Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In the World We make

When the world officially falls apart thanks to a virus that originated on an island and couldn't be quarantined. Despite everyone's best efforts for a cure, the only tried and true vaccine was developed on the same island where the virus originated. Now a group of kids are the last hope to get it to the CDC in order to save what's left of their world.

Kaelyn never imagined she would hold the hope of saving the world in her hands. Then again, she never imagined she would watch the people she loved get sick, go mad, and die, either. When her dad died, she assumed the responsibility to get the cure to a place where it could be mass-produced and distributed, but the journey is far from easy. While Kaelyn and her friend Leo are vaccinated, no one else in the group is safe from the virus, including her boyfriend. Without an immunity, Kae's group finds itself with two infected members. Knowing how the virus plays out, they don't think they will ever make it all the way to the CDC in Atlanta.

It doesn't help that there is a gang of malicious, greedy thugs on their tail, either. The Wardens, sent by Michael, their leader, are determined to get the vaccine. Michael has created a group who aren't afraid to profit from the apocalypse, and if they get the vaccine, it will only get to the highest bidders. The group knows their mission is a life or death journey, but the true magnitude of how many lives they hold in their hands with the vaccine is almost too much for a group of teenagers to handle. The only thing that keeps them going is a duty to everything they have lost in this whirlwind apocalypse.

When it comes to the apocalypse, we all know it is going to get ugly, but how ugly should we make it in a young adult novel? Authors like Mike Mullin, Michael Grant, and Lex Thomas show the dirty, ugly side of things with all its grit and grime and don't hide anything from the audience. Then there are authors who can tell the story without getting too graphic, like Mindy McGinnis or Emmy Laybourne. It isn't that they are hiding the grit, they just have a knack for tip toeing around the big, bad and ugly. Everything is behind the black curtain or the "fade to black" where the other authors lay it all out, clear as day. Neither approach is bad, they are just very different, but the thing I like about having both options is that I can get different types and ages of kids to read the same kind of stories while still finding one that is developmentally appropriate for my student. For this series, I have to say Crewe decided to keep the ugly side of humanity behind the curtain and leave it up to the reader's imagination. 

For this reason, I really like this story for those younger students who may have liked the dystopias out in the genre right now but aren't really mature enough to handle the graphic side of post-apocalyptic stories. I could give this to a middle school student and they would see one layer, or an older student and they would see a deeper layer. I don't have to worry about situations being too mature or too graphic for a younger student. The story itself was really interesting and would hold the attention of any reader, and Kaelyn is a determined, strong young woman to read about. I was impressed with this trilogy and look forward to more from Crewe!

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