialogue is of a similar level to that of a self-checkout machine. And the descriptions aren’t much better…
‘I liked the sight of our entwined fingers, like honey and milk. Joshua gave me a sideways glance and when he noticed my eyes on him he pulled his hand back, curling his fingers around the steering wheel. I missed his touch.’
There are some other characters, but why mention them? Sherry doesn’t really, and they aren’t relevant to the plot. All this girl is interested in is Joshua. He’s blonde (so blonde – he must be, since we are told this ninety-nine times), and says shit a lot. Like, urgh, who wouldn’t want this dreamboat with a troubled past to sweep in and save their life?
And Sherry needs saving. You think you can get yourself into a difficult situation? Well sit down and let me tell you the story of a master disaster.
Sherry’s dad, prior to the rabid mutant zombie apolcalypse, built a bunker under his house with a push-bike generator that has the convenient power to provide a limitless supply of clean water. Pretty neat, I agree. But then Sherry’s dad, the so-called ‘survival expert’, waits until they are sharing the last can of food between six people (grandpa’s dead body is in the freezer and it’s not causing any pyschological issues, by the way), before waiting a further two days, and only then making the spontaneous decision to emerge. Weak with hunger, accompanied by his teenage daughter, he goes to sniff out some more supplies.
Also, the family ran out of soap three weeks prior. Six people, confined in a small bunker, with no soap. Not that maybe this might cause some problems worth mentioning? I guess Joshua has no sense of smell, or Sherry had more important subtle insights to share.
‘His eyes were glassy and red. He must have been crying.’
Anyway, the undoubtedly gag-inducing stink duo head out, and Sherry’s dad gets kidnapped by some rabid zombies. His two-dimensional character becomes, thereafter, a plot device, and we head into the territory of inane teenage romance.
We stay there. There are a few further attempts at action and drama, but whenever Sherry isn’t oogling Joshua’s biceps and blue-eyed blondeness, she’s thinking about doing so. In short, she’s a vacuous bore who doesn’t care about anything but lover boy’s approval, not that anyone really minds, because young (so instant that there’s no reason to question the authenticity) love, is just so cute, right?
You may be wondering why I didn’t just give this sickening lump of words one star and have done with it. I did consider it, but having powered through to the end, I was rewarded by a plot twist. It’s not worth reading the book for, but it’s a vague suggestion that the sequel might be better. Life is, however, too short, so I won’t be bothering.