Two sisters try to survive in the ruins of New York City not quite two decades after a world war destroyed civilization.
Sky, Phee, and their mother, Sarah, navigate bombed-out streets and scavenge food. In the summertime, they live in a Wall Street apartment with a roof garden, shooting squirrels and escaped zoo animals. In winter, they join the POW camp in Central Park. However, events force them out of the camp and into the subway tunnels where cannibals roam, and they find themselves in a far more dangerous and secure prison. Kelly writes in alternating chapters from the viewpoints of the very different sisters: Sky, older but smaller, and Phee, physically aggressive and less intellectual. She ties the book together with their mother’s journal, which the girls read secretly because their mother refuses to discuss the past. It describes Sarah’s effort to survive with two babies just after the attacks destroyed the city and provides some answers for the girls. The author doesn’t shrink from depicting the post-apocalyptic violence, some of it extreme, in a street fight and in gun battles. The galloping tension keeps the pages turning. Romance enters the plot when both girls fall for the same boy, a recent arrival by boat from England, who reveals a major secret.