There’s a space bacterium raining down on England, infesting the water supply and fatally infecting everyone it touches. Through a mix of careful planning and sheer luck, 15-year-old Ruby Morris is one of the lone survivors, teaming up with a nerdy classmate and a traumatized mute girl to find her father in London. Writing from Ruby’s perspective, debut novelist Bergin treats the story as the girl’s recollection of the history of the epidemic and a handbook of sorts for other survivors. But Ruby’s character development remains stunted even through life-altering trauma and devastation. Despite the deaths of Ruby’s baby “brother-brat beloved,” her mother, and all her friends, as well as becoming the caretaker for several dogs and a young girl, Ruby shows little growth. She is so preoccupied with her appearance that she stops for a makeover amid the chaos, lugs around cosmetics, and loots designer duds instead of focusing on potable water and protective gear. Although the most accessible characters are often flawed, Ruby becomes increasingly unsympathetic as the story progresses. Ages 14–up. Agent: Louise Lamont, LBA Books.(Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/15/2014 Release date: 10/07/2014 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.