A grieving father, a British pop star, and a wedding planner cope with the aftermath of a flu pandemic in this post-apocalyptic novel by Chen (Here and Now and Then, 2019).
Six years after a virus wiped out 70% of the U.S. population, Rob Donelly, Krista Deal, and Moira Gorman are still unable to move forward with their lives. Rob, a news censor at San Francisco–based PodStar Technologies, hasn't told his 7-year-old daughter, Sunny, that her mother died during the pandemic, instead saying she's in "treatment"; Krista, a financially struggling wedding planner, faked her own death to escape her dysfunctional family. Moira, Rob's co-worker and Krista's client, is really Johanna Moira "MoJo" Hatfield, a former teenage pop star who ran away from her controlling father. Rob, Krista, and Moira uncover one another's secrets as they struggle with the consequences of their past decisions. A lot of backstory and confusing subplot told in document fragments detract from an imaginative premise, likable characters, and an uplifting ending.
A refreshingly nondystopian end-of-the-world story that falls short of Chen's smart debut.