When civilization ends and you're faced with an army of face-eating, nuclear-mutant zombies, having a brain tumor doesn't seem so bad.
Alex, orphaned, 17 and dying, decides she's sick of pointless chemo. She bugs out of school for a backpacking trip in the wilderness, determined to make her own end. Just a few days into her trip something terrible happens: A horrible, screeching pain knocks her senseless, kills an elderly backpacker and sends scores of dead birds falling from the sky. Wild dogs in the area seem to have run mad, and did Alex actually see two teenagers eating an old woman? Along with two fellow survivors—bratty middle schooler Ellie and Tom, a young soldier on leave—Alex seeks safety. Alex and Tom are both outdoorsy, but for every cache of weapons and MREs they find, another horrible event takes place. Their gun-toting survivalism only keeps them safe for so long in a post-apocalyptic America in which most of the other young people have been Changed to cannibals. The requisite creepy cultist village raises excellent questions of trust and society. Alex can't survive on her Glock alone; she needs supplies, knowledge, allies and affection.
Splendidly paced apocalyptic zombie horror ends with a thrilling, terrifying cliffhanger and a number of unresolved mysteries. (Horror. 12-15)