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Me on Books

Me on Books features reviews of young adult novels, the occasional middle grade or graphic novel, and promotes Canadian young adult authors as much as possible. :)

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For Darkness Shows the Stars
Diana Peterfreund
Perfect Ruin
Lauren DeStefano

In the After

In the After - Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive, and avoid Them at all costs. After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby, and much more.In the After is an eerie post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller that hints at something more, something sinister just waiting to be discovered. Staying alive means staying silent, it means hiding in a world once thriving but now ravaged and ruined. There are survivors living on, but how long will they last? Can they last? Where did They come from?The world After They arrived is sparse, silent, and dangerous. Before Amy is in the colony, her world is very clear, very simple. She knows what They are capable of and she knows how to hide from them. But after she and Baby are found, things aren't what Amy thought they were.The Amy from Before and the Amy of After are like polar opposites. Before, she was foolish, selfish, and a smart-ass teenager, and After, she becomes an intelligent and silent protector of her and Baby's way of life. Three years can sometimes feel like a lifetime, and Amy's years of scrounging and searching have taken their toll on her.There's a subtle and suspicious undertone in the colony of New Hope. Something is happening, something unknown to Amy in her years of silent survival. Something that could change the way she looks at everything. It affects her acclimation into this new home. Not everything works for her, not everything fits with what she's experienced. Not everyone is telling her the whole truth. So she goes searching.Once I started this book, I found myself reading it rather quickly. It could be indicative of pacing, of how quickly the action moved, of the story and plot. It also could have something to do with Amy's voice, with the author's style of writing. I'm just not sure how I feel in regards to this speed and the book's 450+ page length.Odds are readers will find similarities to other recent science fiction YA novels like Icons and The 5th Wave. All three are, in a sense, about survival, about secrets and lies, plots and plans, betrayal and hope, and the drive to continue living, but this book's surprising twist aims to set it apart from the others.