I was a bit surprised by this book considering the mixed reviews it garnered on Goodreads. At first, I was somewhat timid about letting myself become absorbed in the story because I had already half decided it was probably going to be a downer. Yet, it didn’t take me too long to become completely embroiled in the turmoil these children were facing. I thought the introductory paragraph was a bit cheesy, so don’t judge the book by those first few sentences.
Dean, the main character, appeared to be a total wussy the first few chapters. He does improve with time (at least enough to make it worthwhile), so I can’t complain too much. It doesn’t take long for you to start picking your favorite characters. I really liked Niko and hope I’d be able to react similarly in a crisis. I’m a wannabe prepper (totally extraneous information, but true). Therefore it’s not hard to imagine why I love books addressing preparedness and how to survive in a catastrophic situation. I stormed through this book in a few days and was left wanting more. I hadn't even finished the first book when I decided to check out the sequel. I'd say that's a sure sign of a good book ;p.
Sometimes I feel as though young adult books contain content not suitable for teenagers. I’m probably going to sound like a huge prude, but most teenagers aren’t mature enough to make good decisions (insert huge cacophony of protest here). When a book intended for teens casually portrays drugs, alcohol, skanky dressing, and sex (unprotected sex as a matter of fact) as the norm it sort of bothers me. I understand kids are more mature than they were even ten years ago, but a line needs to be drawn. There is a major difference between children learning necessary life lessons and overexposing them. We’re all so quick to point out teenagers are not adults. Yet, the content of most young adult books nowadays seems to suggest just the opposite. No wonder kids seem to be so confused. They’re surrounded by mixed messages.
I think there is a more responsible way to teach children how to make informed decisions and establish good life skills. Inundating young minds with the idea it’s okay and even expected for them to engage in these shameful activities is not the answer. In the past few years there have been numerous instances when I am shocked and sometimes even appalled by the content I come across in young adult books. We’re failing miserably if this is the way we nourish young minds. I try not to let it weigh too much on my mind, but at the rate we’re going I sometimes find the future of society intensely frightening. One day we’ll look back and wonder, “What were we thinking?” And the truly sad part is I don’t think anyone will know how to answer that question.