First published in the USA 2009 by HarperTeen
First published in Great Britain 2010 by Egmont UK Limited
Nutshell blurb: The adults have all disappeared leaving everyone under the age of 15 behind. The kids who survived the first book now face a food shortage. They also have to contend with the fact that some of them are developing strange powers.
This is the second book in this series (you can read my thoughts on the first one here).
The first book deals with the fact that everyone over the age of 15 had disappeared leaving kids behind in a small town in California. Being kids with no adult supervision, they made the mistake of not planning ahead with their food. They ate all of the candy/ice cream/junk food and let a lot of fruit/vegetables/meat go to waste.
In this book, those consequences kick in as they now have to ration what they have left. The kids that are left are separated into two factions; those who live in Perdido Beach and those who live in Coates Academy. These factions do not get along and are being broken down further into kids who have strange mutant powers against those who don’t. Throw a nuclear power plant and some mutating animals/insects into the mix and you’ve got a really exciting story filled with peril and action.
This series is YA and it recommends that the reader be 12+ due to “scenes of cruelty and some violence” but that doesn’t mean that it’s a light and comfortable story for adults. These kids deal with some heavy problems, only without the benefit of adult supervision.
One of the problems is that the town is being run by a 15 year old. He’s managing over 100 kids who have no discipline and no desire to harvest food that is growing in the surrounding area. Some of the kids get into alcohol or drugs and one of the girls has an eating disorder even though they are on the verge of starvation.
This book also comes closer to explaining why it all started.
I love this series. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I find it fascinating to imagine how people would survive in a post-apocalyptic world with limited resources. It’s especially interesting to imagine how kids would survive. In this book, they don’t always make the right decisions (even the main characters) but they do the best they can. Some of them try to do things to give their world some semblance of normality, such as creating currency.
There is a lot of action and even though it’s YA, Mr. Grant doesn’t pull punches. People get hurt. People die. There are lynchings. The only real defining characteristics that make it YA to me are the fact that there is no sex and no swearing.
It’s a fantastic series (so far) and I’ll be getting the third book the next time I go to the library.
If you’ve read these books, I’d love to know what you think. (No spoilers, please!)