Sunday, July 14, 2013

After Doesn't Always Have Good Beginnings

What would you be doing when the world as you knew it came to an end? Most likely something simple, mundane, or every day. In Demitria Lunetta's phenomenal breakout novel, In the After, the world crashes to a halt. And everything outside wants to eat you.

Amy was watching TV and eating bagel pizzas when it happened. She was annoyed when the show she was watching was interrupted by a Presidential address, but then she realized something was seriously wrong. Luckily, her prepper mother and her greenie father created the perfect fortress around their suburban Chicago home. Complete with an electric fence powered by her father's solar panels, Amy is able to survive without Them finding a way in. Outside is a different story. With the aliens roaming the entire country just waiting for their next meal to tear apart with their claws and teeth, the sickly green skin is the last thing you have to worry about. But food runs low and outside is the only place to get it. Amy barely survives her first venture outside, but she gets better. Still, as adept as she is at sneaking in and out of her protective fence, the last thing she expects to find is a toddler. 

She considers leaving the child for fear of any sound alerting the aliens with their insanely sensitive hearing, but she just can't bring herself to be alone anymore. And it quickly becomes clear that the child knows to be silent. Once home, Baby and Amy develop a bond that could not be any closer even if they were full-blooded sisters. Complete with their own version of sign language to communicate without sending aliens crashing into their fence, they develop a semi-normal life together. As normal as you can be in a world surrounded by savage, flesh-eating aliens. But then it all changes. Forced to escape their stronghold, Baby and Amy are on the run, and when they are captured by a spaceship, the last thing they expect is to be rescued. Once they arrive at New Hope, the compound that considers itself the cradle for a new chance at civilization, Amy realizes there may be as many monsters inside New Hope as there were outside. Only these monsters don't look like aliens. 

Holy crap, Batman! I picked up this book last night and was so enthralled by this story, I couldn't put it down until I fell asleep on it (drooling probably). This book just instantly grabbed me with fangs and claws and wouldn't let me go! I am serious. I read a LOT of YA and a whole lot of PA, but this book? Scared the crap right out of me! Those aliens were some terrifying kind of zombie/extra-terrestrial mix that is quite possibly the only thing that could scare me more than your typical, run-of-the-mill zombies. I mean, these things are green for goodness sake! There is a whole twisted backstory involving the aliens that will leave you gaping in shock and awe, but I don't want to give away too much- you deserve to have the same crazy experience of finding it all out on your own!

I really liked Amy, too. She was your typical bratty know-it-all (self-professed) who just happens to survive. She shouldn't have, but her fortres of a home kept her safe. I love her transformation that makes her a survivor BUT doesn't completely change her! It was fabulous! When she arrived at New Hope, she knew there was something fishy about the place, and she had no intention of sitting idly by as the director led a whole different behind-the-scenes kind of compound kept top-secret from the rest of the people living their in ignorant bliss... even if that meant risking her own life. Amy was awesome. She was tender, motherly, and yet she was a butt-kickin' lady who at the tender age of sixteen had no qualms about standing up against or exposing the wrongs in this false utopia. I loved it! 

And who should read this? Oh boy. I could give this to any student who needs a gripping story to keep them interested (just not the scaredy cats. Think green, fang-filled nightmares and monsters under the bed). Give this story to any boy who struggles to find an interesting book, and I promise you, a reader this story will make! In fact, it was such a great, crazy fright train of a story that I already emailed the mother of one of my students to give her the title as one of his summer reading books. Seriously. Adults who like horror stories and apocalyptic stories will love this book. Young adults will love this book. Everyone who picks it up will love this book! So what are you waiting for? It's time for you to find yourself In the After

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