From the synopsis and cover, I had been expecting a post-apocalyptic type of story, with death, destruction, chaos and the like. There was certainly a strong element of death and trauma, with an added element of reality I hadn't been anticipating. Told from the point of view of a boy-turned-leader, this book dives into the first hours of the world turning upside down, leaving death and violence in every corner.
While there are many characters presented in this story, it focuses on five or six in particular - a group of young adults who bravely take on the task of leading the surviving orphans to safety. Each teen is unique and different, and are made to grow up very quickly in the face of disaster. They all do what needs to be done, and become an inspiring group of youngsters. The main character in particular, Shane, is unceremoniously made the leader of the misfit band of teens. Pushing past his own shock and grief, he finds the strength to rise up as the leader the orphans need, and keep everyone safe and alive. His courage is inspiring, especially as we get an inside look at the doubts and fear he has about being a leader, and being capable of keeping others safe and alive.
The surprising thing to me about this book, is the blunt and unapologetic realism and honesty. What would happen if all the adults suddenly died? How would teenagers and kids act? Juvenile delinquents without their restraints; angry teens without their boundaries; bullies without their authority figures. This book sheds a slightly horrifyingly honest light on the nature of humans, even at a young age. Mixed in with all of that, you have the blunt honesty of death and carnage. Very little is left to the imagination when scenarios of nature attacking are explored and explained. While the gory and gruesome events would normally push me away from continuing reading this book early on, they (unfortunately) fit the story, and (however morbidly) peak my curiosity as to why it's all happening, and what the orphans will do.
The answer to that was shocking, and left me speechless. This is no doubt a book that will stay on my mind for months to come, and I'm sure one that will become an October read for me every year. Well written and different, this is a story I think any apocalyptic fan would enjoy, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
~I was given an eCopy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.