HALF LIVES by Sara Grant


Age Range: 13 - 18
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A thought-provoking futuristic drama examines different generations affected by a bioterrorist attack.

Icie is a normal teenager, largely consumed with her social media accounts, drama with friends and boyfriends, and her daily trips to Starbucks. Her days are spent creating “the Ripple” with her BFF: grafting two words into one, in hopes they spark trends online. Her routine is irrevocably shattered when her government-affiliated parents warn her of an upcoming bioterror attack, arming her with survival supplies, money and instructions to head to a mysterious underground bunker in Vegas. In the future after the attacks, a remote band of people lives on a mountain in an encampment named Forreal and worships the Great I AM, a deity who left cryptic messages about Facebook and malls, and tales of rock stars and cheerleaders. The mountain people fear terrorists (which they believe are monsterlike creatures with talons and venomous fangs) and the inhabitants of the enigmatic locality Vega. The two intertwining narratives eventually converge, although Icie’s palpably anxious, claustrophobic story is noticeably the stronger half. The decisions made by either generation aren’t easy, and thinking with hearts versus heads leads to missteps, but whether one agrees with their actions, they are compelling nonetheless.

Though a bit uneven, the pressure builds at a breakneck pace, making for a fast, addictive read. (author’s note) (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 13 & up)

Pub Date: July 9th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-19493-8
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2013


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