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The Things That Keep Us Here

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,207 Ratings  ·  629 Reviews
Everything seems quiet on Ann Brooks’s suburban cul-de-sac. Despite her impending divorce, she’s created a happy home and her daughters are adjusting to the change. She feels lucky to be in a supportive community and confident that she can handle any other hardship that life may throw her way. But then, right before Thanksgiving, a crisis strikes that turns everybody’s wor ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published January 25th 2011 by Bantam (first published 2010)
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Jun 17, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
The Things That Keep Us Here explores what would happen to an average American family in the event of a worldwide pandemic and, in capturing the rapidly deteriorating conditions, the perpetual paranoia, and the tedium of isolation while cut off from all forms of communication, it largely succeeds. For days after reading it, I found myself making mental checklists. Do we have enough candles? Check. Do we have enough canned goods? Check. Do we have enough hand sanitizer? Check. Do we have enough p ...more
Feb 22, 2013 Craig rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of people recommended this one to me.

With my penchant for apocalyptic fiction, I went along.

O.k. Where to start?

First of all, for more than half of the novel, I thought that this was a young adult book as it was written down to such a level. I thought that it was o.k. as a YA novel though I had read better. I was absolutely shocked that it was intended for adult readers.

My mother always said that I should have something nice to say. So, I will say that this is a quick read.

In many way
Kim Miller-Davis
Dec 10, 2011 Kim Miller-Davis rated it it was amazing
I didn't know what to expect with this book because the back cover only alludes to "life-or-death decisions." So, when I found out (within the first few pages) that the characters were facing a possible health scare similar to the 1918 flu pandemic, I was a little put-off. If this doesn't seem interesting, don't let it scare you away!

This was a fascinating book with descriptions of a normal family in a Columbus, Ohio-area neighborhood in the suburbs that could be any family in any neighborhood,
May 28, 2011 Kathy rated it it was amazing
There are few better reading pleasures than meeting an author at a book festival, liking what you hear about her debut novel, and then reading it and having your socks knocked off. Buckley writes with the maturity and acumen of a far more experienced writer than she is. The plot, the characters, the setting are all seamless, moving through a story of devastation and loss with the ease of taking a breath and letting it out. And, oh, what a good story comes out! The imperfection of her characters ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This book was scare factor to the fullest for me. I work in healthcare and could so see this happening.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruth Turner

An enjoyable read for the most part, and it held my interest. I did find that it dragged a little through the middle but then picked up again.

Although I didn't care too much for the two main characters they were realistic and believable. I often found myself wondering what I'd do if it was me. And that was a really scary thought!

May 24, 2015 Myrna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Thought provoking read.
Alisha Marie
What is it about apocalyptic/dystopian novels that make most people love them so much? I mean, they can't be good for the soul. Great books have the uncanny ability to make you feel as you're not merely observing what's happening, but rather you are right there experiencing everything that's happening. That happened with me and The Things That Keep Us Here (and a big chunk of other dystopian/apocalyptic novels I've read).

I was extremely distressed while reading The Things That Keep Us Here. It's
Possibly the best book I've read this year. If you loved "The Road", you will love this book. It's about how a family survives when there's a pandemic of bird flu. The main characters are Peter, Ann, Kate, and Maddie. The story never lulls, is always believable, and you really cannot put the book down. I have been reading it continuously since yesterday and have only taken breaks to sleep, eat, and use the loo. Now, that's a great book. You grow to feel like you know each character, and you care ...more
Mar 01, 2014 Elvan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happens when the H5N1 avian flu virus jumps from birds to humans? Pandemic.
I'm not sure what I was expecting to get when I chose to read this book. I thought I had reached my dystopian quota for the decade in 2013.
Apparently not.

The Things that Keep Us Here follows one family's effort to survive a pandemic outbreak. I think most readers can picture the break down of services, inflation, crime rate soaring and frustrated kids with no access to the internet.
After spending three days this pas
Oct 07, 2009 eb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, this is the kind of beach ready, trashy book that features cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. Yes, Buckley's prose is workmanlike and her characters flat. And yes, you feel as if you're reading a fleshed-out screenplay. But goodness gracious, it's an exciting fleshed-out screenplay, and the movie will be gripping. I'm someone who can't be bothered getting flu shots or worrying about H1N1, but this tale of a worldwide avian flu epidemic gave me nightmares and kinda sorta made me see th ...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Dec 14, 2009 Shellie (Layers of Thought) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys apocalyptic scenerios
Recommended to Shellie (Layers of Thought) by: Book Browse
Synopsis and Review:

*includes basic set up information to entice but does not disclose middle or ending of book*

Ann and Peter are separated and going through the process of getting a divorce. Peter has instigated the separation. It’s the “I love you but not in love with you” scenario. Ann is suffering from the inevitable repercussions of this, yet is mostly reconciled with the fact.

They have two healthy girls, one 8 and the other 13, to whom they are devoted. Ann dotes on them while teaching at
Feb 13, 2011 Louise rated it really liked it

Ann and Peter Brooks have two daughters: twelve-year-old Kate and seven-year-old Maddie who live in the comfortable suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Their baby, William, had died causing unspeakable grief for Ann and Peter which has affected their relationship irreparably. One night while driving home from a family get together, Peter announces that they should separate and spend some time alone. He tells Anne that he “still loves her”
Mar 16, 2011 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Masterfully written, frighteningly real, this novel drew me in quickly and kept me up past midnight.

A fairly straightforward plot: avian flu shifts to infect humans, with a 50% mortality rate. One family provides the lens through which the readers view the pandemic. Their physical struggle to survive a crisis for which they are not prepared frames a deeply moving, emotional story.

Carla Buckley's skill in this debut novel demonstrates an real understanding of human emotion and dynamics, without
Nov 17, 2009 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readit, 2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie Compton
Nov 02, 2009 Julie Compton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book succeeds on so many levels. The writing is assured. From the very first scene, the author nails a certain type of husband/wife relationship. With an economy of words that evidences Buckley's skill, she captures the nuances of a marriage and all the things that go unspoken between a man and a woman. Going wider, she does the same with the dynamics in a family, in a neighborhood, even in the community at large. Every character, no matter how minor, is brought to life.

The concept is huge,
Mary Angel
Nov 22, 2009 Mary Angel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book Thursday as a First Reads giveaway and I just finished it today. The Things That Keep Us Here centers on the world being hit by an avian flu pandemic. How Ann Brooks, her estranged husband Peter, and two children cope with the changes that this pandemic has brought to their lives. At first, I found the book predictable and at times it almost seemed like theauthor was writing more for a screenplay than for a novel At the end of chapter two, where the reader learns that a youn ...more

I won this book from Goodreads and I am very glad that I did. I was not disappointed at all. The book makes you think about how you would react if you were put into the same situation.
The story centers around the Brooks family who has already suffered a family tragedy. Ann and Peter who have two young daughters are struggling with their relationship when the H5N1 influenza strikes and becomes a pandemic. Carla Buckley, the author, shows how the family deals with the pandemic. As the crisis wo
Jul 01, 2010 Missy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian-novel

This story was very unsettling because it could happen to us at any time. I was discussing it with my husband, and we both agreed that if this were to really happen, he and I would probably not survive.

Carla Buckley brings to life a very real and frightening event of the worst kind.....a pandemic. It happens quickly, and within days many people are sick and dying. While I was reading, I realized exactly how much I take for granted in life. Shaken to the core after reading this book, I won't take
Mary Ellen
Oct 28, 2009 Mary Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Extremely Thought-Provoking
Carla Buckley's first novel takes on some very timely subject matter, and it is clearly well-researched. I was impressed with the detailed and vivid portrayals of the many unexpected obstacles that arose as the days of the quarantine turned into weeks. This novel raises so many survival instinct issues (like family before all else) that I connected with at a very personal level. The novel's protagonist, Ann, was a very fully drawn, sympathetic, and fascinating characte
Feb 23, 2015 Deanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Was one that really had me asking a lot of "what if" questions to myself. I found I was also having many conversations with my family about pandemics etc. I would definitely recommend this book.
Dec 04, 2009 KarenLee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This book is the story of a pandemic. It covers both the practical and emotional aspects that arise when an illness is killing 50% of the population.

At the beginning of the book I was constantly comparing the story with the news reports and fears we hear about currently concerning the "swine" flu, and this detracted from my enjoyment of the book. However, once in was a quarter of the way into the book, everything dropped away except the story. I love it when that happens, when the story is all t
Jun 08, 2010 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good pandemic novel..., February 8, 2010
I love an apocalyptic novel! Whether it be meteor strike, nuclear event, or medical meltdown - I'm your reader. For some reason, the stark portrayals of humans trying to survive against insurmountable odds always draws me in. This one did too!

The H5N1 virus (avian flu) strikes and the entire world is held hostage against the scourges of the disease. Of course it's winter (flu season IS in winter) and it's cold and the weather is bad -- which makes eve
Mar 21, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ann Brooks is a newly single mom taking care of two little girls while her estranged husband is busy doing scientific research surrounding an H5N1 virus (avian flu) that has struck their community. It starts in the bird population and quickly jumps species and becomes a level 5 pandemic among the human population. Now this estranged family must come together to survive the worst scenario of their life- being quarantined together while they must rely on the government and medical system to find a ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Jileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So when I started reading this book I was quite annoyed and unimpressed. The foreshadowing was obvious and tacky. "She won't make any mistakes" was said about the lab partner who was handling the flu samples. "It's coming here" said the little Korean girl whose family had been wiped out by the disease. I actually thought that was the worst foreshadowing I have ever read in a book. No thanks!

But I continued to read and before long I couldn't put it down. The story takes twists and turns that I di
Jun 06, 2010 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suspense Magazine
It isn’t often that a book has a very profound impact on my life and until now, it has never occurred when reading an authors debut. “The Things That Keep Us Here” is without a doubt one of the most powerful and realistically frightening books I have ever read. At each unexpected turn, I found myself praying for the best and wondering what I would do in such a situation. Would I be brave enough to make the hard decisions to save my family?

Ann and Peter Brooks—an average American couple—are not
Jul 12, 2012 Janine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What would happen if a pandemic threatened the health of humans throughout the world? What if a virus that doesn't normally affect humans or that typically isn't serious suddenly becomes lethal and quickly spreads across the population? What if the initial steps taken by countries across the globe fails to isolate it? What if cities across the country go into lock-down - schools and businesses close, and travel is banned? And finally: what if, on top of all this, your area is hit by a severe sno ...more
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Carla Buckley is the internationally bestselling author of The Good Goodbye, The Deepest Secret, Invisible, and The Things That Keep Us Here, which was nominated for a Thriller Award as a best first novel and the Ohioana Book Award for fiction. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and the Wharton School of Business, and currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She serves on the board of the ...more
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“Easy enough to fight when the monster kept its distance, easy enough to draw the line. But when the moster was literally outside the door, that's when your actions mattered. The hard choice wasn't opening the door. The hard choice was keeping it closed.” 8 likes
“Until she started teaching, Ann had no idea how much personal stuff children revealed in the classroom.” 1 likes
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