Author: Courtney Summers
Published: June 19, 2012
5 Gold Stars
(summary from Goodreads)
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.
To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.
But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.
When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
Sloane's world is bad. She lives in fear and hides the bruises and scars left on her skin. Her sister was her only hope at survival but she left months ago. Alone with her abusive dad, she is ready to end her life. There is nothing that will stop her from ending it all.
Then she hears the screams. Then the girl breaks through her living room window. Before she knows it, she is running or her life, surrounded by classmates and hiding in her high school. Something is keeping her there. She does not want bad things to happen to her friends so she stays alive, even though all she wants to do is join the dead outside. Trapped in the school with five others who have problems of their own, Sloane tries to find ways out but catches the eye of handsome Rhys in the process.
The tension in the high school is truly believeable. Six people who don't have any reason to be together are suddenly struggling to keep each other alive. Twins Trace and Grace hold a grudge against Cary, while Harrison mentally breaks down around them. Rhys and Cary have taken to being the leaders, tying to keep the barricades strong and ration food supplies. As the days pass, so does their hope of survival, but no one gives up. Not even Sloane.
Summers captures the zombie apocalypse perfectly. She does not need gruesome details or constant death to show us how brutal it can be. When it comes to survival, the worst enemy is ourselves. Most of the book takes place in the high school, but you forget that the characters are not out there fighting for their lives. Because they are still fighting. They are always fighting. Barriers collapse when human instinct kicks in.
In Sloane's world, the zombies have always been there. The constant fear of dying hangs over her every day. And in the midst of chaos, she finds a will to live. This book is not about zombies. It is about discovering what really matters, what is left when everything else is gone. It's about surviving whether there are zombies or not. This is a brutal, no holds barre picture of humanity and how we act when things go down. And I'm not even talking about the zombies outside the school.
So, without further ado, I ask you to go to your local bookstore and find this book, then purchase it and crack it open as soon as you can. Trust me, you won't put it down until you've reached the last bloody page.
“The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens. They also don’t tell you about how you can share your deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it’s like there’s nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you’d be crushed under the weight of it.”