by Courtney Summers
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It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
▨ This is not a book about zombies, this is a book with zombies.
And I’m so okay with that. I mean, to be frank, I’m not into zombies. Like, at all. Usually, they never manage to :
a) Scare me
b) Interest me
That’s just gross to me. Therefore I end bored more often than not, except if I take it as a parody, changing myself into this annoying buddy who can’t help but laugh at awkward moments. If it wasn’t for all the reviews I read which pointed that it wasn’t really a zombie horror book, I’d probably never have given it a chance. That’s why I’m pointing it too : If you’re expecting a classic horror story, you’ll be disappointed.
▨ This is not a book where the zombies scare you, this is a book where the characters make you think.
Now, you know I’m a huge fan girl when it comes to Marchetta, especially because I can’t help but fall in love with every single character she brings to life. In this book, Courtney Summers manages to create flawed characters I adore. Though it was anything but self-evident at first, because I have a thing : I don’t usually love depressive characters. Yeah, you got it, the key word here is usually. Indeed Sloane is all kind of depressing – she actually wants to die – and yet she managed to move me like crazy. How did she do this? How? I’m not sure I can’t even explain.
“We’ll become reanimated corpses navigating a sorry imitation of our glory days and this is why I don’t understand the point in going on, why it’s so wrong to give up. There’s nothing left.”
There’s something so desperate in her way to handle all the crazy stuff that happens constantly and yet she’s never ever whining. Not a single time – I often found myself in awe of her perseverance, as I think there’s some braveness to show such motivation, even if it’s to die at some point. Did I find it stupid? Of course I did. I have a thing against suicide, I can’t deny it, that’s totally personal and I can’t help it – it often obscures my judgment about characters like her, because not only suicide makes me sad, but it piss me off. But Sloane won me. Completely. I took her with all her flaws and wanted just one thing : to read about her.
➸ Look, I’m not saying she’s going to die. In fact, I’m not saying anything – she’s a believable character you know, so she can evolve. Or not. Yep, I’m totally a tease.
▨ This is not a book about battles, this is a book about survival and all we’re ready to do to survive.
▨ This is not a book filled with teenage angst, this is a book about the inherent injustice of life.
What do you think you’d be willing to do to survive? As I already said in my review of The Ask and the Answer, the only honest answer I can give you is I don’t know. Sure, I could convince myself that I wouldn’t be selfish and would always do the right thing but we have to know what this right thing is to begin with. Is it saving your parents? Saving your love? Saving yourself? Saving the human race? Tell me when you find your answer because I’m not sure I’ll succeed in.
“It was so easy,” he said. “Just physically … doing that. When it was over, I thought … people … we aren’t made of anything. That’s how easy it was.”
Each character has his choices to make, and what can I say? That’s real, that’s painful, that made me feel : I can’t not love it.
▨ This is not a book you’ll spend days to read, this is a book you’re going to eat in one sitting.
Surely you know the feeling : you’re reading a book, sure that you’ve reached 50%, and you’re stunned to realize that in fact you’re at, like, 15%. This book brings the exact opposite of that feeling. Although the writing can appear pretty confusing in the beginning, I was hooked from page one and this feeling never ended until the end. Indeed Courtney Summers’s writing contains particularities that I never fail to love when I’m lucky to find it : short and sharp sentences, well-done repetitions – her style completely serves the plot as it helps grandly to express the growing tension the characters feel.
▨ This is not a review, this is … well, if this is not a review, I have no idea what the fuck it is.
PS : I thought I wasn’t scared and in the end, it seems that the sensation of being threatened grew on me without realizing it. Yes, I totally freaked out when I got out to let my dog pee. Poor me.