- The world - The way that the different groups have adapted to living on their own and developed very different ecosystems and means of survival felt so realistic. I really appreciated that there were so many different types of systems as well - that they had developed differently depending on a variety of factors.
- Donna - I loved Donna. So much. And it's something I don't know if I would have realized even a few months ago. But I loved the fact that she was the smart mouthed, brash, snarky voice while Jefferson was the more thoughtful, calm, and sensitive voice (more about Jefferson in a minute). I hadn't realized how often it's the other way around until I saw it flipped. I also loved that she didn't lose her femininity. She wasn't "butch." Just snarky and a little harsh and very much a young woman. Also a virgin (can we talk about how rare those are getting to be in YA fiction? but that's another post altogether). She felt so vividly real. I also loved the way she narrated in dialog tags with less description. For me it just fit her character and added to who she was and how she thought.
- Jefferson - I also really love Jefferson's character. I appreciated the way he felt conflicted in his feelings for Donna, the way he wanted to lead to support his brother's memory, but also wasn't sure that he was the best one to do it. I liked the way he was the more rational, calm person of the group but also could be forceful and was the natural spokesperson for the group at most times. He's also super socially awkward at times, especially around Donna, and I found it hilarious and endearing.
- The secondary characters - each of them were different, diverse, and added to the narrative. I particularly found Brain Box to be a fascinating character and would have liked to see more from him!
- The premise - This book was a great example of how to weave in large chunks of exposition without dragging down the story. It's not a new premise - mysterious illness wipes out huge chunks of the population, the few survivors strive to find a cure to save humanity - but Weitz's execution of that premise is so fascinating and well done.
- The time - closely related to the premise, but a separate point. I really liked the way that this was set only a couple years after the end of civilization rather than decades. For me it made the book much more immediate (though I would imagine that in a decade or so it will read as very dated because of all the pop culture references).
- The language - as I said above, not that much time has passed, so there aren't huge numbers of strange words or new syntax, but there are differences that have developed between the different clans. I also really liked the way both Donna and Jeff would just say "after it happened" or "before it." I don't know if "it" was actually italicized as I listened to this on audio, but I could hear it and it made sense that they would not have labeled the sickness since they didn't really know what had happened and they weren't scientists.
- The narrators - as I said in the previous point I listened to this on audio and the narrators did a fantastic job of bringing the world and the characters to life. A narrator can make or break a narrative, and when you have more than one you have twice the opportunity for things to go wrong, but both José Julián and Spencer Locke did a wonderful job.
- The diversity - With We Need Diverse Books on my radar, I really appreciated the variety of ethnicities portrayed in the book, both in main and secondary characters. And it never felt like token or lip service. They just aren't only white - totally accurate for New York City and sad that it was so refreshing to find.
- The ending - Talk about a cliffhanger! It was a perfect ending to the story, bringing some closure while opening up a huge twist making the next book an absolute must read! Now to wait for the release of The New Order.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
10 Things I Loved About The Young World by Chris Weitz
A sickness has swept across the globe killing all adults and little kids. In the time that has followed teens have found different ways to adapt, but when they turn 18 the sickness overwhelms then and they're dead within days or even hours. A group of teens have set up a workable community in Washington Square. Jefferson finds himself in charge after the death of his brother so when Brain Box thinks he might have a lead on finding out what really happened the two of them, along with Donna, Peter, and See Through head out to face the wilds of New York City. As they encounter other bands of teens who have found various ways to survive, they get closer to the truth. But are any of them prepared to face what's coming to find them?