This final novel in a trilogy about teens quarantined in a mall after their exposure to a virus is realistic in its portrayal of the lasting effects of the ordeal for the survivors.
Though it shifts the narrative focus slightly from predecessors No Easy Way Out and No Safety in Numbers (2013, 2012), this volume continues to tell the story from various points of view—including bullied Marco (who has now become a bully himself), self-doubting football player Ryan and poetry-loving Shay. However, the fate of Lexi, the daughter of a U.S. senator also locked down in the shopping center, is in question throughout most of this installment. Ginger, a dancer, is introduced as a fourth perspective instead. While the voices of each character are distinct, it can be difficult within such an action-packed plot to keep track of the movements of each. Several chapters featuring the communications of the senator to her government superiors very effectively ratchet up the suspense. The horrific actions undertaken by many of those trapped in the name of survival are disturbing but not gratuitous, and the question of morality at play in many of the characters’ decisions is fascinating.
Though readers will need to have read (and possibly recently reread) the previous two to understand this conclusion, it provides a thoughtful and broad-reaching ending to a tale of surviving dire circumstances. (Thriller. 14-18)