Two siblings make their way across an America devastated by a killer pandemic.
After the death of their mother and pretty much the entire city of Seattle, Nadia and Rabbit decide to travel across the country to reach their grandfather and uncle in West Virginia. They pass through a world where the weaponized BluStar virus has killed practically everyone, leaving bodies rotting in the streets. As they travel, they discover that the very few other survivors can be savage and are serious threats in a world with no law or order. However, there are unexpected kindly allies too. Alliances formed with those they meet and the ability to manage in a world with no electricity or media are critical. Fighting to survive, these siblings heed the advice their Marine father gave them before dying in Afghanistan: to “[b]e the cockroach, not the orchid.” The trip from Washington to the Mississippi is a long and detailed one, comprising more than three-quarters of the book, but then events compress. There’s a cute boy, a dog that needs rescuing and fortuitous caches of supplies at regular intervals along the trek. Despite these clichés, the narrative is engaging and the characters believably portrayed. This post-apocalyptic tale is particularly frightening as it doesn’t take place in some distant, imagined future.
A solid, realistically imagined survival tale with a strong female protagonist. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 11-16)