by Demitria Lunetta
To be published by Harper Teen
on June 25, 2013
Connect with the author: Blog : Twitter.
Summary (from Goodreads:) They hear the most silent of footsteps.Buzzwords: Post-apocalyptic, aliens, sci-fi.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.
Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs. After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.
My take: In the After is an interesting amalgam of a book -- it started out as a post-apocalyptic survival story, then shifted to a creepy psychological thriller, then to a butt-kicking sci-fi action story. I prefer my genre mash-up books to be a little more well-blended, but I still think that there is a lot here that will appeal to YA readers.
As the book opens, Amy's world is coming to an end -- aliens have landed in Central Park, and half of the people on the planet are dead. Amy's parents never return to their Chicago home, and her life becomes a lonely tale of scavenging and hiding. She's able to survive because her dad outfitted the house with solar panels and her mom insisted on an electric fence and lessons at the shooting range for her tween daughter. (Yes, this all requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief, but I was okay with it.)
After a month of this, Amy finds Baby, an abandoned toddler, in a grocery store. The two of them develop an interesting relationship that was one of my favorite parts of the book. In order to keep the aliens at bay, they have to be absolutely silent, so they stop speaking and develop their own sign language. As years pass, the two of them become as close as a parent and child. Their relationship was both touching and a little creepy.
And then … their situation changes. I don't want to say more, because part of the fun of the book for me was the suspense. But the next third of the book kept me glued to my kindle as I tried to figure out what the heck was going on with Amy and Baby. (And I had some really out-there ideas, which you can click here and read under spoiler protection in my Goodreads review.) Let's just say that I became unsure as to whether Amy was a reliable narrator. And that I have a vivid imagination.
The final third of the book was my least favorite, as the story began to display some familiar twists and turns, with the book ended in the requisite cliff-hanger.
Still, I definitely enjoyed In the After. It was truly suspenseful and truly creepy at times. There were gruesome scenes with aliens ripping people apart that you wouldn't think I'd enjoy -- but I did. I mean, if you're going to give me aliens, please make them scary! Or …. cute, like E.T.
The psychological aspects -- Amy's oddly moving relationship with Baby and Amy's seeming unreliability -- were the best parts of the story for me. But since this book felt to me like three different stories stuck together -- post-apocalyptic+ psychological thriller + sci-fi -- I'm guessing that different readers will have very different opinions. Have you read In the After? Let's discuss!