Wednesday, October 9, 2013

THE LIVING by Matt de la Pena


Author: Matt de la Pena
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Number of Pages: 320
Source of Book: ARC borrowed from friend

Shy took the summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he'll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two—every cruise has different passengers, after all.
        But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy's only weeks out at sea when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed.
        The earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it's a fight to survive for those left living.
First Thought: Oh, boy, am I glad I read this book - although, perhaps floating in a tube on the lake wasn't the best setting in which to read it.

Matt de la Pena has written a thrill-ride, page-turner, heart-pounding in fear for what's happening and what might happen, suspenseful thriller of a novel. 

Shy is a great character. He's smart, he's sensitive, he's a guy who cares about his family and is trying to make a crappy situation better. He's endearing in his worries, hopes, desires, realness. Issues of race come up, especially within the context of class on the ship and between the passengers...and after the sinking. When it's about survival, it doesn't matter how much money you had to go on this luxury cruise.

THE LIVING takes place in a scary world where a sickness has evolved and is killing people in poor areas. And everyone is not as they seem - there is a huge mystery/conspiracy element to this story as well. There's a bit of everything in here, but it works SO well! Lives are at stake...and many are lost, and the U.S. as we know it is drastically changed. 

It's engagingly written and the plot keeps it moving forward. There's a little bit of an insiders view of cruise ships, and then people start dying. There are some parts with more obvious foreshadowing, but for some of our students that will be a good thing. Matt de la Pena has crafted a well-written 3rd person that lets us read it as an outsider, but still feel like we know the character and what he's going through. 

There are game changer moments throughout the story, but the biggest ones come at the end...and make me anxious for the follow-up, THE FORGOTTEN, to find out what Shy is going to do next, how he's going to continue to survive, who will survive with him, if he'll finally get answers, and how the entire west coast of America will survive after the catastrophic events.

Final Thoughts: It's just really good. Read it...and then put it in a teen's hands! 
Also: I'm desperate for the next book!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent review! I have this one in my stack to read for review right now and am really looking forward to it. After reading this, I may have to inch it up the pile :)