By Emmy Laybourne
Available June 2012
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you hurdle down the stairs and make a run for the corner.
Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.
But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.
Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.
In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
This Blonde’s Review:
They didn’t understand how fast the world could change. They didn’t realize how short life could be.
After a massive hail storm strikes on the way to school Alex, Dean, and several other students find that life can change in an instant. One minute he’s on the bus to school, the next it’s crashing and people are dying. Luckily the other bus drives straight into a chain store and is in good condition to save the children who survived the first bus crash. This leads to one adult and several students from elementary, middle, and high school stuck in a store with no idea what is going on. When the one adult leaves for help the students soon find themselves alone.
In an uncertain world with limited information from the outside, teenagers have to decide the best way to take care of themselves and the small children left in their care. Should they risk going outside or rely on what little news they can get?
This book isn’t about the disasters that are happening in the outside world. It would have been interesting to read but this isn’t about the world. This is about the 14 kids who have found shelter in a department store without anyone to help them. They have limited news of what’s going on in the world, all they can do is survive.
Throw a group of random children and teens together and you’ll find interesting dynamics. You’ll have strong characters who are able to take the lead and organize, whether they want to or not. There will also be the fun guys who want to be in charge but are more likely to abuse whatever substances they can find than take care of the people around them. Fear, doubt, desire, and chaos will show the colors of the people around you.
I enjoy reading about the disasters that we heard mentions of, but I also enjoyed reading about it from the point of view of people who don’t know what’s going on. These are people trying to survive without any idea if there’s anything left for them to hope for. The ending threw me a little since I didn’t see it coming but in some ways that was better than a happily ever after.
If you enjoy reading about the world gone to hell and people trying to survive you’ll enjoy this one. It’s not about the world, it’s about a small group of people and the things they do to get by.