A twisted Neverland where you don’t get older, you just die.
As if traffic and congestion weren’t enough to cope with in Manhattan, the rapid-fire, incurable Sickness has begun eliminating New Yorkers. Strangely, the only unaffected residents are teenagers. Stranger still, once the surviving teens reach their 18th birthdays, fever, coughs, delirium and death swiftly follow. A short life means there’s no reason for civilized order, so New York devolves into Mad Max–like chaos. Union Square and Washington Square are no longer overpriced zip codes, they’re pocket territories for tribes of gun-toting teens as likely to trade a pig for people as they are to resort to cannibalism. When the brainiac of one of these tribes theorizes that he can cure the Sickness, a cluster of five dives headfirst into the task of either saving civilization or prematurely ending their already doomed lives. Inclusion of New York landmarks lends an authenticity that makes the chaos frighteningly plausible. Through the dual narration of Jefferson, the focal tribe leader, and Donna, his crush, veteran screenwriter and director Weitz presents a veritable dichotomy of literary and commercial; Jefferson’s chapters are intellectually elevated, while Donna often sounds like an elongated Facebook post. The action perseveres, the sex, blood and violence dominate, and race and class clashes continue headlong into the sequel.
A post-apocalyptic teen novel that’s far from just another post-apocalyptic teen novel. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 13 & up)