by Emmy Laybourne
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA Disaster/Survival/Sci-Fi
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I loved that this is exciting right from the start. Dean is on his way to school like any other day when all of a sudden a giant hail storm hits causing his school bus to roll and crash. The bus driver of the younger kids, including his brother, picks them up and then drives them right into the Greenway superstore, saving their lives. The bus driver, the only adult, takes off to walk to the hospital to get help and never returns.
This very diverse group of 14 kids of all ages and backgrounds must decide what to do and how to survive. The psychology major in me loves these type of books with a group survival dynamic. It is interesting to think what a random group of almost strangers of all ages will do. There was a lot of chaos, arguing, and clashing. The small kids cry and want to go home, the older jock guys just raid the pharmacy, do drugs, drink, and play foosball, the boy scout wants to clean and come up with a plan, one girl is in shock and not speaking after seeing her friend die, there is the little boy who wants to pray all the time, another boy who didn't speak much English, another kid that had some pretty crazy stories, a young girl that wanted all the male attention, and Dean's super intelligent brother figures out the electronic equipment to see what is going on outside.
The world suffered the worst natural disaster in recorded history, the book takes place in 2024. The biggest tsunami in recorded history struck which also caused a breach of chemical-weapons storage units and the chemicals cause all different blood types to react differently. Some go crazy and violent, some hallucinate, some blister, and some are fine except for going sterile. YIKES! The chemicals will be in the air for 6-12 months. The chemical part was a little outlandish for me but I think the purpose was for them to basically be stuck with no way of knowing if their parents are okay or what they should do but to stay put to avoid the air outside. As expected, everyone has different ideas of what should be done.
Dividing up jobs is difficult and Dean ends up as the cook. Luckily they ended up in a giant superstore so they have plenty of food, sleeping bags, medical supplies, clothes, water, and other necessities such as candy to bribe the younger kids. It really sucks they got stuck taking care of them. I wouldn't be able to handle not only dealing with my own problems but also taking care of little kids as well. Dean is a nice guy and known as a bit of a skinny loser. The other guys pick on him and are big jerks. They just want to get high all day but the little kids love him. Dean pines for Astrid, the girl he has been in love with forever, but she is into a different guy. I felt bad for Dean for a large part of the story but he really holds it together and helps everyone. I felt like the situations were explained realistically even though there were some yucky details such as a lice outbreak, no showers, and a toilet problem but I was happy they were dealing with serious issues. Nothing was glossed over. The ending is left very open on a bit of a cliffhanger.
"Obviously everything has gone to hell but I am supposed to be in charge so I just thought I'd ask!"
"You know, you'd think that being locked in a Greenway during the end of the world would bring out the best in everyone, but-surprise!-Brayden was still an a-hole and a bully."
Part of The All Male Review Challenge ~ Male Protagonist Dean