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I Belong


Review: Half Lives by Sara Grant

Title: Half Lives

Author: Sara Grant

Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic

SeriesN/A

Publication Date: July 9, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 031619493X (LB Kids)

ISBN-13: 978-0316194938 (LB Kids)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

I learned that surviving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you survive, you’ve got to live with the guilt, and that’s more difficult than looking someone in the eye and pulling the trigger. Trust me. I’ve done both. Killing takes a twitch of the finger. Absolution takes several lifetimes.

Seventeen-year-old Icie’s parents have given her $10,000 in cash, a map of a top-secret bunker, and instructions to get there by any means necessary. They have news of an imminent viral attack and know that the bunker is Icie’s only hope for survival. Along with three other teens, she lives locked away for months, not knowing what’s happening in the outside world or who has survived. And are they safe in the bunker after all?

Generations in the future, a mysterious cult worships the very mountain where Icie’s secret bunker was built. They never leave the mountain, they’re ruled by a teenager…and they have surprising ties to Icie.

This high-stakes, original, and thought-provoking adventure from Sara Grant follows two unlikely heroes, hundreds of years apart, as they fight to survive.

Quick & Dirty: This was a post apocalyptic story set in present day and the future, that felt all too real.  Unfortunately, I found it really hard to connect with any of the characters and I had a hard time finishing it.

Opening Sentence: If you’d asked me that day whether I could lie, cheat, steal, and kill, I would have said ab-so-lutely not.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

Icie is your average 17 year old girl.  She hangs out with her best friend and the worst thing to happen to her is that her boyfriend just broke up with her through a text message.  Then one day her parents give her $10,000 and put her on a plane for Las Vegas.  They tell her she has to go to a nuclear waste bunker in a mountain that was never finished.  Her parents work for the government and they got wind that there is going to be a terrible terrorist attack where a virus is going to be released, and there is no way to stop it.  She picks up some new friends on her journey to the mountain, but their trek is not easy.  With the virus spreading and people going crazy they have to fight to survive.  Once they make it to the bunker they have to stay there for months with no news about what happened outside.  They have no way of knowing if they are safe or if they will survive long enough to see what has become of the world outside.

In the future Beckett is the leader of his small village of people.  They have lived on the mountain ever since the terrorist attack happened 18 years ago.  No one ever leaves the mountain and they worship The Great I Am, who has protected them from any harm as long as they don’t leave.  Beckett has always followed the rules but one day he meets a mysterious girl that isn’t from his mountain.  The more he learns about her, the more he starts to question all the things he has been taught since he was a child.  Is it really as dangerous out in the world as he as always believed, or has his whole life been a lie.

First you meet Icie and I felt that she was very superficial.  I understand that in the setting she needs to be ruthless to survive but I felt that her lack of compassion made her hard to connect with.  She has many flaws and she owns up to her flaws which I usually like, but it just didn’t work for me in this story.  Towards the end she gets a little better but it just came too late for me to really like her.  I also felt that during her parts of the story it was really depressing and sad.  I don’t mind if a book is heartbreaking but it didn’t pull at my heart strings like I wanted it to.

In the future part of the book the point of view switches between a bunch of different people.  The main one is Beckett and he is the leader of his small clan of people.  I didn’t mind Beckett, but there was really nothing that stuck out about him that was really memorable.  I felt that way about all of the future characters, there wasn’t a single one that I really could connect with.  I felt that when you were in Beckett’s world the story really dragged and I got bored with the story pretty quickly.

Overall, this was just an ok read for me.  The plot did have some interesting twists but I had a really hard time getting into the story.  I had to force myself to keep reading so I could finish the book which is never a good thing.  I didn’t connect with any of the characters and I found the book to be really depressing.  With this kind of book you need to really connect on an emotional level and I just didn’t get that.  Honestly, this is really not my type of book, it was too serious and sad for me.  Now that being said, I do think that there will be other people who actually really enjoy this book.  If you like post apocalyptic and you don’t mind it being sad or a little slow you might really enjoy it.  So obviously this book just wasn’t for me, but if the synopsis interests you give it a try.

Notable Scene:

She looked around as if they might have cameras in the toilet. “No, the most recent intel is about a bioterrorist attack.”

“A bio-what?”

“A fast-spreading and deadly virus. The initial projections are staggering. We need to get out of D.C.”

Then it hit me. I mean really hit me. I was falling, drowning, and being electrocuted all at once. My mind flashed to every apocalyptic movie I’d ever seen—world wars, alien attacks, explosions, floods, tsunamis, bombs, plagues. My knees gave out and I plopped down on the toilet.

“Do you remember where your dad and I met?” Mum asked.

I nodded, confused about her sudden stroll down memory lane. They were on some committee that had to do with strategic planning—Mum’s expertise—and nuclear waste—my dad’s. It had some whacked name like

Preventing Inadvertent Intrusion into blah, blah, bleugh. I always thought it sounded like the slogan for a new contraceptive device. “You met on that mountain outside Las Vegas.”

“That’s right,” she said. “We’re going there.”

FTC Advisory: Little Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette Book Group provided me with a copy of Half Lives. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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