I’ve read a lot of dystopian and post-apocalyptic teen novels over the last few years, and have been starting to tire of them. The last ones I’ve read...moreI’ve read a lot of dystopian and post-apocalyptic teen novels over the last few years, and have been starting to tire of them. The last ones I’ve read have definitely left something to be desired, but this first in The Last Survivors series (now up to four books) came highly recommended, so I gave it a shot.
Like her friends and family, Miranda is worried but also a little excited at the news of a meteor on a path to clip the moon. Meteor viewing parties are planned, and the atmosphere leading up to the big event is festive (think block parties with telescopes). Miranda’s neighborhood is surprised that they can see the meteor hurtling through space with a naked eye, and shocked when what they had anticipated to be a minor event ends up knocking the moon closer to the Earth.
I’m sure you can guess what would happen if the moon were suddenly on a trajectory closer to Earth. The expected tidal waves, volcanoes (resulting in ash blocking out the sun for long stretches of time) and Arctic winter ensue. Miranda and her family must use all their resources to survive, but for what?
Although in many ways this was a pretty typical post-apocalyptic teen read, what set it apart (for me) was both the format of the book, which was written as dated journal entries by Miranda over the course of many months, and the pace of the narrative. I enjoyed that the story started before the main event and that the aftermath of the meteor’s destruction was slowly revealed.
Although I probably won’t read the rest of the series (why must all teen books be serial?) I quite enjoyed this one. (less)
Imagine if your whole family disappeared, and you were the only one left. Or maybe it was your best friend who was suddenly gone, or that kid you went...moreImagine if your whole family disappeared, and you were the only one left. Or maybe it was your best friend who was suddenly gone, or that kid you went to elementary school with, or your mailman. It might have been The Rapture that took them, but there’s no real way to know. They’re gone, and you’re still here. You’re one of the leftovers.
On October 14th, thousands of people suddenly disappeared from earth, leaving their friends, families, and worldly goods behind. The Sudden Departure, as it came to be known, changed the shape of things across the world – religious groups were sparked, new philosophies and movements ran rampant, and the “survivors” had to learn to cope with losing their loved ones, and also with not being chosen themselves.
Tom Perrotta’s most recent book (named one of the best books of 2011 by NPR, the New York Times, and Kirkus, among others) takes you inside the lives and minds of the Garvey family and portrays the aftermath of the Sudden Departure on each family member. Although the events of October 14th didn’t directly affect the Garveys (parents Laurie and Kevin and their two teenage children, Jill and Tom, are all survivors,) they will never be the same. Laurie joins a cult of silent “watchers,” who are tasked with (silently) reminding those around them of what has happened. Kevin, now effectively a single parent, does his best to care for Jill and her friend Aimee (whose mother is among the missing.) While searching for love and companionship to help ease his pain, Kevin finds Nora, who has lost a husband and two young children – her entire family.
And then there are the kids. Jill is an “Eyewitness” — she was there when her friend Jen disappeared — and has filled in her sadness with drugs and alcohol and sex. Tim is absent from the rest of the family after dropping out of college and not returning home, but has joined another sort of cult and traveled the country spreading their word. Now unsure about the choices he has made, Tim begins to question what he should do next.
I’ve read some criticism about The Leftovers lacking a real ending, but the way Perrotta closed the book left me feeling hopeful and excited for each character. He doesn’t complete the individual story lines, but shows the direction their new lives are heading.
The only other Perrotta book I’ve read is Little Children, which I also really enjoyed. Next I’ll pick up either Election or The Abstinence Teacher – any recommendations on which is the better? (less)
I was recently looking for a somewhat short audio book to get me to Asheville and back without too much leftover, and came across The Road which, at a...moreI was recently looking for a somewhat short audio book to get me to Asheville and back without too much leftover, and came across The Road which, at about 7 hours, seemed perfect. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did.
McCarthy’s novel is the post-apocalyptic tale of a father and his young son as they trek away from their home and toward the south, hoping for a land less ravaged than the one they are leaving. McCarthy has left the cause of the catastrophe vague, but the consequences can be seen everywhere; soot and unclean air are abundant, the sun’s warmth and light barely reach the ground, food is difficult to come by and has mostly been scavenged, and the few people who have survived must be willing to do anything to protect themselves.
The narrative spans several months and follows the encounters and challenges that the duo face in their daily life. The writing is beautiful and the rich vocal tones of the narrator, Tom Stechschulte, are a wonderful match for the mood and pacing of the story.
If you like this type of book, you might also check out some of McCarthy’s others, such as All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and No Country for Old Men.(less)