THE WAKING DARK by Robin Wasserman


Age Range: 17 - 18
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All the kids want out of Oleander, Kan.; few will make it alive.

The small, isolated town has horrors in its past. The citizens begin a slow return to the surface on “the day of the killing,” when five people with little in common go on a killing spree, and then four of them kill themselves. Teenager Cass, the only surviving murderer, is quickly institutionalized. Just as the town creeps back toward normalcy, an EF5 tornado whips through and destroys a quarter of the buildings and a nearby secret research facility. The U.S. government places the town under quarantine, with complete autonomy within it, and the citizens all begin to act out their worst impulses. As the adults slip into insanity and grab for power (when not killing each other), a small band of teens—gay footballer West, daughter of meth dealers Jule and struggling street-preacher’s kid Daniel—fights to survive. When Cass returns to reveal the truth of their situation, they fight to escape. Wasserman’s horror/science-fiction blend is ultraviolent in places, ludicrous in others and snooze-inducing in still others. It’s a mess of an attempt at Stephen King–style small-town horror, undermined by an unrealistic and basically uninteresting portrayal of the classic breakdown of civilization amid a too-large cast.

Skippable in the extreme. (Horror. 17 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-375-86877-1
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2013


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