A killing virus has swept the earth, sparing only children through the age of twelve. Fierce gangs form, and many children go hungry. It would be the same on Grand Avenue but for ten-year-old Lisa. Lisa decides to make a fortress from the abandoned high school, a city in which the children can live safely and happily. After dramatic struggles with ...
A killing virus has swept the earth, sparing only children through the age of twelve. Fierce gangs form, and many children go hungry. It would be the same on Grand Avenue but for ten-year-old Lisa. Lisa decides to make a fortress from the abandoned high school, a city in which the children can live safely and happily. After dramatic struggles with a violent gang, and though some of her followers choose a different sort of life, she brings her new city under control.
Let me start by saying that I didn't finish the novel -- in fact, I didn't get past chapter 5. I kept thinking to myself that it would get better, but as the plot got rolling the unrealistic elements leaped out even more strongly than before; from page one I felt the writing was less than acceptable for a published novel. (And when I saw the author's dedication to 'Lisa and Todd' I knew that a large conceit like super-characterizing your own children would lead to many, many others.)
The protagonist, Lisa, is amazingly prescient, especially in comparison to the other children. She also exhibits rather dated, contrived child-speak and emoting that many adult authors used to force from their diminutive characters on a regular basis. Otherwise, the kids think and talk and interact like robots. The prose in general felt stilted, and the author was way too eager to spout his new world order philosophy. Unfortunately, he does it rather clumsily. (Don't compare yourself to the American founders, as in chapter 5, and then set yourself up as a benevolent dictator later in the story.) There are a number of very well-written post-apocalyptic young adult and juvenile novels that are far more worth your time than this one.
Try instead: Scott Westerfeld, Megan Whalen Turner, Ann Rinaldi, Maria V. Snyder, Gary Paulsen, for starters. (These authors generally write for adults and older teens.)
Publishers Weekly, 2012-02-13 In the opening scene of this comics adaptation of the Nelson's YA novel of the same name, the main character, Lisa Nelson, calls out to the owner of a home she has just broken into. She apologizes for her intrusion as she scours the house for food, but finds nothing there but dust. The opening scene says a lot about this character. All adults have been killed by a plague, leaving children to fend for themselves, but Lisa has not yet given up on basic civilities. This sensibility leads her to unite her neighborhood at a school, which they turn into the titular city. Like the original-first published in 1975-this is a fast-paced story with philosophical underpinnings, moving through time with effective montages of work and children's drawings as the survivors attempt to create a new society. Jones's art is colorful, bold, and lively, with sharply drawn characters. While the main conflict wraps up with an unsatisfying resolution, it's still a powerful commentary on the ways that power breeds jealousy and war. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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