Waiting on Wednesday–Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I’m waiting to read Through the Ever Night until Into the Still Blue, the last book in Veronica Rossi’ trilogy is released in January 2014.  Can hardly wait!

Cover image from Goodreads.

 

 

Not available yet

 

What are you waiting on?

Interview with Demitria Lunetta, Author of In The After

Please give a warm welcome to Demitria Lunetta,  She’s visiting the virtual offices to chat about her newly released In The After. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Demitria Lunetta] I love books, esp. sci-fi & fantasy. I also love chocolate, traveling & big, slobbery dogs. I have 0 survival skills, unlike my characters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about In The After?

[Demitria Lunetta] They hear the most silent of footsteps.

They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.

And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Those three chilling sentences describe the horrific world in which my MC, Amy has to now live. IN THE AFTER isn’t just a horror book, it’s also a book about adapting. It’s about humanity and human nature. It’s about survival.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Demitria Lunetta] I love horror books & movies, especially those that feature scary creatures. Most of these creatures stick to the shadows and use night as a cover…and I thought about taking these norms and flipping them. These creatures (referred to as They) are ravenous, flesh-eating monsters, but they have poor eyesight, making them more active during the day when it’s light out. They also hunt by sound. This means that my MC, Amy, lives in a world of silent darkness. She only goes out at night, making the usual world of frightening shadows her comfort zone. The day becomes a time of terror, when They own the world.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Amy?

[Demitria Lunetta] Survivor. Smart. Determined.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Amy had a theme song, what would it be?

[Demitria Lunetta] I think the theme song for IN THE AFTER would be the Marilyn Manson remake of Sweet Dreams. Sweet Dreams makes you feel out of place, in a horrifying dream world that you don’t really understand. It’s perfect for Amy’s first experience of the After, when normality is shattered and all she’s left with is the horror that remains.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Amy is never without.

[Demitria Lunetta] A way to distract the creatures, whether it’s a can of food to throw, a bag rigged with a remote activated car alarm, or simply some poppers she can set off to create a diversion.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Amy’s pockets?

[Demitria Lunetta] Tic-tacs…they’re way too noisy. ? She wouldn’t carry a flashlight, since the creatures are attracted to the light. She also wouldn’t have money…it would be completely useless in the post-apocalyptic world of the After.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Amy’s greatest regret?

[Demitria Lunetta] Amy’s biggest regret is how she took Before for granted. She often thinks of the times she acted out or when she was a brat to her parents, particularly her father. Her regret is mixed up with her longing for the past, remembering the bad with the good.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Demitria Lunetta] There are so many! I love anything YA or anything Sci-fi or Fantasy…and combine them both and I’m done. I used, and as an adult I love THE ABHORSEN TRILOGY by Garth Nix, and the BARTEMAES BOOKS by Jonathan Stroud. I’m always excited for new books and I’ll read anything sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, historical fiction, or anything that’s just plain good!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Demitria Lunetta] The only thing I really need is my laptop and a glass of water…I drink a lot of water and always keep a full glass nearby while I’m writing so I can chug while I’m thinking. Other than that I do like to have a snack handy, something full of sugar like cookies or Twizzlers. Not exactly healthy, but sometimes the sugar rush helps me write!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Demitria Lunetta] This is a tough one, because I read so much and love so much of what I read. Besides sci-fi I also read a lot of historical fiction and IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS by Cat Winters really got to me. It’s scary and poignant and just a great story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Demitria Lunetta] I used to read THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA compulsively as a child. C.S. Lewis’ fantastic creativity inspired me to write.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Demitria Lunetta] Walking my very large slobbery German Shepard. I’m also a movie addict and try to go to as many movies as possible.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Demitria Lunetta] I’m all over social media…here are some links!

Blog: http://demitrialunetta.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @DemitriaLunetta https://twitter.com/DemitriaLunetta
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DemitriaLunettaAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12157407-in-the-after
Epic Reads: http://www.epicreads.com/books/in-the-after/9780062105455/

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

Purchase link:

About the book:

They hear the most silent of footsteps.

They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.

And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

Book Blast and Giveaway! 15 Minutes by Jill Cooper

 


Paperback
Published June 15th 2013
 
I have 15 minutes to save my mother’s life….

15 minutes is all the Rewind Agency gives you in the past, but for Lara Crane it’s enough time to race through the city, find her mother, and stop her from being killed in a mugging that happened over ten years ago.

But that’s not how it happened. The story she’s been told all her life is a lie and when Lara takes a bullet meant for her mother, her future changes forever.

The love of her life acts like a stranger. Her simple life is replaced with a giant house, glamorous clothes and a new boyfriend.

Except someone knows her secret. And he will try to stop her at every turn as she races against the clock to unravel a dangerous conspiracy.

15 Minutes is an edgy high octane YA thriller that can be described as Back to the Future meets Inception where the people Lara trusts change in an instant. She is in a timeline she doesn’t understand, and is about to make one fatal mistake as she faces an enemy so familiar, he’s family.


 
 
 


Locker 63.

My eyes sweep aisle after aisle until I find the one I’m looking for. It’s blue and unassuming, but it could unlock the secret to everything. I lick my lips as I insert the key, close my eyes, and with a prayer, twist.

Click.

The door opens, and inside I find more than documents. There’s also a pink hoodie, a duffle bag, and a fresh change of clothes.

What was I preparing for? What was I doing? I open the manila envelope on the bottom and flip through the documents—a lot of reports, surveillance photos, old newspaper clippings. I don’t have time to go through all of it now, so I stash them in my duffle bag and throw on some new clothes.

A tight-fitting t-shirt, pink hoodie, and comfortable blue jeans are my new outfit. It’s a weird choice for trendy, sophisticated Lara, but she was up to something big. Real big.

I lift the hidden duffle bag out of the locker, surprised at how hefty it is. I unzip it and find money inside. A lot of money. I touch it. Must be thousands of dollars bound together in neat little stacks.

My heart quickens as I wonder where it came from and what I was planning to do with it. If ever there was a moment for a flashback, it’s now. A shining blue cell phone at the bottom of the duffle bag catches my attention. I pull it out and see a note stuck to it. In my handwriting.

Hide in the shower. Move fast.

Wide eyed and with a pounding heart, I slam the locker, grab everything, and run down the hall. I turn into the showers and duck into a stall, the vinyl shower curtain flapping against me. I still it with trembling fingers as I hear heavy steps enter the locker room.




 
 

 
 
PURCHASE YOUR COPY

 
Jill Cooper loves tea more than coffee and is obsessed over finding that perfect recipe. Early on she had dreams of writing romances and mysteries. It was something she did when most kids were trying out for softball or out riding bikes.

She’s always loved dark mysteries, but also enjoys a great comedy so she tries to include both these things in everything she writes, one way or another.

She lives in Danvers, MA with two cats, a toddler, a husband, and a 1964 yellow taxi. Her life is chaotic, but fun. She is the author of the YA series, The Dream Slayer, and the dystopian series Glistening Haven. She can be contacted at http://www.jillacooper.com.

 
 
 
 


Interview with P. J. Hoover, Author of Solstice

Please welcome P. J. Hoover to the virtual offices today! P. J. is here to chat about her debut novel Solstice.  Check out what she has to say.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[P. J. Hoover] MG/YA SFF author. Prior Electrical Engineer. Solves the Rubik’s Cube. Practices Kung Fu. Plays Wizard101. SOLSTICE (Tor 2013) & TUT (Tor 2014)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Solstice?

[P. J. Hoover] Sure! It’s a YA dystopian/mythology novel aimed at fans of Hunger Games and Percy Jackson. Solstice is set in Austin, in the future, when Global Warming is destroying the earth. It’s about this girl, Piper, who on her 18th birthday opens a mysterious present and all of a sudden this crazy world of mythology starts to explode around her. Her best friend almost dies, Piper has to travel to the Underworld to save her, and there are Greek gods.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[P. J. Hoover] I’ve always been a huge mythology buff, so I knew I wanted to do something with Greek mythology. The Persephone/Hades story was one of my favorites, but rather than writing a retelling, I wanted to do more of a “what happens after the myth” take on things. And so Solstice was born.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Piper?

[P. J. Hoover] Rebellious, Overprotected, and Passionate

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Piper had a theme song, what would it be?

[P. J. Hoover] It’s the End of the World as We Know It – R.E.M.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Piper is never without.

[P. J. Hoover] Curiosity

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Piper’s bedroom?

[P. J. Hoover] Dead flowers, a heater, wool socks

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Piper’s greatest regret?

[P. J. Hoover] Randy Conner’s death

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[P. J. Hoover] J. R. R. Tolkien, Joseph Campbell, and Homer

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[P. J. Hoover] Silence from my kids’ chatter, a computer, motivation

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[P. J. Hoover] I just finished The Madman’s Daughter and loved the story, the characters, and the basis for the novel. I am totally going to watch the Dr. Moreau movie now to compare them.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[P. J. Hoover] The Cave of Time (a Choose your Own Adventure Book from my book fair back in elementary school)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[P. J. Hoover] Hang with my family, practice Kung Fu, play Wizard101, and spend time with friends

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[P. J. Hoover] Thanks for asking! Readers can connect to me through the below places!

Website: http://www.pjhoover.com

Blog: http://pjhoover.blogspot.com

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorPJHoover

Facebook Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/pj.hoover1

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pj_hoover

Intagram: http://instagram.com/pj_hoover

Tumblr: http://pjhoover.tumblr.com

Email: http://www.pjhoover.com/contact.php

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

About the author:

P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik’s cubes, and watching Star Trek. Her first novel for teens, Solstice (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013), takes place in a global warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade novel, Tut (Tor Children’s, 2014), tells the story of a young immortal King Tut, who’s been stuck in middle school for over 3,000 years and must defeat an ancient enemy with the help of a dorky kid from school, a mysterious Egyptian princess, and a one-eyed cat. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website www.pjhoover.com.

Purchase link:

About the book:

Piper’s world is dying.

Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.

Waiting on Wednesday–Scorched by Mari Mancusi

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I want a dragon!!!

In stores September 2013

Trinity
Don’t leave me here… It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn’t be a big surprise–her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it…
Connor
He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.
Caleb
He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.
Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head–a dragon that won’t be tamed.

 

What are you waiting on?

Cover Shot! The Historians by Trisha Leigh

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

ZOMG! I love, love, LOVE this cover!  I love all of the details in the bridge and the pillars, and those glasses – they rock!  The premise looks awesome, too.  In stores July 2013

 

 

*If you could learn the identity of your one true love—even knowing you’d probably never meet—would you do it?*

Years have passed since refugees from a ruined earth took to space, eventually terraforming a new system of planets. Science has not only made the leaps necessary to allow time travel, but the process engineered a strange side effect—predicting people’s one true love.

The problem? If only one soul ever has been born, or will be born, that perfectly matches yours, the chances the two will exist in the same time and place are almost zero. It’s rare enough that the predictions have been reduced to a game, a parlor trick, and no one expects a happily ever after with their True.

*If you had the chance to meet your one true love—even knowing you couldn’t be together—would you go?*

Seventeen-year-old Kaia Vespasian is an apprentice to the Historians—a group charged with using time travel to document the triumphs and failures of the past—and can’t resist a peek at her long-dead one true love. Before she knows it, she’s broken every rule in the book, and the consequences of getting caught could be disastrous.

*If you could save your one true love from a terrible, untimely death, would you be able to resist?*

When Oz Truman, a fellow apprentice, discovers Kaia’s secret, he shows her the predicted trajectories that could result her from altering the history of ancient Egypt. They prove that if Kaia doesn’t ensure her True dies as he’s supposed to, the effect on the present will be catastrophic.

*Would you have the strength to watch them die?*

But when Kaia she notices Oz popping up in historical archives where he doesn’t belong, she suspects he has a secret of his own—and the conspiracy she uncovers breaks worse rules than traveling to ancient Egypt to meet a boy.

If Kaia’s experience with her one true love has taught her anything, it’s that no alteration to history comes without consequences. The Historians trained her to observe and record the past, but Kaia never guessed she might have to protect it—especially not from the people she trusts.

Review: Georgetown Academy Book 4 by Alyssa Embree Schwartz and Jessica Koosed Etting

 

 

Title: Georgetown Academy Book 4

Author: Alyssa Embree Schwartz and Jessica Koosed Etting

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

When the vice president resigns and Ellie and Taryn’s parents emerge as the frontrunners, the girls find themselves back in the spotlight.

Ellie could not care less about becoming the Second Daughter, but she knows how much the opportunity to make history means to her mother – and women everywhere. With her family taking center stage, Ellie must decide whether she can put her feelings for Gabe on hold – again.

Taryn, so used to captivating the hearts and minds of everyone she meets, is unbothered by the increased media scrutiny. But an inopportune screw-up has her beholden to an unlikely – and unfriendly – source for help.

Overnight, Evan has skyrocketed from social pariah to Miss Popular. As she and her reluctant parents adjust to her new lifestyle, the last thing she needs is a front-page scandal.

Brinley can’t stop thinking about her Stowe-bound hook-up…until her father’s intern, Patrick, starts flirting. Is it time to abandon her fling now that she has a more appropriate suitor?

With the second highest office in the land up for grabs, everyone is picking sides. But where does the heart lie when duty, truth, and love collide?


Review:

Oh, my gosh, I don’t even know where to start with this one!  I really like this series, and while I didn’t feel that Book Four was as strong a read as Book Three, it still kept me turning the pages at a frantic pace.  Ellie and Taryn get some big, big news – Either of them could potentially be the Second Daughter of the good old U S of A!  Yup, Ellie’s mom and Taryn’s dad are in the running to be the next VP of the US, after the current Vice President had to resign due to an illness.  Nice!  That means moving to bigger digs, and living life under even closer scrutiny.  Yay! Sign me up!  Not!

In additional to all of that competition to see who will be the next Vice President, Evan is finally living her dream.  She and Hunter are an item, even though she is assailed with self-doubts.  He is so far out of her social circle that it’s not even funny.  She keeps wondering what he sees in her, and the stress of trying to live up to her expectations of what she thinks he thinks she should be like is exhausting.  That sentence exhausted me, and I hope it made sense!  Yes, here’s Evan of the humble background dating Hunter, he of the golden spoon in mouth.  When Evan mistakes someone else’s jacket for hers, she opens the door to more grief than she ever expected.  Who knew those innocent looking mints were anything but?  And now she has a scoop that could change the outcome of the VP race, but she’s not going to spill the beans, because she’s so afraid nobody will believe a nobody like her!  Oh!!  Poor Evan!  While the set up for this disaster was more than obvious, I still got caught up in Evan’s downfall.  Just one mistake in this series and you. Are. Toast!  Your social standing is GONE!  At least until the next sap gets caught up in the next breaking headline.

Ellie’s got a lot of stress to deal with, too.  Her mom is in a war with Gabe’s dad, not like that’s anything new, but with the stakes so high, her mom finally takes off the kid gloves.  She verbally strikes out at Gabe’s mother, which he just does not appreciate.  With the press sniffing around for a sensational story, Ellie has to be careful, too.  She can’t let on that she and Gabe might be an item.  Everything has be kept on the lowdown.  Worse, their parents feuding is starting to needle into their relationship, confusing things even more.  I like this pairing!  It’s hard enough to be an couple when the whole world is watching your every move, but mix in your parents and their complete and utter dislike for each other?  Ugh! That is one ugly time bomb waiting to explode!  Will Gabe and Ellie be able to keep the love alive?  Maybe we’ll find out in Book Five whether they have any chance at all of having a happy ever after.  I don’t think I’m going to count on it.  Sad face.

Taryn makes several major blunders here, and while I wanted to feel sorry for her, I could not.  She throws one of her friends under the bus to keep her father’s chances of being the VP alive, and she starts thinking that she is just too cool for school.  After her father hires Brinley’s dad to manage his PR campaign, Taryn finds herself on the receiving end of all kinds of advice she isn’t sure she needs.  Brinley has been tasked to groom Taryn so that she always gives the best possible impression to the press, but Taryn chafes at being forced to act like someone she isn’t.  With Brooks assuring  her that she should just be herself, she makes a major misstep.  It’s like she took her eyes off the pathway, tripped over her fuzzy boots, and face-planted.  It’s so not good!  I was disappointed that Taryn would treat a friend as poorly as she did, because of all of the girls, Taryn seemed the most level headed to me, but after suffering some major embarrassment, I didn’t want to see her meet any other disasters.  Even if she deserved them and brought them on herself. 

I have so much fun watching Brinley squirm!  When she learns that Taryn’s dad has retained her father’s services, she is disdainful.  At first.  Until Brooks points out that another major loss for their father is going to have a direct reflection on how they are treated by the DC public.  Ha!  Then she’s like a chameleon.  She is all about coaching Taryn on how not to embarrass her family and, as a direct result, reduce her father’s chance of being elected to Vice President.  She is even forced to “fluff” Tayrn’s dress at a major party.  Score!  This horrible girl, who only thinks of herself, finally gets a taste of humble pie.  Sadly, it wasn’t much of a taste, and I doubt that she has anything to take away from the experience, but it sure was fun while it lasted.

So!  Did I enjoy GTA Book Four?  You bet!  This is such a fun read, with a varied cast of characters that I both love and HATE.  Often at the same time! Everyone gets a kick in the face to keep them all honest, but they also achieve little victories to keep them, and me, coming back for more.  Bring on Book 5!!

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston

 

Title:  Black Helicopters

Author:  Blythe Woolston

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

A teenage girl. A survivalist childhood. And now a bomb strapped to her chest. See the world through her eyes in this harrowing and deeply affecting literary thriller.
I’m Valkyrie White. I’m fifteen. Your government killed my family.
Ever since Mabby died while picking beans in their garden — with the pock-a-pock of a helicopter overhead — four-year-old Valley knows what her job is: hide in the underground den with her brother, Bo, while Da is working, because Those People will kill them like coyotes. But now, with Da unexpectedly gone and no home to return to, a teenage Valley (now Valkyrie) and her big brother must bring their message to the outside world — a not-so-smart place where little boys wear their names on their backpacks and young men don’t pat down strangers before offering a lift. Blythe Woolston infuses her white-knuckle narrative, set in a day-after-tomorrow Montana, with a dark, trenchant humor and a keen psychological eye. Alternating past-present vignettes in prose as tightly wound as the springs of a clock and as masterfully plotted as a game of chess, she ratchets up the pacing right to the final, explosive end.


Review:

Wow – this is a powerful read, despite the short length, but I don’t know how I feel about it.  I don’t know if this is a book that you can like.  It’s certainly compelling, and I could not put it down, but ultimately, there are so many questions that were never answered to my satisfaction.  I guess I hated that Valley was nothing more than a pawn, and even when she had the chance to leave her past behind her, she choose to hold steadfast to her father’s survivalist training and strike out at Those People.  Whoever the heck Those People were!   Argh!

Black Helicopters is told through Valley’s present day adventures and flashbacks to her childhood.  Her mother was killed by black helicopters when she was in the garden picking beans, leaving her father to raise her and her brother, Bo.  They live somewhere and somewhen in Montana.  Valley and Bo are expected to keep themselves hidden from Those People while their father is away from the family’s rustic cabin, so they aren’t shot and killed like coyotes.  They are trained in survival skills; drop Valley on the side of mountain with a knife, and she’ll get by without much else.  They have caches of supplies hidden in case the government comes for them, and they have been taught how to hide and how to fight.

In the present day narrative, Valley is a suicide bomber. She is angry and tired of not being able to strike back at the people who have taken so much from her.  She decides to make the ultimate statement and make the ultimate sacrifice to wake people up.  The government, with their secrets and their black helicopters, are out to get everyone!  Surrounded by like minded individuals, Valley and her brother have been training for something big like this for their whole lives.  After seeking refuge with Wolf and his family, Valley is dismayed at the changes in Bo.  He isn’t acting like her brother anymore, and she makes up her mind then, as he changes before her eyes, that she’s going to make people sit up and take notice.  What I found depressing was that I don’t think Valley ever really knew Bo; he was allowed freedoms denied to her, as he worked with their father, going into the outside world while Valley was left at home in the den, keeping herself hidden and secret.  Bo was able to see and do so many things, and the world outside of the den wasn’t such a mystery to him. 

Parts of this book just bothered me.  Valley is powerless virtually the entire book.  Her own father only values her for the help she gives him during his acts of domestic terrorism.  She and Bo have been thoroughly brainwashed, and she would never ever even dream of going against his orders.  Her entire purpose is to be a good little soldier and follow her mission to the end.  When  Valley is molested by the man who is supposed to offer them a safe haven, she doesn’t tell Bo.  She is forced to keep this terrible secret and endure this awful man’s abuse because she’s afraid he’ll kill her brother.  Valley doesn’t have much power over her own life until she and Bo escape to Wolf’s; there, she makes the decision to don a vest and make the loudest, most violent statement possible.

Another problem that I had is that it is so hard to like or be sympathetic for Valley and her family.  They see threats everywhere, and they must be constantly on guard.  They believe that the deadly black helicopters are just a horizon away, that they will eventually come for them and kill them dead.  Deadly conspiracies abound, and every one will end with their deaths.  With her constant vigilance, it’s hard to get to know her, and that ever present wariness kept an emotional distance from Valley and the reader.

All of that out of the way, this is an impossible book to put down.  I wanted to know what happened next, and I gobbled this book up.  I’m just not sure how much I actually liked it.  I certainly hated the ending, because it seemed so pointless to me.  I guess I don’t agree that any cause is worth dying for, and I was angry that Valley thought that hers was.  I just saw her as gullible and brainwashed, which made her come across as pathetic.  She wasn’t heroic or brave; she was a puppet, and that made this book even more depressing.  The adults who should have been teaching, mentoring, and inspiring her all failed her.  They were so caught up by their own agenda, by their own need to cause civil chaos, that they didn’t leave any other path for Valley.  My own mind set and world view is too firmly established to accept that any cause is worth the life of a teenager.  So, I recommend this book, with the many reservations listed above.

Grade:  C+/B-

Review copy provided by publisher