A Matter of Days

A Matter of Days

4.1 8
by Amber Kizer, Alex McKenna
     
 

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   On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia's mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren't as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That's their plan as they trek from

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Overview

   On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia's mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren't as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That's their plan as they trek from Seattle to their grandfather's survivalist compound in West Virginia. Using practical survival techniques, they make their way through a world of death and destruction until they encounter an injured dog; Zack, a street kid from Los Angeles; and other survivors who are seldom what they seem. Illness, infections, fatigue, and meager supplies have become a way of life. Still, it will be worth it once they arrive at the designated place on the map they have memorized. But what if no one is there to meet them?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This fun read from Kizer (the Meridian trilogy) pushes it with a few plot points but still results in an exciting apocalyptic road trip. A few months ago, Nadia and Rabbit’s military doctor uncle, Bean, visited them and insisted on injecting them with a vaccine for a “new bug.” Not long afterward, the disease XRD TB—nicknamed “BluStar” after its physical side effects—starts ravaging the world, and 16-year-old Nadia and 11-year-old Rabbit are the only survivors in their entire town. With the assorted survival gear their uncle ordered for them, they attempt to make their way from their Seattle suburb to their grandfather in West Virginia. They meet a handful of survivors on the way, most notably a teen from Los Angeles named Zack, and also adopt a pair of animals. Most of their journey is Post-Apocalypse 101—being disgusted by corpses, looting dark buildings, learning other survivors might rob them—and the experimental cure/survivalist setup is a tad forced, but, on the whole, Kizer’s story is solidly told. Ages 12–up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (June)
From the Publisher
“The narrative is engaging and the characters believably portrayed. This post-apocalyptic tale is particularly frightening as it doesn’t take place in some distant, imagined future. A solid, realistically imagined survival tale with a strong female protagonist.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Nadia and Rabbit’s cross-country trek through a plague-hollowed America makes for a gripping, and, yes, infectious tale.” —Michael Northrop, author of Trapped
 
“A cross between Cynthia Voigt’s Homecoming and Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It.” —Print Matters
 
“If you like books such as The Maze Runner, The Darkest Path, or The Hunger Games, you can’t go wrong with this book.” —The Book Blog
VOYA - Alicia Abdul
Nadia and brother, Rabbit, must follow the plan set forth by their Uncle Bean once the disease, BluStar, has been unleashed on the world. With a plan already in place, Nadia and Rabbit must set out on a cross-country journey to their Pappi's secluded bunker where Uncle Bean will also be waiting. Rabbit uses survival skills taught by their father, who died in combat years earlier, and Nadia uses his words, "be the cockroach," to make necessary decisions as they are pursued by fellow survivalists, come across death, and question whether to save friendly survivors and keep promises made before their mother's death from the disease. Chapters are broken up by days since the pandemic, giving the story a confessional feel that concludes with a ray of hope. The rising action is sluggish, in part because of readers' confusion about what has actually occurred, though the story picks up pace once the siblings are on the road. Destruction is evident but paranoia takes precedence. At every decision, Kizer builds fear: starvation, murder, death—but not overtly woeful or graphic, simply a new normal. With scores of teen fans of apocalyptic and bioterrorist literature, Kizer's stand-alone tale is a must-have for the shelves. Reviewer: Alicia Abdul
Children's Literature - Enid Portnoy
Set in the future, this science fiction novel describes a global pandemic killing most of the world’s population. A teenage girl and her brother have been somewhat prepared for the situation by their educated parents, and know what steps must be taken to prepare for their survival. Their goal is to immediately try to reach a relative hiding out in a state far from Seattle, Washington, where the story begins. Kizer is meticulous about leading the reader road by road to a possible refuge which seems too far away to ever reach. Written in the first person, the reader follows the female protagonist starting on Day 56 and ending with Day 100. She relates what happens on their dangerous and frightening journey cross country in the hope that a survival book, and advice from their deceased parents will aid them in their travels. Kizer paints a realistic picture of everything they encounter. It is a chilling story of how a killer virus can change one’s world and force a survivor to take incredible risks to try to stay alive. The dialogue and light humor initially helps to dispel the terror encountered by the siblings. It is Kizer’s even-sided explanations of their thoughts and fears that keep the reader feeling there must be a way to survive these horrible events. Readers will applaud the combined logic and energy of the main characters. What next will have to be dealt with? Will they find anyone who is able to help them? Can they endure the fears and hopelessness they both feel? Kizer’s purpose in writing, explained in her Author’s Note, is to encourage teens to seek knowledge about disasters and how to logically approach them. Reviewer: Enid Portnoy; Ages 13 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Few have survived the BluStar plague. This book opens on Day 56, when Nadia pulls a quilt over her dead mother and helps her younger brother finish packing the Jeep so they can hit the road. Nadia isn't quite old enough to drive, but since the virus has killed almost everyone in the world, traffic isn't a problem. They plan to drive from Washington state to West Virginia, where relatives may still be alive. Nadia and Rabbit are somewhat prepared, thanks to their soldier father (who was killed in Afghanistan) and their uncle, a military doctor who encouraged them to play first-person-shooter video games and purchased camping gear for them. They are smart about how to scavenge gasoline and food and sniff out safe places to sleep. They adopt an injured dog and join forces with Zack, a streetwise older teen they meet on the way. This is a first-rate survival story, as the travelers use their wits to negotiate shopping malls, abandoned railroad stations, and deserted towns. Occasional violence and a few four letter words make the likely audience a little older than readers of Susan Beth Pfeffer's "The Last Survivors" series (Harcourt). Fans of Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave (Putnam, 2013), S. D. Crockett's After the Snow (Feiwel & Friends, 2012), or Cormac McCarthy's adult novel The Road (Knopf, 2006) will find this a satisfying read. The plot tension is excellent, with just the right pacing of desperately needing something and finding, stealing, or making it. The story comes to a satisfying conclusion on Day 100, while leaving the door open for a sequel.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Two siblings make their way across an America devastated by a killer pandemic. After the death of their mother and pretty much the entire city of Seattle, Nadia and Rabbit decide to travel across the country to reach their grandfather and uncle in West Virginia. They pass through a world where the weaponized BluStar virus has killed practically everyone, leaving bodies rotting in the streets. As they travel, they discover that the very few other survivors can be savage and are serious threats in a world with no law or order. However, there are unexpected kindly allies too. Alliances formed with those they meet and the ability to manage in a world with no electricity or media are critical. Fighting to survive, these siblings heed the advice their Marine father gave them before dying in Afghanistan: to "[b]e the cockroach, not the orchid." The trip from Washington to the Mississippi is a long and detailed one, comprising more than three-quarters of the book, but then events compress. There's a cute boy, a dog that needs rescuing and fortuitous caches of supplies at regular intervals along the trek. Despite these clichés, the narrative is engaging and the characters believably portrayed. This post-apocalyptic tale is particularly frightening as it doesn't take place in some distant, imagined future. A solid, realistically imagined survival tale with a strong female protagonist. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 11-16)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385368186
Publisher:
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/11/2013
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.09(w) x 5.88(h) x 1.06(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

AMBER KIZER is also the author of the popular Meridian trilogy. Visit her at amberkizer.com.

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