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Half Lives

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  639 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Present day: Icie is a typical high school teenager - until disaster strikes and her parents send her to find shelter inside a mountain near Las Vegas.

The future: Beckett lives on The Mountain - a sacred place devoted to the Great I AM. He must soon become the leader of his people. But Beckett is forced to break one of the sacred laws, and when the Great I AM does not str
Paperback, UK, 256 pages
Published May 2nd 2013 by Indigo (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  639 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Jun 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
To be quite honest, I'm not even sure what this book is supposed to be about. It failed to engage me before one of the main plot points was even introduced. On the other hand, it made me feel a lot better about DNF-ing books, because life is too short for boring books. So, uh, thanks?

So this book alternates between two narrators, one of which I've completely forgotten. The other is named Icie . Luckily, it's not a diminutive for frozen water, but it's still a pretty bad name. And even though
Jun 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
What a great summary the inside fold of hard copy has. As always, it didn't live up to it.

I didn't see the point of showing the close-to-sisterhood friendship between Icie and Lola during the first three pages if Grant ditched said best friend right away.

Oh! Wait. As always, something this traumatic would keep Icie from "getting attached." Right.

Icie... the weird names in YA keep being creative...

I hadn't gotten my liking around Icie yet when the next chapter is the POV of Beckett and friends.

Linsey Johnson
Apr 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Great idea for a book. Amazing idea. Had SO much potential.

Tried really hard to like it but had to put it down after page 18. I think she was trying too hard to connect the past and the future with an annoying teenager making up her own words and catchphrases. She completely lost me when the girls in the future were called cheerleaders and the guys rockstars. Why? Just...why?

Dystopia indeed. I feel bad for those kids stuck with the idiotic protagonist's lingual eccentricities. Poor bastards.

Noor Haj-Ali
Jun 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
It looked like the writer was trying to be serious but the book is a big joke..
I reached page 96 and stopped.. the writing is so poor, I could at least stand it in "present" but the future parts were so stupid, it felt like reading a children's book , he went up the mountain.. he came down the mountain, Becket enjoyed walking .
the title must be "Becket and Friends"
and the names are stupid, and the idea is stupid, the characters are stupid, the plot is stupid... this is a stupid book...
And the "
Kimberly Francisco
I cried twice, which I think means this is an automatic five star.

Full review:
Angelique Minnaar
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As it has been quite a while since I last read an apocalyptic story, I was looking forward to reading “Half Lives” by Sara Grant.
Two stories told simultaneously, but set in two different eras, the reader alternates chapters from one timeline to the other. This technique allows clues to be revealed, slowly expanding the reader’s understanding of how the future evolved. Some readers may find it difficult to follow the duel stories, but I enjoyed the change in pace. This modern update on the fascin
Mar 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review contains spoilers.

I really didn't like this book. At first I felt like it should have just been Icie's story because Beckett had no real substance to it. I feel like Beckett's side of the story was trying to be funny be using all the modern day slang in a religious way. This just didn't make sense as the story being told was not a funny one.

(view spoiler)
This book was kind of depressing :(
Georgia (The Bibliomaniac Book Blog)
Goodreads synopsis: Present day: Icie is a typical high school teenager – until disaster strikes and her parents send her to find shelter inside a mountain near Las Vegas.
The future: Beckett lives on The Mountain – a sacred place devoted to the Great I AM. He must soon become the leader of his people. But Beckett is forced to break one of the sacred laws, and when the Great I AM does not strike him down, Beckett finds himself starting to question his beliefs.
As Beckett investigates The Mountain’
Seventeen-year-old Icie's parents have given her $10,000 in cash, a map of a top-secret bunker, and instructions to get there by any means necessary. They have news of an imminent viral attack and know that the bunker is Icie's only hope for survival. Along with three other teens, she lives locked away for months, not knowing what's happening in the outside world or who has survived. And are they safe in the bunker after all? Generations in the future, a mysterious cult worships the very mountai ...more
Becca W
This book was amazing in so many ways. I've never read a book like this before. It was magical.
The book starts off with a girl that has a perfect life in Washington, DC. Her Mum works for the federal government and her Dad works as a nuclear physicist. One day, her Mum and Dad tell her to return home ASAP and tell her that a plague has started. They will breach national security by allowing Isis to go to a different state to avoid the sickness. They give Isis a bag full of supplies and $10,000
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you HBG Canada for providing an ARC of Half Lives!

When my sister forwarded an email to me with the books available from HBG this summer, I almost didn't pick this book. Just buy reading the first 70% of the description, I was already in the "Oh-no-not-another-post-apocalyptic-novel-in-which-a-secret-was-discovered" mood. But praise the writing gods (and Sara Grant), this story has more to it than just that. It skips forward in generations and also tells the story of a future cult. Now, tha
Jan 23, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I wanted to like Half Lives more than I did. Grant's novel is told from points in time, the present day and the future. These two time periods are connected, though we aren't told how and the hints throughout the novel are weak, at best. The present day story, even when Grant loses focus, is mostly fine. I did like he way she deals with the problems of death and the choices people make in order to survive. If her loss of focus was the only problem, I probably would've enjoyed the book more. Unfo ...more
Very interesting, intriguing and satirical in my opinion. The story is told in two storylines, alternating the chapters between "present day" and "the future."

"Present day" follows the story of four teenagers that band together in a nuclear waste bunker in the mountains near Las Vegas after a terrorist attack that released a deadly virus left most people dead.

"The future" follows, again, mainly four people, but this is how civilization has ended up. We have three people from the village they cal
Leah Sattler
Feb 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Oh my.
Dear Goodreads managers, please make a 'no star' button. Please.

I didn't finish the book. I mean, idk, It'a probably just me, but a white-haired dreadhead who makes up words like freepy and crupid just didn't catch my attention. It's probably just me.
So I got until like the second chapter before the cheesy quotes started. And when I say cheesy, I mean right up there with cheddar and mozzarella.
So, naturally, I skipped to the end.

*SPOILER* (But you will want to know this if you ever inte
Maria N
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO EVERYONE. Sara Grant, thank you for writing this beautiful tale. The switches between the past and future captivated me and I felt an array of emotions throughout this book. I was thrown in different perspectives and examined possibilities for the civilizations. This book is unlike any other book I've read. My, oh my, this book shows great adversity, essence of triumph and that great ol' fighting human spirit. Thank you Sara Grant for blessing this world with your writin ...more
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
(4.5 STARS)

This book was a little odd to me at first, but as i kept reading, more things started clicking and then i couldn't put it down. I cried serious tears twice. This was some depressing shit. But hopeful as well. Loved it!
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Goodreads says this book has 256 pages. My copy has 383. Hmmm.

I finally finished this book. The chapters about the survivors were fairly good until the end. The rest were awful and the ending was abrupt and meaningless. I'm glad it, like the rest of the world in the story, is over.
Feb 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
This was just, not my cup of tea.
give it a pass
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not all dystopian YA is created equal. Here, I think, the author has some basic pieces: spunky young woman (check), apocalyptic events (check), knowledge that some aspect of humanity survives into the future (check) but.... it never comes together. The novel alternates between a present narrator suddenly jarred out of her privileged existence by the apocalypse and a future which is not nearly as clearly articulated although it seems like future society is based on weird amalgams of 20th century ...more
Mar 29, 2021 rated it liked it
Personal Recommendation | 7/10. While a slightly unsettling book without what I would refer to as a happy ending, Sara's depiction of thrown together teens surviving for months underground during a worldwide viral attack was gripping. The balance of two lives from different times was intentionally mysterious and drew the reader in to figure out exactly what the relationship was between both stories.

Age Recommendation | 14+

Diversity | 4/10

Language | 2/10

Sexual Themes | 2/10

Violence | 2/10
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've played enough Fallout that the post-apocalyptic side of the story didn't seem at all silly to me. But nothing much happens for large parts of the book, and I didn't like any of the characters. Worst of all, perhaps, was present day lead Icie, who despite being seventeen post 9/11 having a mother involved in disaster planning at a national scale has no idea what bioterrorism is. I think that about sums up how self-absorbed and naive she is. ...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: This was a post apocalyptic story set in present day and the future, that felt all too real. Unfortunately, I found it really hard to connect with any of the characters and I had a hard time finishing it.

Opening Sentence: If you’d asked me that day whether I could lie, cheat, steal, and kill, I would have said ab-so-lutely not.

The Review:

Icie is your average 17 year old girl. She hangs out with her best friend and the worst thing to happen to
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
A great story about the survival of one girl and all the obstacles she must face. Would recommend for anyone who enjoys appcolyptic novels.
Lisa Rowles
May 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I got this book as an ARC and to be honest, I had no expectations of it, as I didn’t even know the genre when I applied for it. It’s a book set in two different timelines, one contemporary and the second one is told from several points of view at some indeterminate time.

In the first timeline, Icie (“Isis”) is a normal American teenage girl going home from school with her would-be funky friend Lola to hang out at “Bucks”, when she receives an urgent text from her Dad instructing her to come home
Chapter by Chapter
Half Lives by Sara Grant Half Lives by author Sarah Grant was one of those reads that sounded interesting and like it would keep you wondering until the very end. A novel that tells two sides to the end of the world, one taking place during and the other taking place long after? Count me right in! By the time I started reading Half Lives and finished the first chapter I found myself going “whoa that was seriously awesome” and absolutely had to keep on reading.
Half Lives is two stories. The first
Originally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.

Where to start with HALF LIVES by Sara Grant. I can honestly tell you I had very little idea what to expect from this book, but I was hopeful, and it surpassed any expectation I could, or did, have. I was stunned and crying by the end of the book, and amazed at how Sara Grant managed to blend together two completely separate yet intricately linked story lines.

Icie narrates a good half of the book, telling her story of how she is
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-teenage-books
Amazing book. I only wish someone had warned me to get a box of tissues before reading it. Sob...

Half Lives tells two stories. The first is of Icie, a teenage girl forced to survive in extreme conditions after the world as we know it comes to an end. Terrorists have released a deadly virus onto the unsuspecting American population, kick-starting World War III, and Icie only just escapes when her parents send her off to an abandoned nuclear bunker in Las Vegas. Along the way she acquires three ot
Molly Looby
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Icie is a typical teenager, until disaster strikes and she must escape to a top-secret military bunker - her only hope of survival.

Hundreds of years later, Beckett leads a community that worships the Great I AM. But Beckett and his beliefs are under attack.

Icie and Beckett must fight to survive - separated by time; connected by a dangerous secret both must protect.

My Review

The first things that struck me when reading Half Lives was the excellent first person narrative voice. Of course I'm a
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Sara writes and edits fiction for children and teens. Her new series Chasing Danger is an action-adventure series for tweens. Dark Parties, her first young adult novel, won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Crystal Kite Award for Europe. As a freelance editor of series fiction, she has worked on twelve different series and edited nearly 100 books. She has given writing worksh ...more

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“If you survive, you've got to live with the guilt, and that's more difficult than looking someone in the eye and pulling the trigger. Trust me. I've done both.” 1 likes
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