Friday, June 29, 2012
No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz
Life As We Knew It meets Lord of the Flies in a mall that looks just like yours
A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it's even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there's no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.
These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising styles, changing in ways they wouldn't have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly.
This is a gripping look at people and how they can--and must--change under the most dire of circumstances.
And not always for the better.
This book intrigued me from the very beginning. It's summary, on the ARC, talked about it being like Contagion (a biological thriller movie) and Lord of the Flies (a survival story), neither of which I have seen/ read, but it seemed unique in the vast realm of Young Adult books. And when I read it, I found it to be a thrilling contemporary book that should not be missed.
The symbol universally recognized as the one for toxins is featured on this cover. To further the feel of danger, yellow and red were used in harsh tones to call to the curious eye even more. Beneath the toxic symbol you can see the outlines of people trapped in the mall looking stressed and wanting to leave, add that to the rough paper texture and Sharpie marker-like title font and you have a very cool looking cover.
Lately I've been reading a lot of books from multiple points of view and this one was no exception. I loved the diversity shown in the characters; they were all hugely different in personality as well as backgrounds. Some of them grew relationships with each other whilst in the mall, but all of them just wanted to get out. It was this mutual interest that really brought the characters together, otherwise they didn't have very much in common at all. It was really interesting to see how they changed as their stay in the mall grew longer and longer and how they reacted to the stresses that accompanied it. The characters could not have been better written to fit this story: they were like any other person, but they were thrown into the insane and frightening situation of being exposed to a deadly virus and not knowing much about it.
I was under the belief during the majority of this book that it was a standalone book until the very end when it was clear that there would have to be more. The book starts off with a bang (bad bomb pun, I'm sorry) with the discovery of a biological bomb and the lock down of the huge mall. It was very well paced with the exception of a few slow spots where uncertainty over their situation overrode the plot. The writing made everything seem very real; it really was able to draw the reader's attention to it while still remaining fairly elusive about what the outcome could be in the future. The end was one that I will not forget anytime soon; it was a true cliffhanger that both surprised me and made me immediately want more.
I really enjoyed this book, and any one in need of a good thriller will too. I give No Safety in Numbers a 4/5 for gripping me from the beginning all the way to the end. Now, pardon me while I go wash my hands a few million times.