A Matter of Days

( 4 )


   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 ...

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A Matter of Days

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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 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?

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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)
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
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: 9780385908047
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/11/2013
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 705,687
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

AMBER KIZER is also the author of the popular Meridian trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014



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  • Posted January 23, 2014

    A Matter of Days is a survival book with a rare feature, there i

    A Matter of Days is a survival book with a rare feature, there is no over the top sci-fi angle and there are no monsters waiting to destroy them. Instead it’s a survival book with an incredibly realistic feel and very realistic cause, and in it we watch a sixteen year old set out in a world half dead and fend for herself and her younger brother.

    The book is very short and it moves quickly, literally counting the days that have passed since the human population started to dwindle down to almost nothing. The cause isn’t really important, but it’s something that could happen incredibly easy in our world of fast travel and constant contact. A virus. The effect is what Nadia and her brother Robert, known as Rabbit, have to deal with. They have to leave the marginal comfort of their home and make their way across a country where danger is present. I loved the realism in this. We see two siblings take care of each other, support each other, squabble and joke with each other. We see them break down and we see them make bad choices, but they pull through.

    Nadia and Rabbit are amazing main characters. They have been taught to survive by their military father and thanks to their uncle, who had enough warning about the virus spreading, supplies and a goal. With their parents dead they have to fend for themselves and I could honestly see how human these two were. There were moments when my purely logical brain would scream for them to avoid something, but in their real desperation they would go anyway. I also loved their banter and even their squabbles, because it’s rare to find a YA book (outside of contemporary) with a sibling relationship that truly seems real. We also have Zack, who is someone they meet along they way. He’s used to struggle and making things work to get by, and it was interesting to see how he fared as well as his dynamic with the siblings.

    If you’re looking for a quick, addicting read then I completely recommend A Matter of Days. There is a ton of tension and a lot of true emotion poured into these characters. As an added bonus it’s a stand alone, so you know you’re going to get the answers you need before it’s all over.

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  • Posted September 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I went into A Matter of Days without any expectations whatsoever

    I went into A Matter of Days without any expectations whatsoever. I received this book in a surprise package and when I found out it was a survival novel I immediately picked it up. If you know me, then you know I devour every survival book that reaches my doorstop. So far I have loved every single survival book I've read, including A Matter of Days. The book starts on day 56 after the epidemic began. almost 98% of the world is dead but two survivors, who will headline this book, are still alive, and they are Nadia and Rabbit (Robert Jr.). The 16 year old girl with her 11 year old brother, in an almost deserted world. Now the main plot in here is for Nadia and Rabbit to travel from Seattle to West Virginia where their uncle is supposed to meet them. I can't give any more details in fear or giving up any spoilers. As for the main characters, I love love loved Nadia and Rabbit, as a team these two were just amazing. Also, I've mentioned this before but I love sibling bonding in dystopian and post apocalyptic/survival novels. I kept on being surprised and amazed by how mature Rabbit is and his wide knowledge in everything, from siphoning gas from other cars, to leading them to bodies of water by seeing where a flock of birds are heading. As for Nadia, she was just as fantastic, if not better. She always listened to Rabbit and they operated as a team. Of course we've got Zach who shows up later, and also a dog that became their companion. I do have to point out that this book does not contain any romance. So all you readers who are tired of YA books marketed as dystopian and post apocalyptic/survival only to be sucked into a dramatic love story, this book is for you. There were so many heart pounding scenes as well as some pretty freaked out ones where I was praying that Nadia and everyone else would be able to survive from. When I picked it up I didn't think I was even going to like it but what happened is that I ended up reading it in a single day and wishing that there would be a sequel for it. It isn't open ended or anything, but I did wish we got to live a little bit more in their world, especially with how short the book is, at 288 pages. A Matter of Days is another survival novel I will be sure to recommend to all the fans of the survival sub-genre. I will definitely check out any new releases by Amber Kizer and pray for more survival novels by her!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    Pretty good

    This book reminded me a lot of the 5th Wave by Rick Yancey except a little less lonely. Nadia is trying to safely navigate herself and little brother from Seattle to West Virginia after an epidemic called BluStar sweeps the nation. Along the way they team up with Zack ( a badish boy from LA ) and Twawki, a loveable Saint Bernard dog.

    What I Liked: This book kept me interested though it wasn't an addicting 'stay up all night' read. Something new was always happening and I applaud Ms Kizner for suprising me at points.

    What I Didn't Like: I know a lot of readers will like Zack but he didn't work for me. Maybe I've just read to many bad boy love interst stories but he seemed cliche, and not that bad.

    Also, if youre just reading this for the romance aspect, I recommend a different book because thats not the focus here. Overall, I really liked this book and enjoyed no zombies!

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