This is a page-turning tale of survival after a virus kills nearly everyone over 35. Nix, the protagonist, is a brash and brave 40-something cop who goes to her grandfather’s house to weather out the new post-apocalyptic world. She finds that several Mennonite brothers and sisters are staying there and caring for the old man. When he dies, Nix is left to care for the house and her new inheritance of pious teenagers. Being a strong woman with a gun, the boys quickly admire Nix – especially Michael who’s practically married to his hunting rifle. She’s at odds with one of them, though. As more orphaned teens find their way to the house asking for food and help, Nix can’t help but take them in. The bustling house soon becomes like a commune. On one expedition in the woods, they find a wounded guy named Cash and help him. He decides to stay around and becomes a great asset to the small community of survivors as he’s good with fixing things and is a great shooter. He’s the only other adult there, being 24, but Nix convinces herself he’s still “just a kid”.
** Spoiler alert: I enjoy a love story within an adventure setting like this book (rather than stories that only focus on romance being the main goal). The author flawlessly created characters so real that I imagined myself at the house with them. I thought Cash was perfect for Nix not only because they both shared similar experiences, but because he looked past her tomboyish spikey hair and tough exterior and saw her good qualities then chose to be with her. **
I love stories of survival so this book was an instant winner for me. There were no gratuitous scenes and each page kept the story moving along. The character development in Nix and the others is excellent. It’s also an interesting peek into what life would be like in the absence of technology and modern conveniences. It would quickly become a fight to survive. Even the Mennonites who were accustomed to a segregated life struggle as they’re forced to mix with kids coming from suburban and often spoiled homes. In times like this, life is hard on people who are drug addicts, lazy, uncooperative, or weak. It’s also interesting how romance between people changes in a world without options or convenience – without birth control or major medical facilities, casual sex becomes too risky and when people choose someone, it’s most likely going to be for life.
All in all, I loved Nix as a character and the supporting characters were so interesting. I hope this book will become a series and if so, I will happily read the next one to find out what happens next on this crazy dystopian adventure! This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys adventure or dystopian fiction with a courageous female lead.
My rating: 5/5 stars!