Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Living (The Living, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Living (The Living, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt* *Different edition

The Living

(The Living #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  4,632 ratings  ·  1,074 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 earthqua
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee JonesThe 5th Wave by Rick YanceyReal by Katy EvansBranded by Abi KetnerThe Law of Attraction by N.M. Silber
New Series (2013)
1,002 books — 2,607 voters
The 5th Wave by Rick YanceyGameboard of the Gods by Richelle MeadMind Games by Kiersten WhiteThe Program by Suzanne YoungLet the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
First In Series (2013)
906 books — 2,309 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,632 ratings  ·  1,074 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Living (The Living, #1)
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: survival
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
Tara Byers
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Colleen Houck
This book was a roller coaster ride from beginning to end. I can totally picture it as a movie. The tsunami scenes were terrifying! And don't get me started on the sharks. *shiver* Loved it!
Lauren Morrill
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Welcome to Book City
Date: November 26, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

The Living
Matt de La Peña

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 earthquake more massive than ever before re
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I fairly enjoyed this and it took me back to when I was reading the maze runner, trying to figure out what exactly was happening. I was interested, I was able to connect to the main character and I enjoyed the whole story! Now, I just have to see if I can find the second book!
Prince William Public Libraries
Shy Espinoza is just your regular teen from Otay Mesa spending his summer working on a cruise ship to make extra money. Between handing out water bottles and towels, catching some sun, hanging out with his friends, and being surrounded by beautiful girls, what more could a guy want? But underneath Shy’s tough-guy exterior lies a boy with a very big heart who’s trying to earn enough money to send back home to his nephew who has been stricken with the deadly Romero disease that killed Shy’s grandm ...more
Emily Scott
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
~*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
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Elle (ellexamines)
This book is a wild ride. I ended it completely won over by the well-paced action scenes and terrifying cliffhangers. It's incredibly exhilarating. That alone deserves four stars.

The issue is that this isn't a good mystery / dystopia novel. Matt De La Pena's style shines when he writes action scenes, but slow, creepy, atmospheric scenes come off flat in his style. This book seriously suffers in terms of atmosphere.

There's another issue here, and it's glaring: the characters. Shy is one of the
Jun 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, audio
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
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

I was interested enough to finish this, but I didn't love it. The characters needed more depth, and the dialogue felt off. There was a nice amount of suspense, and it was hard to put down in parts, but I think I can go without reading the sequel.
May 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Living is a far cry from Matt de la Peña's 2016 Newbery Medal-winning picture book, Last Stop on Market Street. Bringing a fresh, cinematic perspective on the awesome scope of disaster stories to teen literature, Matt de la Peña crafts an extraordinarily immediate adventure novel from page one, portraying the romance of an ocean cruise with palpably atmospheric delight. He gets all the little details right to build the ambience of the scene: the carefree demeanor of super-rich passengers on ...more
Abigail Hedgepeth
This book is one of the best books I have ever read. It kept me on edge the entire book and had a very interesting story line and the twists in the book were very captivating.
The book starts off with Shy, a teenager from San Diego , California. He comes from a pretty poor family and picks up a job as a worker on a cruise ship. It seemed like the perfect job since he would make so much in tip money which would help out with his mothers bills shy had done a couple of other voyages and on the last
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Every now and then I venture out of my comfort zone into something new and foreign--this time it was teenage action, gore and suspense. Shy (the main character's nickname) gets a job on an exclusive cruise ship thinking it's a great summer job. On his first cruise, a distraught man jumps overboard. On his second cruise, the ship is obliterated by a number of tsunamis created by an earthquake that has devastated the entire Western coastline of North America. (Yes, it was a big one.) He finds hims ...more
Nicholas Erickson
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought it was a great book. I didn’t want to put it down. I found it to be very interesting and I’m glad I read it.
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
Andrew Hicks
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
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 o ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 11th-grade
Although the author cheaply grabbed any young reader in the first pages with his incessant swearing and terms like "bro" and "dude", it still was a good book. The Living has a lot going for it. It reminds me of The Maze Runner series, because of its similar dystopian setting/plot. It even has that romantic subplot everyone seems to dig. It had a good deal of survival tactics in it as well. The only thing I didn't like about this was it has a shipwrecked boat with a huge tsunami wave on it. Reall ...more
Shaeley Santiago
Shy works on a cruise ship for the summer to make money to help support his family. However, an event on his first voyage out changes things for him. Little does he know how much more his life is going to change that summer.
Jane Young
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not the type of book I would usually pick up and read, however, I enjoyed the fast pace and action in it.
David Marshall
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Imagine getting hit by the biggest earthquake ever recorded and then several tsunamis after that. Shy just wanted to make some money at a summer job on a cruise line, but he was in for a rude awakening when the “big one” hits. Suddenly, it becomes a fight for those left living. It is a very intense book about a boy and others fighting for their lives with drama, romance, action, suspense, and more.

I loved “The Living.” Some Goodreads members may claim that the book ran through big events too f
Lily Srodulski
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Living- Book review

Thunder, lightning, tsunamis, the most significant earthquake ever recorded, sharks and diseases were only half of the problems that Shy encountered during his summer job of working on a luxury cruise.
The book The Living, by Matt De La Peña, is a thrilling and mysterious book about a teenage boy, Shy, who was excited for a summer job to work on a cruise. Little did he know that he would be fighting for his life and trying to get to his home in Otay Mesa, CA.
One review f
Julie Suzanne
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: survival, ms-library
Gripping exposition, exciting plot. This thriller turns into a survival fiction story and should, I think, appeal to a variety of readers, and the author had something to say (particularly about class). I'd recommend this to my students in Grades 8-10, although to be honest, I've already been recommending it to my 7th & 8th graders just because it looked great. It gets checked out a lot, but since Book 2 hasn't ever been checked out, I'd say it's not been a successful match for any of them, and ...more
Ms. McFaul
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lib529

Super fast-paced, full of constant tension and suspense. Shy is a decent protagonist, but the two female characters (Carmen and Addie) are obnoxiously frustrating. Not well-rounded--one is snobby, entitled, and ignorant of her wealthy father's psychotic greed; the other is more interesting, yet engaged (she just graduated high school), dwelling on (mooning over) her fiancé. Shoeshine is an awesome surprise, and I appreciate Shy's love for, and devotion to, his family. I probably would not have r
Julia B
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
The Living is an overall good book. It starts off slow, with not much action. But suddenly, there is one cliff hanging chapter after another. I liked this book, I thought the characters were well developed and I was able to connect with them. However, toward the middle of the book it sort of took a downfall for me. Sort of bored me. Don't get me wrong there IS a lot of action in this book, but there is almost TOO much action. The author uses unnecessary details and conversations between characte ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book Review 2 2 4 Sep 27, 2018 09:43AM  
SQHS YLL: Book Review 6 8 Jun 04, 2018 02:09PM  
2018 Beyond the C...: Book Review 4 1 1 May 29, 2018 10:03AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sweet
  • Empty
  • Flirting with Boys
  • Out of Darkness
  • The Divide (The Divide, #1)
  • Ashes (Ashes Trilogy, #1)
  • The Young World (The Young World, #1)
  • Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten
  • Before the Ever After
  • The Raft
  • Seven Days In May
  • Bad Axe County
  • For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1)
  • Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
  • The Blackcollar (Blackcollar, #1)
  • Palimpsest: A History of the Written Word
  • Die Liebenden von Siena: Roman
  • Surrounded By Sharks
See similar books…
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times best-selling, Newbery-medal-winning author of six young adult novels and four picture books. 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 on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. He teaches creative writing and ...more

Other books in the series

The Living (2 books)
  • The Hunted (The Living, #2)

Related Articles

Matt de la Peña answers all our questions about the latest and final installment of the DC Icons series.
18 likes · 3 comments
“The ocean talks to you. Especially at night. Whispering voices that never let up, not even when you sleep.” 7 likes
“He stared at the glowing moon again, and he listened to the whispering ocean. His thoughts were more staticky than before, but for the first time since the summer started, he felt like he understood the ocean's whispering. It all came down to this. The darkness. The loneliness. The mystery. The fact that everyone's days were numbered, and it didn't matter if you were in premier class or worked in housekeeping. Those were only costumes people wore. And once you stripped them away you saw the truth. This giant ocean and this dark pressing sky. We only have a few minutes, but the unexplainable world is constant and forever marching forward.” 3 likes
More quotes…