Friday, April 26, 2013

Matter of Days

Matter of Days
Amber Kizer
$16.99, Hardcover
Delacorte, 2013

Genre: Dystopian, Realistic

Age: 12+

Description: Nadia’s father taught her and her younger brother, Rabbit, how to adapt and to survive anything. However, adapting and surviving his death has been hard on all members of her family. When her uncle shows up and demands to speak to Nadia alone and gives her some vaccines and a sealed box with certain instructions to only open it at a certain time she doesn’t know what to think. He informs them that an epidemic is going to attack the whole United States (and possibly the world) and that he was partially responsible for its creation. The vaccines he gives her are enough to hopefully save her, Rabbit, and their mother from death. Her mother refuses to take the shot (thinking her husband’s brother has always been a little crazy) so Nadia, erring on the side of caution, inoculates herself and Rabbit and spends time trying to convince her mother to take the medicine. On Day 56 of the pandemic now known as BluStar, Nadia’s mother dies leaving her responsible for Rabbit’s safety. Her uncle’s special box of instructions have instructed her to travel from their home in Seattle to their grandfather’s survivalist compound (located in an abandoned mine) in West Virginia. As they set out they have to face some of the worst death and destruction in an unsafe new world. Along the way they manage to salvage enough supplies and rescue a injured and nearly dying dog and meet up with a street kid from LA named Zack. Unfortunately, they also face a number of survivors who are not who or what they seem. It will all be worth it if they make it to their grandfather’s compound. But what happens if no one if there to meet them?

Opinion: This is a dystopian that is realistic among all angles. Give this to readers who like “it could happen to us” dystopias and books that are utterly real and bleak but the characters maintain hope and the will to survive. Asides from a sequencing error on the back of the ARC (the blurb says that Nadia and Rabbit run into Zack and the dog in LA—which made me go, “Why the heck are they going through LA to get to WV?”) the book is really, really good. Unlike other dystopian novels where the government has taken over, teens are pitted against one another, zombies are a result of an epidemic, etc., this is a realistic story. BluStar is a virus that kills—it doesn’t reanimate anyone (in fact Nadia has to tell Rabbit numerous times that zombies aren’t real—even though she is a little worried about it herself). The people that they face are the lowest of the low—they are killing because they can and because they enjoy it. The good people they meet are truly good—people you would want to meet in such situations. They don’t set out from Seattle to West Virginia with a truck full of supplies and make it there without struggles (in fact, realistically, they lose their stockpiles a number of times). It is a somewhat slow moving book but slow in a good way. The characters are realistic and emotionally investing. I highly recommend this story.

Thanks to the people at Delacorte for the ARC for the YA Galley Group!

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