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The Last Orphans

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One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world.

In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas—an out-of-his-league classmate—who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance.

Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected—the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead.

A spine-tingling adventure that will have you gasping for breath all the way until the last page, The Last Orphans is the first book in an all-new apocalyptic series.

274 pages, Paperback

First published October 9, 2014

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About the author

N.W. Harris

10 books225 followers
Born at the end of the Vietnam war and raised on a horse farm near small town north Georgia, his imagination evolved under the swaying pines surrounding his family’s log home. On summer days that were too hot, winter days that were too cold, and every night into the wee morning hours, he read books.

In addition to writing, he has been a submarine sailor, nurse, and business owner. His studies have included biology, anthropology, and medicine at UCSB and SUNY Buffalo. He is an active member of SCBWI and lives in sunny southern California with his beautiful wife and two perfect children. He writes like he reads, constantly.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 419 reviews
Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,431 reviews24.8k followers
November 11, 2015
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The Last Orphans is book one in The Last Orphans series by N.W. Harris. Have you ever read a book that is so off the charts awesome that when you finish the last page you just sit there staring at the book saying, “Holy Crap, what in the world just happened?!” In the synopsis it says, “A spine-tingling adventure that will have you gasping for breath all the way until the last page,” which is a very fair assessment but not only gasping for breath, but gripping the nearest chair arm or nearby person for support and holding on for dear life.

Sixteen year old Shane Tucker’s day has not started out well at all. He just left the funeral of his beloved Grandmother and his alcoholic father is driving home and kicks him out of the car on the side of the road. Shane’s Grandmother was his rock, his support when things got tough. Little did he know that her death, for her, would be a blessing. That she would not have to experience what was to come.

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It was on the side of that road that everything changed. The skies were churning, a storm was brewing but this didn’t seem like an ordinary storm. And the animals were acting peculiar. The bees were swarming. The cows were stampeding. The rats were running in huge packs. What in the world was going on?

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Shane’s life changed that day. Every single adult died, in the most horrible of ways. But, why? As the children gather to try to figure out what to do, they look to Shane for leadership. He can’t figure out why they think he knows how to lead them. He doesn’t even want the responsibility. But he knows they need him to stay cool, keep them calm, and somehow keep them safe. The question is, how?

“A true leader was not afraid to have faith in his team.”

These words were spoken by Shane’s high school football coach but couldn’t be more true in this situation. So Shane assembles his ‘team’ and delegates tasks. One member of the team is Kelly Douglas, a girl from school that is one year older than he is that he has worshiped from afar as long as he can remember. In school, she was so far out of his reach. But here, she seems as drawn to him as he is to her. When she is near him, she seems to keep him calm and helps him to focus. I just want to say here that I was in awe of Shane. This young 16 year old man impressed me beyond words. Just to be in his head, to see the way he saw people. He is wise beyond his years to say the least. He has known more pain in his young years than should be allowed and my heart broke for him but this has not taken away at all from who he is becoming.

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There are 78 children under Shane’s responsibility. He and his group decide they would be safer if they drive south to Atlanta to the military base. If there are any adults alive, they would be there. So they load everyone up in three school busses and head to Atlanta. The roads and highways are an obstacle course of crashed cars and dead bodies. Is it going to be worth it? Will they be safer in Atlanta or walking into a situation that could be worse?

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I think this is a good place to leave things, not wanting to give away too much. These kids will discover the reason for the madness and the job of trying to stop the decimation of the human race falls on them. The bonds only strengthen between Kelly and Shane which I enjoyed. I need that little bit of romance added in. This book exceeded every expectation I could ever have had. It is crazy good, gripping, stressful and just plain awesome. So hmmm, do I recommend it? I big fat YES! I can’t wait to see where Mr. Harris is going to take this next in book two, The Harvest, which is due out in April. I am so grateful to N.W. Harris for giving me the opportunity to read this book for an honest review. So now, what are you waiting for? Get it now, and read it yourselves! I don’t think you will regret it!
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,773 reviews572 followers
July 9, 2019
The resilience of youth, the arrogance of the adult world of science and the struggle for survival, it’s all there in an amazing new series, if its flagship book is any indication! The Last Orphans by N. W. Harris is another hidden gem just waiting to shine on its release day in October.

Something horrific has happened and the entire adult population has been annihilated by insects, animals, birds and finally, each other. Children are left alone, afraid and clueless. They need a leader, someone to give them a feeling of security and a strong voice to follow. Enter sixteen year old Shane, still reeling from his own losses and the horrors he has witnessed. Old animosities are forgotten, new bonds are formed and all look to Shane and his keen sense of right and wrong to lead them, but to where? How? Is there anywhere they can truly be safe as they must defend themselves against other teens who seek to create chaos and power, like the ultimate in bullying.
As they begin their quest for a safe haven and the answers to what has happened to the adults, the answer comes from the dead when a radio message is received. Disbelief, rage and determination fuel their journey to stop the slaughter that may no longer “check ID” at the door. Will they make it in time? Can they protect themselves from wandering youthful tyrants? Heroes are made, some fall, but the youths have to endure in this world they have become the stewards of.

If I have ever doubted the strength of youth when left to fend for themselves in a frighteningly realistic scenario, thanks to N. W. Harris, I don’t anymore. N. W. Harris writes with clarity and realism as this tale unfolds in jagged pieces of tension, loss and survival. There are no over-the-top superheroes to save the day. These kids feel real, from their inner thoughts and insecurities to their determination to stay alive, even if they have no idea how. Each scene runs like a mental movie screen, the sounds, the sights, the emotions, I wear, I could smell the fear. If you read nothing else this year or better yet, if your YA reader reads nothing else this year, make this a priority. All this fantastic reading and no zombies in sight!

I received this ARC copy from N. W. Harris in exchange for my honest review.

Series: The Last Orphans - book 1
Publication Date: October 9, 2014
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: YA Dystopian
Print Length: 222 pages
Available from: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Profile Image for K.J. Chapman.
Author 9 books103 followers
September 3, 2016
What would you do if all the adults on earth were dead, and you knew that unless you stopped the weapon that caused the slaughter, it will slowly start to turn against the younger generations? Not only that, you are one of the oldest children still alive- a teenager- with over seventy younger children looking to you as their leader?

This book was a pleasant surprise. I can't believe that you can pick it up for free on Amazon Kindle. I thoroughly enjoyed this well written, perfectly paced, action packed story. Harris has a natural talent for moving along the narrative from one chapter to the next, and having group dynamics and relationships moving effortlessly along with it.

The older children, who have taken charge of the younger children, have not only to deal with the effects of the weapon, but other less accommodating gangs in the city. Each person plays a role in the group and have distinct personalities. There are deaths, and yes, they pack a punch.

The ending was brilliant and ended on a huge cliff hanger. I shall be buying the rest of the series for sure- as in this week.

If you are a fan of well written apocalypse stories with a great crew of characters, then get this book. It's FREE people.
Profile Image for Angel Gelique.
Author 19 books408 followers
November 24, 2014
Reminiscent, to some degree, of O. T. Nelson's The Girl Who Owned a City, N. W. Harris' The Last Orphans explores a world where adults have seemingly perished, leaving all the children to fend for themselves. Groups of children band together and fight for survival.

Already feeling depressed over the death of his beloved grandmother, sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker angrily walks out of his belligerent alcoholic father's car to face an even more harrowing situation. Something very bizarre is happening around him. The sky has taken on an eerie green hue and all of the animals have become dangerous. He witnesses his aunt getting stung to death by a massive horde of hornets, wasps and bees. Yet, the swarm ignores him completely. Only adults are susceptible to the madness.

Shane joins forces with several older teenagers and they assume responsibility for taking care of a group of forlorn, despairing younger children. They combine their skills and knowledge to formulate a plan to search for surviving adults and answers to their many questions.

Action-packed and suspenseful, this book will have you cheering on and worrying for the group of adolescents as they embark on their journey. They'll face many threats and dangers along the way. For a young adult novel, it is surprisingly gory and intense. I would classify it as a young adult horror since there are several scenes of descriptive violence and gore. It is incredibly well-written and highly engrossing. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, that I am going to buy a paperback copy for my daughter to read.

It would be great to see this book made into a movie. Fans of "The Maze Runner" would absolutely love this story. It ends, a bit abruptly, with a cliff-hanger that opens the door for the second book. I can't wait to continue reading this exciting series.

Many thanks to the talented author for offering me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
February 22, 2015
Definitely a must read if you're a fan of action and good story lines!

My review for this book comes a little late because I honestly couldn't describe it very well when I read it. Then I had a little vacay. Haha! Anyway, I'll be trying now soooo better late than later!


Let me start with the word ORPHAN. This word is defined by Google simply as "a child whose parents are dead". I'm sorry, Google, but in this book, the word ORPHAN means more than that. That's just not enough. It ain't right to say their parents are just dead, that's it and that's that. It's more than that.. so much more. You'll know in a bit why I say this now.

You see.. Shane and the entire population have been living their normal lives (as normal as people can achieve, I guess) when suddenly, a tragedy happens. An unbelievably terrible tragedy that wiped out all adults!

A little info: I didn't read the blurb when I read this. I mean, I read it when I added it of course, but with my TBR list? I forget stuff easily. You can just imagine my face when it happened. I mean the adults being wiped out. I was in shock because the story line is damn amazing and um horrifying at the same time.

What do you do when you're a teenager and then suddenly you don't have parents anymore? Aunt? Nope. Grandma? Nope. Teachers? Nada.

Oh, and what do you do when your schoolmates suddenly look at you like you're their only hope?

Do you leave them? Do you wallow in misery and just rot there? Nope. Not a chance. You fight.

At least that's what Shane did.

That is why ORPHAN'S meaning to me is waaayyy different from Google's. Orphan to me is being a survivor, stepping up to the challenge of fending for yourself and maybe other people with you, and maybe, just maybe, making it out of every bad situation alive and kicking.

This is the story of orphans' trying to find their way in a world that is almost lost to them. They meet many, many challenges ahead. Mind you, this is not a pretty super hero book. It's very brutal. It's straight forward and it doesn't beat around the bush. It's detailed and full of twists. I like the pacing and I like how the characters handle themselves. The good guys are my new idols when it comes to teen spirit. The bad guys.. Hmm.. They are real darn effective since I've probably killed them 10 times in my head.

All in all, I want, I beg, I implore, I plead to everyone ... READ THIS!! Give this book a shot. I promise that it will make your heart pound, squeeze it and let it fly.


Many thanks to Carol who was perceptive enough to know that I will love this book! :)
Profile Image for Toni.
Author 4 books95 followers
January 6, 2015
Sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker has had a rough life. When his mom died, he was left with a pathetic excuse for a father. I mean the lowest of the low. Right away I felt horrible for our main character. Shane’s grandmother was the one true ray of sunshine in his life — until the day she died. The story begins after her funeral. Shane is forced to deal with another verbal lashing from his father during the ride home. But they never made it home.

Shane’s father leaves him on the side of the road after effectively degrading him for feeling sorrow about his grandmothers passing. You think that sounds tough? What happens next is shocking and terrifying, and it only continues to get worse from there. During his trek to find solace at his now-empty grandmother’s house, he notices several strange occurrences. Animals being to behave in a panicked and agitated manner, which Shane can only assume is a warning of the impending storm. If only that were true. There’s a storm brewing alright, but not in the sense that you might imagine.

The Last Orphans is a unique tale that provides an excellent twist on an end-of-the-world scenario. It’s packed with action and gore – two of my favorite ingredients for a good post-apocalyptic story – as well as a tenacious plot that packs a wallop and keeps the reader begging for more.

Shane and the rest of the characters are beautifully written; full of depth and distinction. Mr. Harris makes it easy to feel a plethora of feelings for each one. His capacity for good world-building makes slipping into the setting effortless within the first few pages. At times I felt like the story was a bit over-the-top, which generally turns me off, but in this case it’s what kept me turning the pages.

If you want to read a careful, safely-written, typical post-apocalyptic story then this is not the book for you. But if you want to dive head first into the deepest end of this genre, you won’t want to miss out on this first book of what promises to be an amazing series.

I will definitely recommend The Last Orphans to all fans of horror, post-apocalyptic, and science fiction stories. I’m really looking forward to continuing this series. I’m also hoping to keep some of my fingernails intact during the process. This is a true nail-biter!
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,723 reviews260 followers
November 12, 2014
I received a free e-copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Do you like The Walking Dead or Revolution? If so, then The Last Orphans by N.W. Harris may be right up your alley!

Sixteen year-old Shane's life changes dramatically in one horrifying day, right alongside every other under-eighteen-year-old. Within hours the adult population is decimated in a series of freak occurrences, leaving the kids to deal with the aftermath. Shane finds himself in a position of leadership in a band survivors, which includes Kelly, his totally-out-of-his-league crush, her little sister, and many other friends and classmates. Shane's group sets out to figure out why the adults were all slaughtered, and they come to learn they aren't inheriting this new world, but will be the next victims of an unknown weapon. A weapon that won't stop until everyone is dead.

The story Harris weaves in The Last Orphans is a well-paced, high-octane thriller that reads like watching a movie play out on the big screen. It's a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic tale of loss and survival. The core cast is incredibly relatable and well-drawn. There are no over-the-top heroics, just people trying to make the most of the hand they've been dealt even if it's the worst day of everyone's life, and they have no clear idea of where to go and what to do. I appreciated the fact that we get to see multiple sides to each character, especially with Shane's internal conflict. For me, Tracy really steals the show. It is refreshing to see a great female character take on what is generally a role reserved for males. Sometimes these kinds of role reversals don't work out, but here it does and it really pays off.

I'm so glad I found this intense action-packed nailbiter and lucked out and was offered the chance to read it in exchange for an honest review. Thanks again, Mr. Harris! I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series!
Profile Image for Alyssia Cooke.
1,072 reviews34 followers
October 28, 2017
Abandoned at about 30%.

The writing style is choppy and stilted. Characterisations are bland and obvious with no effort made to make the characters stand out or be individual. Narrative seemed forced and there were way too many eye roll moments. I got to the point where a local juvenile detention centre full of rapists, murderers and the worst of the worst before giving up in dismay as I couldn’t see the book getting any better from that point in. Not only had this nearby detention centre not been mentioned before, but even when our avid youngsters go looking for weapons - so damn American - they don’t think of the convicts round the corner.

It’s as if the author had a half formed world idea, threw in some random catastrophic events and then populated it with inane teenagers and youngsters with less character than a limp lettuce. It would have been better to stick with the alcoholic father, as he at least had a character. As it stands you assume he copped it with the rest of the adults - not a spoiler as the clue is in the title; orphans - and you’re left with a straggly, non noteworthy bunch of youngsters who have got little going for them except stereotypes.

Oh and then the author hammered in a fair load of gore for the funs and giggles - expression changed to protect the innocent - so there’s a fair bit of utterly emotionless description of bloated bodies and animals gnawing faces off. It’s a testament to the utter lack of skill in the writing that I neither felt disgusted nor horrified.... in fact, I felt the same kind of apathy that the lead characters repeatedly display.
Profile Image for Star Shining Forever.
351 reviews29 followers
June 24, 2017
Dystopia comes on the world, and once again the only survivors are teens! Imagine that!!

Have to say, though, this story of a small town's kids banding together in the face of an instantaneously ravaged earth and impending doom is a pretty good one. Lots of action, quick-thinking youngsters, and unexpected friends ready to put themselves on the line because there's no other hope.

The plot point of the government's secret "weapon" being designed to turn animals against only adults sorta makes sense, from a technologically-induced "we finally found a way to win the PR war as well as the physical war!" standpoint, but adulthood doesn't arbitrarily start at 18. Some would say it starts at 16, and the Jewish culture considers it 13. If "the weapon" worked against those who'd gone through puberty because the body changes so much then, that would make sense. And the "counting down" with kids 17-16-15-etc. being affected in order was just silly.

Not much romance, a guy likes a girl and they get physically close a couple times & kiss. And there's a LOT of violence, much of it gory. Some of it is intense battle-type fighting, but there are savage animal attacks that do get gross.
Profile Image for Linda Todd.
307 reviews59 followers
October 27, 2014
Fabulous story a wonderful roller coaster emotional ride. Seeing this story from a mother's point of view this is what happens the children suffer when man plays at being the big wig in war. This story got me mad, sad, angry, and also pride in what the kids went through and with little kids in tow. This book had me in tears most of the time so yes a amazing story well thought out and yes the story lines where great a wonderful mix of ups & downs. This story got to me good so I say to all go get this book it is a wonderful story to get you thinking what if. This amazing book I would be very happy to recommend to my friends my thanks go to the wonderful author Neil W.Harris & my thanks to him for the privilege of reading his wonderful book and hope to read more about the Last Orphans in the future. So with that all said keep smiling and happy reading to all with love from wee me. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Profile Image for Bailey.
104 reviews57 followers
April 27, 2015
It invaded his mind, drowning his thoughts, and leaving only dejected questions that no one could answer. What was he supposed to do now? Why did he have to still be alive when everyone he loved was being taken from him?
-The Last Orphans

Shane's grandmother was his rock and solid ground. Even when things got rough between Shane and his father, he always had his grandmother to turn to, but when she passed away, it shook his world to its very core. How would he ever smile again knowing that she was no longer of this world, waiting for him when he opened her front door? The day of her funeral was solemn and heavy with sorrow, but it was only the beginning of what would turn into an even worse nightmare.

After he has yet another fight with his father on their way home from the gathering, Shane is forced to leave the car and walk the back country roads by himself. He decides to go to his grandmother's home, both a comforting and familiar place for him to calm down and think at. Along the long journey to get there, though, Shane notices the nearby animals and insects acting with what could only be described as strange behavior. Their abnormal conduct almost makes them seem a bit upset and even aggressive, almost as if they are ready to attack people. Luckily, his aunt finds him on the road, and they begin to drive to the grandmother's house together.

Then the worst possible thing happens . . . every insect and animal goes berserk. They go from human to human, assailing them viciously until their victims are dead. Calling 911 doesn't work, no one will answer. The fire and police departments won't pick up, either. The sky's a sickly color, a storm's brewing, and people are being murdered left and right by nature itself. Shane desperately tries to make it to the hospital when his aunt is swarmed by flying, stinging insects, but it's not looking too good. Shane know it's too late. Suddenly, two girls come running up to him from their home. The beautiful girl Kelly, whom Shane goes to school with, and her little sister Natalie are in hysterics. Their parents were just killed right in front of them. Shane realizes that he needs to help them and tells them that he'll take them to town.

Seeing a light on at the school, they head there in hopes of finding adults who survived the slaughter. When they arrive, the three find a multitude of children huddled in fear. Their parents are gone forever, and they have nowhere and no one to turn to. Soon, they inexplicably designate Shane as their leader, against his will. He has no idea how they decided on him, and he definitely has no idea on how to take care of a hoard of children his age and younger. How can he protect them? He has no idea how he got put in this position, but his noble heart will not let these innocent people down. Along with his friends, it is up to Shane to lead, protect, and defend those that were spared death, but this will not be easy. The overbearing weight of loss is heavily pulling on his shoulders. He lost all of those he cared about, but he has Kelly to get him through, his secret crush. He has to look forward and be strong when no one else can do it.

Why did nature go crazy? What made the world go mad? Will Shane survive this whole ordeal while keeping his head on straight? Are there any adults left? What does it take for a hero to arise in a dark and hopeless place? How can one find the will to live if there is nothing worth living for? Read The Last Orphans if you dare to go on a wild, dangerous, and hopeful journey to find safety in a chaotic existence in order to survive!

My thoughts on the book:
The Last Orphans was an intense read filled with intrigue, mystery, death, loss, hope, and survival. As I was reading it, I realized that this novel was persistent with a very prevalent thought of not existing for one's self but existing, instead, for others. I believe this theme to be terribly thought-provoking. Shane was a wonderful demonstration of what it means to be truly human even though being human means being flawed. Shane was real. He felt loss just like every one else. He battled between choosing what was right and wrong. He made huge decisions based on what was necessary. And most importantly, he was able to demonstrate the best of humanity. When it came down to it, he put his misery aside, hid his despair, and tried to pose a brave face so that he could be the strength for those who had already lost it. He never asked to be the leader of almost one hundred individuals, but no way was he going to let everybody down because being human means to fight and care for each other. He was a truly admirable character and probably one of my favorites out of many books that I have read these past few years. When it comes down to it, Shane was a refreshing face in YA literature.

I can easily say that N. W. Harris has a specific talent when it comes to writing. No matter how horrific scenes became, I couldn't look away or stop reading, no matter how hard I tried. From start to finish I was engrossed. I was avidly hooked on the idea of a world without adults, as well. As a result, I would highly recommend this book if you enjoyed Michael Grant's Gone series. How would teens react if they had no one to answer to? Would good win over evil? Who would be the voice of reason? These questions were all answered uniquely in The Last Orphans. Each character was different and provided specific opinions and ideas when it came to varying scenarios, allowing the reader to understand what a certain type of person might do compared to another.

I loved how there were so many awesome characters in this book! Besides Shane, I adored Tracy. She wasn't your typical girly girl. In fact, she kicked ass! (Please excuse my language.) She proudly represented females everywhere. Of course, I couldn't help but also love Kelly due to her compassionate and understanding attitude. I felt as though she brought out the best in Shane, as well. It was great seeing the two develop together and individually throughout the story's entirety. So many people grew between the start and finish of this book!

I highly recommend The Last Orphans, and I can't say that enough! I was dying to know why the adults were wiped out, and the answer chilled me to the bone. I promise that you'll be cheering for Shane, his group, and their safety. Plus, the ending will leave you begging on your knees for more! I know I am, at least. N. W. Harris has created a masterpiece that many will love.

Please note that I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, but this in no way played a part in either my rating or my review. For this reason, I would love to give a huge thank you to N. W. Harris for letting me read and experience all that is The Last Orphans.

You can see reviews like this one and more at http://knightingalereviews.blogspot.com/.
Knightingale Reviews

Profile Image for Bernard Jan.
Author 10 books214 followers
July 6, 2020
Exciting YA apocalyptic read about teenagers and other children left orphaned in a world where adults are dead or dying under violent attacks of animals or other humans, while the clock is ticking on them. If you like action and suspense, give it a chance!
130 reviews2 followers
March 21, 2018
If this book were a movie, it would definitely be R for gore. Other than that I really enjoyed it and definitely didn’t want to put it down! Until the twist reveal in the middle...yeah. I won’t spoil it for anyone but it was a little ridiculous. But that didn’t overshadow the rest of the book. If you’re a fan of the genre you’ll probably like this one!
Profile Image for JenBsBooks.
1,865 reviews59 followers
February 12, 2018
Hmmm, I wasn't liking this much as I was reading it. I was skimming a bit, reading quickly just to get through it. But it ended on a cliff-hanger and I downloaded the sample of the next book and am interested in continuing, but I'm not sure I'm going to pay $$ (this first book was free). We'll see.

One thing that turned me off from the first sentence, was the fact that it was "highlighted" by 61 Kindle readers. Um ... why? The opening sentence is "Dad twisted away from the steering wheel and glared, the veins in his leathery neck and temple bulging." Why on earth would anyone think that worth highlighting, much less 61 people?

I really didn't care for the entire first chapter. While it was introducing us to some of the characters, it just didn't flow naturally. Really clunky. Had to push through.

I have read several books with this theme (some catastrophic event killing off all the adults leaving the kids to struggle for survival). The Girl Who Owned a City, Night of the Purple Moon, Apocalypses, Gone ... I really liked the first three, couldn't get into the "Gone" series though. In "Gone" all the adults just disappeared, in the others, it was a plague (or something from a comet). Here ... the deaths were horrific. Throats torn out by dogs, stung to death by wasps, chased and trampled by cattle, eating alive by cockroaches. Ewww. And then Shane contemplates a few times how infants and toddlers will be trapped in cribs, screaming and starving, but he can't do anything about that. And of course there happens to be a juvenile detention center close by, so we happen to have a group of teen rapists/murders on the loose too. I was really thinking only a couple days had passed, yet already gangs had formed and territories staked out and that group was "living like kings" ... everything just seemed to happen so fast. Too fast.

While "alien" technology is mentioned ... perhaps that should have been introduced earlier and more apparently. If this is "realistic" ... it isn't! If it's paranormal, then maybe I'll suspend my disbelief a bit more. And that is where this is going (from my peek at book 2).

Unless there is a great sale on the sequels, I'll likely just stop here. I've got too many books waiting in my kindle cloud and library list to spend $5+ per book for ones I'm just iffy about.
Profile Image for Brianna Lawson.
28 reviews17 followers
February 21, 2015
Review coming soon!

Sorry about the long delay for this review!

But I have some very good news for anyone out there that is contemplating whether or not they should read this book! My answer is yes!!

The potline in this dystopian is one we've seen before but the way the author wrote it is what makes it unique. I truly appreciate an author that's willing to step out of the boundaries and make things different it's very refreshing to me. I don't want to give away too many spoilers but most of the adults on the earth are dead and all of the young people of the world have to gather together and sort out the mess and survive. What really impressed me is how brave all of young people were as they were thrust into a situation that they had no control over and they handled it so well. As a person who reads dystopian's quite frequently I'm always looking for different and unique story settings and I was very pleased when I read this book and I can definitely say it's worth picking up and it's worth reading!!

I would love to take this moment to thank the author for giving me the chance to read his wonderful book and review it.
As I said in many other reviews I have read quite a few dystopian books so I kind of know what I'm looking for with writing style and characters as well as story line and this book definitely delivered.

< spoiler> In the spoiler I wanted to praise the author of the idea of the animals killing off a lot of the adults I thought that was very unique and I didn't see that coming at all when I started the first page it was such a surprise. When I'm reading a book my imagination tends to take over and when the dogs were attacking that car in a particular part of the story I pictured angry Rottweilers and it was just so scary. I love it when an authors writing style feel so realistic that I get transported into that world.< /spoiler>

I also want to say that I'm very impressed with the way that the main character took on his role of leadership. He basically had to take care of a bus full of elementary kids along with people that were his age that we're looking to him for guidance and that really does wear you down. Later in the story you could see that he was getting weary and tired of being the leader and the one that everyone look to for answers. I mean he just wanted everything to go back to normal and I thought that was very realistic character development. After all the main leader he's just a kid himself and he's been given this giant role to help take care of everyone else.

I can't wait to see where the author takes this storyline in the next books. Again I just wanted to say how amazing this book was and I hope my review is satisfactory. But one things for sure I definitely enjoyed this book and I want to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to read it!!

5 out of 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for Kacey .
196 reviews43 followers
January 31, 2015
This book was given to me, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own

"Everyone changed so much in a short time, seeming grown up, ready to fight and to survive."

The concept of teens and children living in a world without adults isn't really a new concept, but this book is very refreshing, bloody, and unique, and stands out for me. This book was full of action and grief. I found it really hard to stop flipping through pages. It had really strong characters and it was so fun to read about how this new world effects them and makes more brave.

The Last Orphans is a dystopian book based on a world where adults are killed off all at once, leaving teens and children to learn what happened and protect themselves. Shane Tucker has had a pretty awful day, going to his grandmother's funeral and fighting with his alcoholic father. Little does he know, that it is about to get so much worse. Suddenly the sky turns green, a storm picks up, and his aunt is murdered by a ton of bees.

He finds other teens and finds out they are in the same situation, having their parents and grandparents dieing from nature and animals. He meets Kelly Douglas and her sister Nat, and together along with his best friend Aaron, football player Steve, tough girl Tracy, and a gothic girl Laura, they have to protect over 70 kids. Soon they learn that they may be in the same danger the adults were in, and go on a mission to save everyone from possible death.

One of my favorite parts about this book were the characters. My favorites were Shane, Tracy, and Aaron. The main character Shane was just a great naturally born leader. He goes through so much pain in a matter of hours, and loses so many people, but he still steps up to help others. Tracy was probably my favorite character. She was such a bad ass and a survivor. Aaron was Shane's best friend and seemed like a really funny nice person.

I do have to say that I thought this book was really gory. I mean, due to the type of book it is, it's supposed to be that way, but it might have been too much. Harris went into detail about many adult's deaths and different graphic scenes. I didn't really bother me, but if you aren't into bloody scenes, read with a little cation.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It reminded be a lot of Gone by Micheal Grant and The Walking Dead. So if you are into good world building, gory scenes, and a ton of action, I would give this book a try!

Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,626 reviews194 followers
February 13, 2015
I was recently asked to read this book as I do enjoy a story that's a little different. This book will undoubtedly appeal to those who enjoy stories that allow the younger generation to steal the limelight, think The 100 meets The Walking Dead because this is quite a gory tale even though it's clearly aimed at Young Adults. It's almost a story about Armageddon as from the outset the adults are dying in the most hideous of circumstances as the forces of nature seem to be unleashed. Something horrendous is happening but the attacks against the adult population are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Step forward Shane a young man whose day started off badly but just kept getting worse. Left alone and running scared he finds himself aiding others like him who have lost their families but soon it's apparent that there's more at work than just nature turning against the adults. Shane will do his utmost to help protect the weak but the world is in chaos and someone has to take charge. Shane may not think of himself as a natural born leader but his mettle is about to be tested as the scale of terror escalates to new heights!
I don't wish to spoil this book for other readers so will be careful what I write here. This was a unique story that had me guessing just what on earth had happened and how would the author end it? It's quite graphic at times in terms of violence and gore but does pack quite a wallop for a Young Adult read. As an older reader who enjoys romance I would have liked to see the blossoming relationship between Shane and Kelly ( cheerleader type obviously!) explored a little more to offset all the mayhem and horror but it was a compelling read that kept me turning the pages . I particularly liked the way the teenagers quickly matured enough to make tough decisions and found myself rooting for them. The end? O boy that was a complete surprise and there's clearly a lot more to come. Yes it's a cliffhanger but you know what? For once I don't mind! This was fast paced , completely different and very entertaining! I may well prefer a slightly more mature story but I was truly kept guessing.
I was gifted a copy of this in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Teri.
Author 5 books145 followers
October 28, 2014
The decimation of the adult population isn't new material in YA books, but what happened after that in this book was original. The Last Orphans didn't shy away from the realities that could occur in a post-apocalyptic situation.

The action begins almost immediately and there is very little down time between action sequences. Shane was so easy to like - a nice guy who loves his granny, loyal friend, and secretly crushing on the hottest girl at his school. He is saddled with an enormous amount of responsibility, but handles it well and tries to do the best for everyone. Besides Shane, there's a good supporting cast of teenagers from different walks of life that add some diversity to the story.

The author did an excellent job with imagery - having been to northern Georgia numerous times, I felt like he really nailed the descriptions. The action sequences were exciting, well-written, and easy to visualize.

Something I found a little difficult to buy into was the fact that Shane and most of his friends seemed to be expert shots with weapons they'd had little to no experience with, especially military weapons, although it certainly added to the thrill of the action sequences.

The Last Orphans is a fast-paced, quick read and the surprise ending gives the reader a hint of what's to come in the next book.

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Paula Howard.
845 reviews6 followers
January 29, 2015
WOW! WOW! WOW! I cannot say enough good things about The Last Orphans. Absolutely, totally, riveting book!

Imagine waking up with your world intact. Jerks are still jerks. Friends are still friends. Adults are still in charge.......... and then in a blink of an eye.... your world is turned upside down. Imagine a world in which every person 18 and over is dead. They have either been killed by animals or adults that had become deranged. At 17 you and your friends are now in charge. You have to protect the little kids. You have to provide food, shelter and safety. Living with the loss of your families. What do you know about being the boss.

Shane becomes the leader... not by his choice but by his friends and classmates. Joining him as leaders are Kelly (his secret crush), Tracy (who knew she was so strong), Aaron (his best friend), Matt and Steve. They head to the military base for help. Not going to happen.

They hear a recorded looping message by a scientist who explains what happend and how to stop it.
Can they?
What happens when the forces begin to change them in to killers. When they begin to become the victims of animals.

The ending..... OMG.... who is that woman?

This may be a YA book but I absolutely loved it. Can't wait to read the next one. Some of my 7th and 8th grade strong, mature readers will love sinking their teeth into The Last Orphans.

This book was provided by the author for a honest review which I have given.
Profile Image for Juuli.
860 reviews13 followers
October 13, 2015
Easy to read, highly addictive, and at times really disturbing. I read it as a horror novel but for others it will probably be an action packed young adult novel.
The main character, Shane, loses his granny and has a huge fight with his father after the funeral. On his way to his granny's empty house, Shane notices some odd things - the weather is changing and the animals act strangely. A few hours later all the adults are dead and the kids have to find a way to survive in this new dangerous world. Shane and his schoolmates have to band together, make some really tough choices and later live with those.
The main characters had depth. I liked how they had all those mixed feelings. It made everything more realistic. Also, they didn't always agree to each other, nevertheless these kids found ways to support each other and move on. And they weren't smug at all (look at the book cover), they were dirty, exhausted, numb, and lost. They had doubts but they didn't have the luxury to give up when over 60 kids depended on them.
This book was heartbreaking, gory, and as I wrote before very addictive.
It is also free on amazon at the moment.
Profile Image for The Glassed And The Furious.
984 reviews21 followers
June 19, 2017
The main reason this only received 2 stars from me is the pacing. There is practically no intro, there's no building up a well-structured plot. It just all happens way too quickly and everyone moves on and it's all hurried along. The reader does not get a chance to really get to know any of the characters or really immerse in the narrative, instead, it feels like a train speeding by and we're only given glimpses at it all.
Apart from the pacing, I was a bit disappointed by the characters. First of all, they are the typical reluctant perfect hero/heroine with some sidekicks and just some random space fillers. They're unremarkable and not at all memorable, instead, they feel interchangeable with pretty much any standard sci-fi hero out there. Secondly, supposedly they're all teenagers, but they don't behave like teenagers and they certainly don't talk like teenagers. It didn't fit. I think I generally felt the language of this book lacking any kind of emotion, which made it hard to connect.
Finally, while I enjoyed the general idea of adults mysteriously being wiped out, I found the idea that animals, even tame pets, would suddenly only attack adults and spare all the children.
Profile Image for Tracy.
Author 2 books51 followers
December 17, 2014
I was kindly given a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Shortly after starting this book, I was a little worried that it might be too close to Michael Grant's "Gone" series or even "Monument 14", but as I continued reading, my worries more or less evaporated and I got sucked right in. Sure, there were a few minor similarities, but nothing that bothered me too much.

The author does a fantastic job of making the reader see/feel everything the characters do. This is one of those stories where you're constantly like, "Ugh, these poor kids!!" and you cringe like crazy when you think of the impossible decisions they have to make. The MC, Shane, grudgingly steps into his "appointed" title as leader, using tips from his former football coach to guide him in this role.

Full of action, heartbreak, mystery, tense moments and tinged with a bit of romance, this is an engaging story that I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Melanie's.
566 reviews31 followers
November 28, 2015
I was lucky enough to get to read an arc of this book and I loved it! This for me was very reminiscent of writings by the awesome Stephen King and I suggest any fans of his grab a copy as soon as it is available. Although this is technically a YA read because of the age of the characters involved this is NOT what I would consider typical of the genre and for that reason alone it piqued my interest.

The characters are vivid (as are the situations they have to deal with) and this author certainly doesn't pull any punches. Be warned though, as with MANY Clean Teen Publishing books it leaves you desperate for book 2. I got to the end and things were just starting to click in to place for me and THAT WAS IT! Grrrrrrrrr. V""V
Profile Image for Luciana Gomes.
78 reviews1 follower
October 18, 2017
I can see that it has potential to become a teen movie but it was just Blah! for me.
The synopsis is way better than the book itself. The progression of the story and the development of the characters are kinda weak.
Took a long time for me to finish it and I don't feel like reading the sequel anytime soon.

Didn't feel the chemistry between the major couple. To be honest I was rooting for someone else! Tracy was one of the only likeable characters.
And there was TOO MUCH unnecessary violence. It was like a bad zombie book with brains everywhere.

I give it two stars because one star means that I really hated it and I was imparcial to this one.
Don't recommend it but don't hate it either!
Profile Image for S.W..
Author 12 books152 followers
November 9, 2018
The Last Orphans is one of those surprises that we come across every so often. It’s a dystopian thriller about a world where adults are wiped out and only the young are left. Yes, it sounds familiar but this book somehow grabbed me from the get go.

The drama started from page one, where we were introduced to the protagonist, Shane Tucker. A bond was quickly established as we saw first-hand the struggles he faces in his normal everyday life. From there, things move along at a fast pace and the plot had me intrigued to a point where I read the whole book within days (which is unusual for time-poor me). I found that each page was bait to the next, I needed to find out how things would pan out.

Shane finds himself in the position of leader for a motley crew of other teens and younger kids who have all become orphans due to the catastrophic event we encounter in the early pages. As you would expect in a book about a huge tragic event, there is a lot of death, a lot of violence, and a lot of grisly detail, which the characters need to deal with in their own ways.

If there was anything I wished was done better, it would be for a better explanation of how the event did what it did. Although I accepted that it had happened, I wasn’t convinced that what happened was feasible, or logical, or backed up with enough believable theory (I know I sound vague, but I’m trying not to give too much detail away).

Another part that I struggled with was when Shane and his crew entered the city and encountered the gangs. I felt that the gangs seemed too well-formed and embedded, given that they would have only been formed within the preceding couple of days.

But these details didn’t stop me from being engrossed in the underlying story, even with all of the graphic violence and vividly described horrors that cropped up along the way. If you're looking for a YA book that's a fast-paced trip and you aren't the squeamish type, then this one's for you. Not recommended for the lower age range of YA readers.

This is a good start to a series that’s full of action and drama. I do intend to read the other books - the only obstacles to this are time and my already large TBR pile.
Profile Image for Aurora.
74 reviews41 followers
April 12, 2015
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review.

In a single moment, Shane Tucker’s world is changed forever. Animals start attacking and killing everyone over the age of eighteen, leaving only teenagers and younger behind. Shane and the few other nigh-adults he can find step up to take care of the younger children that have survived the chaos that results. Together, they forge their way to a military base, where they learn that what caused the adults to die will strike younger and younger survivors next. It’s up to Shane and the others to stop it before every human on earth is killed.

I will start off by saying that I have mixed feelings about The Last Orphans. In some respects, I found it clichéd and difficult to read. In others, it was refreshing and unique, with great attention to details that in my experience are often left out or overlooked in similar disaster novels.

Shane and his relationship with the lead female character, Kelly Douglas, were the main part of this book that I found clichéd. Shane is a football player and Kelly is “the hottest girl in the twelfth grade and his future wife when hogs learned to fly.” Shane lusts after a girl who is seemingly unattainable and a grade above him (though the fact that he is indeed a football player who can’t get the girl is refreshing). This is something that I personally have seen many times and I have gotten quite tired of it. Additionally, Shane decides that his main reason for staying alive is to protect Kelly. She is his main goal for survival. While this is perfectly acceptable, in my opinion, for someone to latch onto another’s survival as their reason for staying alive, I don’t particularly like that it was Shane who fought for Kelly’s survival, for three main reasons. First, Shane has barely known Kelly and has only watched her from a distance with maybe a few interactions. He has very little personal attachment to her other than crushing on her from afar. I can understand that Kelly is what Shane turned to after watching dozens of people he cared about brutally killed, including all his remaining family members, but I still find it trite and irritating to read about. Second, Shane and Kelly develop a small romantic relationship throughout the book, cumulating in a kiss at the end, and that’s something that I am quite tired of in apocalypse-themed books in YA fiction. Been there done that in plenty of similar books I’ve read.

Third, taking a more feminist point of view of things, having Shane focus on Kelly and want to protect her puts emphasis on Shane’s prowess and takes away from Kelly’s ability to protect herself. While Kelly does turn out to be quite epic in her own right, that is not how it is portrayed initially. I find the stereotype of the football player in the disaster scenario protecting the girl to be, again, trite and irritating. Shane looks to protect Kelly and Kelly’s wellbeing, not the other, younger children he ends up caring for or his friend Aaron, who he has known for a lot longer and is closer to than Kelly. Granted, extreme trauma and hormones play a great deal into actions during survival scenarios, but this is a book and therefore the author had a choice over Shane’s actions. And while it’s not necessarily a bad choice, it’s just not one I like was made. It would have made reading this book more interesting and refreshing if Shane’s focus on survival was on something other than a girl he is just getting to know.

The overall idea of the plot I found was a tad trite as well, although I do not have as much of a problem with this as I do with Shane’s relationship with Kelly. The apocalypse basically happens, adults die, and the teenagers are left to salvage the world. Also, the reason for all this destruction was because Again, been there done that. It wasn’t a horrible plot line, but it was just…not very unique. The teenagers-only thing has been used a lot recently, as has the trope. These might be some people’s cup of tea, but they’re not mine.

On the other hand, there were several things I appreciated about this book. For one thing, death was not held back on. Lots of death, I find it annoying when characters survive lots of dangerous things largely unscathed, but these characters didn’t. Plus, there were numerous creative ways in which adults were killed in the beginning of the book, which changed my mind from the idea that this book would be unoriginal and repeating conventions and clichés I’ve read before. It makes me sad when there’s so much death, but as someone who appreciates writing that suspends my disbelief, I liked this particular feature of The Last Orphans.

Other things I liked include:

Overall, despite the problems I had with it, The Last Orphans was an enjoyable book to read. It isn’t one of my most favorite books I’ve ever read, but it was not a bad book by and means. I would recommend this book to people who are fans of The Maze Runner Trilogy and the Gone series.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
3 reviews
December 17, 2018
I don’t normally write reviews, but I’m amazed at all these 4-5 star reviews and had to say something. I feel like I was reading a completely different book to everyone else. The storyline - all the adults die horrible deaths, kids have to survive on their own. Boring Shane (a character so one dimensional I kept getting him confused with Steve) is the reluctant leader and he fancies some girl who has a much personality as a dead fish. (But she’s sooo hot, she’s the hottest of hot 🤮)
The writing is really clunky and the dialogue is terrible! These kids are so whiter then white, they don’t even swear when shit hits the fan. In life or death situations they call each other names like ‘wuss’ and ‘fat ass’ - I know 11yr olds that can curse better.
There were so many eye roll moments too, every time Shane refers to kelly (and she is just so pathetic!) or how hard it is being leader, or how they are all going to be scarred on ‘the inside and out’🙄. But the absolutely worst bit was:

The sun peeked between the buildings and warmed Shane’s face. Squinting at the brilliant light, Shane tilted his head back and looked up at the American flag dancing in the gentle morning breeze.

So why did I give it as many as 2 stars. 1 star for the length. It was short, so I didn’t take up too much precious reading time.
And 1 star for Tracy, she was awesome and needed to be the star of this book.

Anyway as I say I don’t normally review, but this book was pretty bad and I felt I had to give a balanced view to all the 4-5 ratings. If you want to read a good dystopian where adults disappear and kids have to survive on their own, with great characters and lots of gore, try the Gone series by Michael Grant. You’re welcome.
Profile Image for Donnelle.
150 reviews13 followers
February 1, 2015
Full disclosure: a copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The first thing that becomes clear when one begins reading this book is that Shane, the main character, is a good kid; one who has dealt with more than his fair share of loss and grief, and who has been burdened with an alcoholic father who is prone to rages and abuse of the verbal (if not also physical) variety. Within just a few pages, the reader is compelled to feel a vast amount of sympathy for Shane, and to recognize that even though he’s dealing with so much, he’s got a good head on his shoulders and is someone for whom it’s easy to root. That is particularly important since he is the one whom the story follows ultra-closely from beginning to end, as he very quickly finds himself in the role of de facto leader once the calamity – in actuality, it’s more akin to a series of world-altering calamities – begins in earnest.

Others have done exceedingly well covering the premise of the book, but I do need to mention the concept. So many post-apocalyptic novels or works in which millions (or more) of the world’s inhabitants are eradicated are based upon disease or something of that ilk. Here, though, that is not the case. Shortly after the attacks begin, it becomes clear that the animals, insects, et. al., that are engaging in pack mentality to the detriment of the lives of all adults, are at the mercy of a force that leaves them lost, confused, and even remorseful after each successful attack. That is demonstrated to great effect on an occasion or two when some of those animals look for affection from a teen just after they’ve killed yet another victim, and encounter only hatred and disgust. Interest and curiosity as to why all of this is happening builds until it is revealed from a somewhat unexpected source. The root cause of the adult population being wiped out – indeed, what causes every animal, insect, and every person who has reached adulthood to turn murderous – is something the likes of which I’ve never encountered in a book before, which is certainly a credit to the author’s keen imagination.

As Shane has to navigate this new, horrifying reality – while being, at turns, lost, overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, and resentful that he has been involuntarily thrust into the role of leader - he is accompanied and aided by a group of teen characters, many of whom initially seem to be somewhat cliché – the blonde, out-of-reach cheerleader; the goth girl; several jocks, etc. – but readers quickly find that those main characters rise above their archetypes. These young people step up when necessary as they become the new “adults” charged with ensuring the survival of the children in their group, and become relatively fleshed out individuals in their own right, which isn’t an easy feat for a book that is so heavily action- and adrenaline- based. It’s easy to care about several of them – especially when a very sweet connection steadily builds between Shane and his long-time crush, Kelly - which ups the emotional stakes considerably when it becomes apparent that very few of them are safe and/or will make it through the story in one piece.

As for all of that action, much of it takes the form of extreme violence, which runs from the gamut of man versus man; man versus animal/insect; man versus nature, and the like. Throughout all of this, the initial event spreads still further, adding to the threat and danger exponentially, and posing (and subsequently answering) the question of what it takes to push people far enough that they’ll be prepared to take the lives of others. Without sugarcoating it, there’s a lot of death and maiming in this story. A lot. Those who are squeamish need to be aware of that, but I would say that it does serve a purpose, in terms of ratcheting up the horror and suspense to a fever pitch. In fact, the action and violence are fairly cinematic in scope; so much so that I could easily this being adapted for the big screen.
When all of that action abates - just when things are seemingly resolved, or at least, are settling down – one heck of a cliffhanger is presented to the readers. It happens very quickly, but in short order, more than enough intrigue and surprise are created that ensure that readers will be anxious to find out what happens in the next installment of the series.

One final note: this book may technically fall under the purview of the YA genre, but it doesn’t read that way; that is to say, this is a story that will easily capture the interest of older readers and captivate them with its mixture of action and suspense. This is a fast, adrenaline-fueled read, that intrigued me from the very first page, and the ever-increasing suspense kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could to find out what would happen next. Mr. Harris is a new author for me, but after I so thoroughly enjoyed this book, he now holds a place on my “must read” list. I’m anxious to find out what will happen next to Shane and his eclectic group of friends and co-survivors, so it goes without saying that I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a well-written, fast-paced, action-packed read.
Profile Image for John Roadman.
262 reviews9 followers
January 28, 2019
Good book. Just a book I happened to download from the Google play store. Would like to read the rest of the series but don't know if I want to buy them on my phone for 5.00 a piece lol.
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