Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Living” as Want to Read:
The Living
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
read excerpt* *Different edition

The Living (The Living #1)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  1,660 ratings  ·  439 reviews
Shy took the summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he'll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two—every cruise has different passengers, after all.
But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy's only weeks out at sea when an earthqu
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2013)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Check out Scott Reads It!
The Living is a strange novel because each part is extremely different in tone and atmosphere. The first part of this novel had a very contemporary feel and it had a nice mix of romance and interesting introspective writing. Part two of The Living was strictly apocalyptic and it abandoned all of the thought-provoking messages that I loved in part one. Part three is a whole different story and I felt like the point of this part was to help kick-start a unwarranted ser
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The Bibliosanctum:

This book first caught my attention because I noticed a blurb likening it to a Young Adult version of LOST - which was actually a show I really enjoyed before it turned all WTFery bizarre. The result however, was not quite what I expected. I wouldn't say I'm disappointed, though; The Living wasn't a bad book, just different.

I'm also not surprised to see that opinions are all over the place for this one. It is a book made
Lauren Morrill
This book was pitched to me as a YA LOST... Big shoes to fill, right? Well, The Living lives up to it and more (and only a little bit because I expect that The Living is going to have an actual ENDING ... Lost, I'll never forgive you for that). Anyway, this was tense, heartbreaking, exciting, and just generally in-put-downable. The only thing that sucks is how long I'll have to wait for the next one ... Arg.
In a reading conference this week, a student told me the last book he read didn't have enough action. Well, with The Living, he will not be disappointed. I read it in two sittings, eagerly absorbed in Shy's story. Working on a cruise ship, making friends, having new experiences, Shy is a good kid who loves his family and dreams of loving Carmen. A big storm, a spying stranger, a mysterious and horrifying disease, intrigue and murder. This books is like an action-adventure movie all in one.
I love Matt de la Pena. I loved reading Mexican White Boy and We Were Here. So . . . I was excited to get his new book on Tuesday, and I started reading it yesterday. It is a departure from his other books even though he still writes about people and cultures he knows. That's good. But as I started to read I kept thinking, really a love interest so early? A mystery illness? A natural disaster? Wait. What is going on? Way too much. AND IT IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES! Noooooo! With all of that said, ...more
Emily Scott
~*Review Might Contain Spoilers*~
In a world where YA novels are dominated by plain saltine female leads, Shy is a fresh breath of air.
Amazingly this novel is set over a time period of about 8 days. Starting out, I thought this book would just be a nice survival story, sort of like The Raft. BOY, was I wrong. It starts off with Shy reliving a traumatic event that occurred on the last voyage off the cruise ship he worked on. Other than the prologue, it had a nice light start, average big softie
Andrew Hicks
The best thing about The Living , to me, was the illusion I created for myself that it was going to be a standalone book. There was a juggling act of plot threads, mysterious characters and natural disasters, and I was excited to see how author Matt de la Pena would resolve all of it in the span of 300 pages. The answer, of course, was that he wasn’t going to, but the anticipation propelled me through the book. And even with some loose ends untied, it was still a satisfying read. I’ll check out ...more
Tara Byers
Looking through the other reviews, I'm surprised this book rated as many stars as it did. Maybe I'm just the oddball out on this one, but this book was "Meh..." for me. I was expecting an exciting tale of survivalist fiction - and there is some of that, don't get me wrong, but there's also a medical mystery dotted with murder. Which is fine. Great. Dandy. But here's where I fell off The Living train.

The narrator.

I just... maybe as a woman in my early thirties I just can't relate to teenage boy
This is a rounded up 3. I can’t quite say I honestly liked this but it was much closer than a 2.5. Geez, book ratings can be funny like that. Anyway!

I wrote a fair amount of thoughts on this before I realized that most of what I have to say all comes down to one problem:

I thought this was purely survivalist fiction. It’s not.

That’s what I was looking forward to and expecting. In reality, this is a mystery/conspiracy/medical thriller with an incidental disaster thrown in. That might sound all wel
The Living by Matt de la Pena was AMAZING! (SPOILER ALERT)

When Shy first met Addison, or Addie, I felt bad for Shy and then he got stuck on the raft with her after the tsunami I was NOT wanting to be Shy. I also was kind of nervous when he could not find Carmen and found Kevin with blood coming out of his forehead "like a fountain". This book reminds me of the Legend series where the main character has a horrible past. The end of this book confused me slightly when Shy was trying to get medicine
Oh my god! What the hell did Matt de la Pena ever do to you, Brilliance Audio? The reader on this audiobook not only can't remotely pull off de la Pena's contemporary language (we knew we were in trouble when he made "score some new kicks" sound like a distasteful drug reference), but the accent he shifts into for the Australian underwear model Kevin is so ludicrous that my sons have adopted it for all of their doomed characters when they play Forbidden Desert. I want Kevin to die soon, and not ...more
After his grandmother’s death from a mysterious illness, Shy and his mother need money. Shy’s takes a job on a cruise ship to help pay her medical bills. One night Shy sees a man climbing over the ship’s railing. Shy tries to stop him from jumping, but after after a short conversation the man apologizes for betraying Shy and throws himself overboard. Then things get weird: someone on board is determined to find out what the man revealed in the last moments of his life and the old shoeshine man s ...more
Connor Kressler
I thought this was a great book. The author does a very good job of portraying the mind of the main character. The main characters name is Shy and he is about 16 years old. As a teenager the reader can definitely relate to the protagonist. The book is extremely suspenseful and very surprising. Although it is a suspenseful, thrilling book it also slows down at times and is very thoughtful when the characters lives are on the line. I could never imagine myself in the position the characters are i ...more
Full of action, adventure, and mystery for sure.
Now I know why James Dashner recommended it HOWEVER, Matt de la Pena seems to incorporate the entire disaster, disease, everyday male protagonist in a much more exciting, non-"are we there yet?" manner...


P.S. The Acknowledgements were great :3

*More like a 3.5 because iffy character developm

LES VIVANTS est un pur concentré d'action et de suspense. Ce n'est pas compliqué : de la première à la dernière page, j'ai eu le souffle coupé. Matt de la Peña nous livre avec brio un récit apocalyptique et saisissant qui nous prend réellement aux tripes. Tout est mis en place pour conférer au roman un rythme haletant et palpitant dans lequel nous nous laissons emportés sans nous en apercevoir. En écrivant ma chronique, je me rends-compte que je n'ai qu'un
May 03, 2014 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens who want a thriller or live in San Diego
This book will be easy to booktalk in my system (San Diego PL) since the hero is from Otay Mesa, an area near the border but part of San Diego. Shy is working on cruise ships to help earn money to support his family since the death of his grandmother from Romero Disease. This was named after a governor in a state of Mexico who died from it. While doing some of his jobs on board the ship he briefly talks with a man who says how he is Shy's worst enemy and a few other things. Then he jumps off the ...more
I would say that I liked the story overall (more on the rest later). I love a good survival tale, although I don't read them that often. This is a YA book so the characters weren't overly relatable, but I wasn't really expecting them to be. I want to keep this spoiler free, but I would like to briefly mention that the shark aggressiveness was really unrealistic. I didn't realize this was the first book in a series. When I finished the story, I was definitely interested to see what happens in the ...more
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
The Living took me completely by surprise and gave me the unexpected. When you sit down with a book like this you immediately paint a picture of survival and that’s really about it, but The Living gives you much more. There are hints of attraction, friendship, mysterious and odd happenings, and then there is also the survival. It took me about four hours to blaze through this one and I’m so happy with it’s unique turn of events.

The plot for The Living is initially hard to explain and I have trou
Mary Louise Sanchez
Shy Espinoza, from a border town near Mexico, has taken a job as a crew member on a luxury cruise ship headed for Hawaii. The living should be great because the tips are big and he'll be able to help his single mom pay bills. There's also a hot Latina, Carmen, a member of the crew. But Shy learns she's engaged to an up-and-coming lawyer. He also learns middle class Mexican Americans aren't the only ones who have problems. Wealthy cruise people have problems too and Shy can't save one first class ...more
Wandering Librarians
Shy is spending the summer working on a cruise ship. It seems like a pretty great job, until, on his second trip out, he witnesses a man jump to his death. Now he's being followed and questioned, even though Shy knows nothing about the man. Then an enormous earthquake hits California, followed by a tsunami, destroying the ship.

This is the first book in a series. I hadn't read anything by Matt de la Pena before, even though Mexican Whiteboy has been on my "to read" list forever.

The Living mixes
I have a hard time classifying this one...medical thriller, survival, mystery, sci fi. This has elements of all these genre, but at the heart is a character I love and care deeply about. Shy (love how he got his nickname!)is trying to make some good money by working on a cruise boat, putting up with spoiled people who have more money than sense. This cruise is tough, since he watched a man throw himself off the last one. Before his plunge, he talked to Shy about strange things...his guilt, and h ...more
Keegan Wong
After observing the passengers suicidal attempt, Shy is disturbed and the book really picks up. A nonstop thriller from this point on. Such an exciting book I could not put it down. With underlying themes that can directly reflect the internal with the external conflicts brings a refreshing unique twist enhancing the other even more. I would surely recommend this book to any who enjoy an action packed drama.
Alicia Farley
The protagonist's name bothered me from the beginning because I kept thinking she in my head as I read. I had to correct myself for the first five chapters. I can't say that I liked the protagonist which may be the reason I had a difficult time enjoying the book. Overall, from the characters to the plot, the word that keeps returning to my mind is inconsistent.
This book tells approximately 50 trope stories at the same time, with another approximate 45 sideplots going on that somehow, de la Pena manages to link up in a sense-making way. There's the zombie-like-outbreak plotline. There's the Mexican-teen-working-on-a-cruise-ship-for-rich-white-people plotline. There's the series-of-earthquakes-destroy-the-entire-West-coast plotline. There's the ack-those-earthquakes-are-now-causing-a-series-of-tsunamis-which-have-capsized-and-destroyed-our-ship plotline ...more
Hmm... not an easy review to write. I liked the first 2/3 of the book alot. Young man named Shy which kind of was my first problem. Everytime I read his name on the page to me in my brain it came out She.. anyway Shy witness's a man jump off the cruise ship after having a brief conversation with Shy. Within a week Shy is working on another luxury cruise when the Big One hits California just after Shy finds out his nephew is sick in Otay Mesa California with the same illness that killed his gran ...more
Kris Dinnison
De la Peña's new novel is part one of a series. Shy, a young Mexican-American man from a California border town, is on his first luxury cruise. But he's not a passenger; he's a part of the crew. When a passenger engages Shy in a drunken conversation and then throws himself overboard, Shy gets caught up in a mystery involving a vicious pandemic, an earthquake, and a Tsunami. De la Peña provides both incredible action and compelling characters in a story that keeps readers on the edge of their sea ...more
Kelsey Shivers
This is a great YA pick! While the middle was a bit predictable, the beginning immediately hooked me and the end had so much suspense that I could not put it down. I'm eager for the sequel set to come out in May!
Liz B
Shy needs money, so he takes a job on a cruise ship. All is well (even though the hot girl he likes has him firmly in the friend zone), he's making friends and great tips, until he's the only witness to a passenger suicide. The things get mysterious. Top that off with a tsunami caused by a huge earthquake in California--and things start to get really exciting.

This is brilliant work. Matt de la Pena balances suspense/ action with character development and social issues in a way that keeps the boo
Xavier Tan
I Think that this book is great. The book is about a guy called Shy who works on a cruiser. He travels to many places but a suicide occurs on the ship and a series of conflicts come, including a big storm caused by a earthquake. I find this book very interesting because the book has many conflicts which want you to know what will happen. What makes the book even more interesting is that there are some points earlier in the book that somehow solve the conflicts in the most unexpected ways, creati ...more
Shy is a good kid from Otay Mesa, devoted to his family: his grandmother, who has died of an Ebola-like virus called Romero Disease; his mother, whom he is helping to support by working on a cruise ship; and his younger brother, who is also ill, but possibly curable. On Shy's first cruise, a mysterious man climbs over the railing on the highest balcony, to throw himself into the sea, after expressing guilt to Shy for having betrayed him. Shy, unable to hold on to this suicidal passenger long eno ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
CAS Readers: The Living by Matt De La Pena 1 1 Dec 17, 2014 03:58AM  
  • Killer of Enemies
  • Chasing Shadows
  • The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
  • Golden Boy
  • Wake Up Missing
  • Living with Jackie Chan (Jumping Off Swings, #2)
  • Caged Warrior
  • Muckers
  • Darius & Twig
  • The Milk of Birds
  • Threatened
  • The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Extra
  • Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
  • A Matter of Days
  • Summer of the Mariposas
  • Black Helicopters
Matt de la Peña is the author of five critically-acclaimed young adult novels—Ball Don't Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You and The Living—as well as the award-winning picture book A Nation’s Hope: The story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school ...more
More about Matt de la Pena...

Other Books in the Series

The Living (2 books)
  • The Hunted (The Living #2)
Mexican WhiteBoy We Were Here I Will Save You Curse of the Ancients (Infinity Ring #4) Ball Don't Lie

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“The ocean talks to you. Especially at night. Whispering voices that never let up, not even when you sleep.” 2 likes
More quotes…