The Living

The Living

4.1 14
by Matt de la Peña
     
 

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Shy took the summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he'll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two—every cruise has different passengers, after all.

But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy's only weeks out at sea

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Overview

Shy took the summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he'll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two—every cruise has different passengers, after all.

But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy's only weeks out at sea when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed.

The earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it's a fight to survive for those left living.

[Star] "An addictive page-turner and character-driven literary novel with broad appeal for fans of both."-Kirkus Reviews

"De la Peña (I Will Save You) delivers near-constant action, a high body count, and a compelling cast of characters in this socially aware thriller."-Publisher's Weekly

"Peña takes the time to establish some solid rapport among his characters before unleashing the mayhem, though, and the central disease and drug scam is so viciously immoral that readers will probably book passage on the upcoming sequel, to learn whether Shy and his two smokin'-hot love interests will bring the bad guys to their knees."-The Bulletin

 "Adventure survival enthusiasts will relish the vivid and raw descriptions of the sinking ship, blistering sun, and shark-infested waters. But most appealing is the empathetic teen, portrayed as a tough guy with a romantic side, who will appeal to both males and females, and is likely to appear in the upcoming sequel."-School Library Journal

"A  straight-up tour de force, a breathless, horrifying dash into the void...he fun of de la Peña's latest is how unexpectedly he blends genres, making this, in a sense, four books in one: a finely observed social-class drama, an on-the-sea survival adventure, a global-disaster book, and a contagion thriller."-Booklist

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/07/2013
De la Peña (I Will Save You) delivers near-constant action, a high body count, and a compelling cast of characters in this socially aware thriller. Shy Espinoza’s summer gig working on a luxury cruise ship is not going as planned. On his first voyage, he witnesses a suicide up-close and personal; now he’s having nightmares, and a mysterious man in black wants to know what the dead man told Shy before he slipped through his fingers into the ocean. Back in California, Shy’s nephew has been diagnosed with the mysterious, border-jumping disease that killed his grandmother. Then, in the wake of a massive environmental catastrophe, Shy struggles to survive in a waterlogged life raft with Addie, a spoiled rich girl who just a few days earlier was out of his league; what follows only deepens the mystery about the events battering Shy’s life. De la Peña injects his hybrid natural/medical disaster novel with sharp commentary on social injustice, classism, and discrimination, and the effects of the story’s many calamities set the stage for a planned sequel. Ages 14–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writer’s House. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2013:
"It’s a harrowing, exhilarating ride right up to the cliffhanger ending. An addictive page-turner and character-driven literary novel with broad appeal for fans of both."

Booklist
, September 1, 2013:
"Much of the fun of de la Peña’s latest is how unexpectedly he blends genres, making this, in a sense, four books in one: a finely observed social-class drama, an on-the-sea survival adventure, a global-disaster book, and a contagion thriller."

School Library Journal, October 2013:
"Adventure survival enthusiasts will relish the vivid and raw descriptions of the sinking ship, blistering sun, and shark-infested waters. But most appealing is the empathetic teen, portrayed as a tough guy with a romantic side, who will appeal to both males and females, and is likely to appear in the upcoming sequel, The Forgotten."

Publishers Weekly, October 7, 2013:
"De la Peña delivers near-constant action, a high body count, and a compelling cast of characters in this socially aware thriller...De la Peña injects his hybrid natural/medical disaster novel with sharp commentary on social injustice, classism, and discrimination, and the effects of the story’s many calamities set the stage for a planned sequel."

Shelf Awareness, October 23, 2013:
"In Matt de la Peña's compulsively readable thriller...the breakneck plot will draw readers in, but Shy's personal discoveries about how the world is skewed toward those in power, and his decisions to do the right thing, will hold their attention."

VOYA - Karen Jensen
Shy Espinoza takes a summer job working on a cruise ship hoping to earn some extra cash to help his family and find a way out of his impoverished life. On board, he meets a rag-tag gang of friends, including the girl who may be his soul mate, Carmen. One stormy night, the world is forever changed when THE big one hits California and a tsunami leaves him stranded at sea with the spoiled Addie. The story then enters into act two—a survival story. After days at sea and near death, they are rescued by the mysterious Shoeshine who takes them to a research island that hides secrets. What happens next will leave readers waiting for the next installment. de la Pena manages to pack a lot into The Living: there is an examination of social class; a pandemic (already in existence and effecting Shy's life); the adventure saga at sea; and a conspiracy plot all of which take the reader on a whiplash adventure. In less deft hands, the pieces could fall apart, but de la Pena manages to make it all work. There are a few convenient coincidences that come into play but in the end, readers just will not care because this is an excellent, enthralling ride. Shy is an interesting main character with an authentic voice, and as events unfold, he is forced to examine who he is, how he views others, and how he responds to the world around him. A great read for those looking for adventure and survival stories with some good character growth and introspection for others, this should have a wide and satisfied readership. There is some mild language, but this title is highly recommended for all libraries. Reviewer: Karen Jensen
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-10-01
Shy Espinoza's summer job on a Hawaii-bound cruise ship has a lot going for it: decent pay, good tips, congenial crewmates and most of all, Carmen. Both come from working-class Latino neighborhoods and have recently lost a loved one to Romero Disease, a fast-spreading pandemic. With a fiance on the mainland, Carmen won't act on their mutual attraction. Shy's haunted by his failure to prevent a wealthy passenger's suicide and perplexed by the man's mysterious last words. As Shy's followed and questioned, his cabin ransacked, the mystery deepens. Soon, bigger problems loom on the horizon: A catastrophic earthquake has devastated the West Coast, generating a huge tsunami. Shy's an appealing kid whose tough, impoverished upbringing has both limited his choices and shaped his character. His actions and emotions feel honest and earned, thereby lending authenticity and gravitas to the plot's wilder leaps, deepening the narrative. Shy finds that focusing on work helps manage his fear. When he's adrift on a leaky raft with Addie, a pretty passenger he'd dismissed as spoiled and shallow, their differences fade while their shared humanity gives them heart and hope. Disaster's a powerful teacher, Shy's adventures, the ultimate learning experience; it's a harrowing, exhilarating ride right up to the cliffhanger ending. Relax: A sequel's on the way. An addictive page-turner and character-driven literary novel with broad appeal for fans of both. (Post-apocalyptic thriller. 14 & up)
Children's Literature - Brandon West
Romance, disaster, survival and drama are just a few of the themes present in this novel. The story revolves around eighteen year old Shy Espinoza, a young man who recently started working for a cruise liner where the differences between social classes become very apparent. During his first week of work, Shy witnesses a passenger commit suicide. After returning to work, he finds solace, and a love interest, in his coworker Carmen. Shy and Carmen both realize they have lost family members to the mysterious Romero disease. The budding romance is quickly shattered when a catastrophic earthquake hits California, causing a tsunami to capsize the ship. This leaves Shy and a rich passenger, Addie, lost at sea. They struggle to survive and learn about each other through the process. Eventually, Shy and Addie get rescued and are taken to a mysterious island, where they reunite with others from the cruise liner. Even though the narrative is fast-paced and with multiple changes in direction, the novel remains engaging. The characters help balance the occasionally extreme plotlines. Shy is a believable character; he is not perfect and offers a unique perspective having lived an underprivileged childhood. The theme of social injustice runs throughout and could stimulate discussion in the classroom. Fans of young adult literature filled with twists and turns will enjoy this book. Reviewer: Brandon West; Ages 13 up.
School Library Journal
10/01/2013
Gr 9 Up—For Shy Espinoza, handing out towels and bottled water on a San Diego cruise ship filled with pretty girls seems like a glamorous summer job. The teen from Otay Mesa is grateful for the paycheck that may help his nephew get medicine to battle Romero Disease, a lethal virus that has been running rampant in Southern California and that killed his grandmother. One night Shy unsuccessfully tries to prevent a distraught passenger from jumping overboard, and not only does the death haunt him but there is also a too-keen interest by certain passengers about the man's final confession to Shy. Suspense builds as Shy tries to determine the dead man's connection to a pharmaceutical company responsible for developing-but withholding-the medicine needed to cure the disease. An earthquake and its resulting tsunami capsizes the ship, and Shy goes into survival mode, desperately worried about his friends Carmen, Rodney, and Kevin-and leery of the passengers he is helping to save. Over-the-top catastrophes and mad scientists are woven into a mostly realistic thriller, and adventure survival enthusiasts will relish the vivid and raw descriptions of the sinking ship, blistering sun, and shark-infested waters. But most appealing is the empathetic teen, portrayed as a tough guy with a romantic side, who will appeal to both males and females, and is likely to appear in the upcoming sequel, The Forgotten.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385741200
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
11/12/2013
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
274,454
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.48(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
HL700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

The Living is Matt de la Peña’s fifth novel. He attended the University of the Pacific on a basketball scholarship and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at San Diego State University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he teaches creative writing. Look for Matt’s other books, Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and I Will Save You, all available from Delacorte Press. You can also visit him at mattdelapena.com.

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The Living 4.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, what a ride!
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
Shy Espinoza is excited to get a summer job on a Hawaii-bound cruise ship to make some good money to help his family. He has found good friends, including Carmen, a girl he likes to know better. Then multiple tsunamis sink the cruise ship following news of a catastrophic earthquake has destroyed the West Coast. Shy finds himself adrift at sea with only Addie, a rude rich girl who treated him with nothing but disdain back, for company. Though, they are rescued just as they've lost all hope, Shy soon learns that they are still in great peril. Shy is a Mexican-American kid from the border, good-hearted, and devoted to family and friends. Carmen is smart and fun. Both of them have relatives who have died of Romero disease, a new illness that's spreading over the Mexican border into California, and they are able to confide in each other. They understand each other, and I liked their friendship. As for Addie, she is not friendly to Shy in the beginning, but they forge a bond going through the days on the sea in a fight for survival. Nevertheless, there is more to the story. With a few twists and turns, the book slowly builds into something that I didn't expect at the beginning. The Living is not just a survival story plotline. There is also the conspiracy plot on a mysterious island to which Shy and Addie may have a connection. The Living is an on-the-sea survival adventure, a global disaster and a contagious thriller of a book. There is plenty of horrible violence and a high body count. The story line focuses themes of racism, class conflict, and the selfish privilege of wealthy passengers. It is full of action and very well constructed. It is a great read for those who looking for adventure and survival stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever written. (My dad thinks so) i agree with him. Bit slow at the beggining,but gets more exciting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alot of action and sadness
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Action packed and i like the shoe shine dude
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You say its awful. But you rated it 5 stars .. stupid.
AvaJae More than 1 year ago
I do happen to love my YA full of action and intensity and THE LIVING definitely met those expectations. This was pretty much as intense as it sounds. I’ve heard people say this is like a YA LOST without the smoke monster weirdness, and it definitely has that vibe, though I think it reminded me more of I SHOULDN'T BE ALIVE for YA. Either way, THE LIVING is a super interesting read. Something I appreciated was the incidental diversity. Shy is (half?) Mexican American and many of the important side characters have diverse racial backgrounds, which was really nice to see. And while there are absolutely some themes of race and class coming into play, THE LIVING doesn’t read as an issue book (and it’s not supposed to), and overall, I think it was very nicely handled. I will say that the ending was kind of predictable and the confrontation between Shy and a particular baddie was, shall we say, a teensie bit evil bad guy Hollywood cliché? Also, there was a thing with super aggressive sharks that I wasn’t totally buying, but the issues were minor and I still definitely enjoyed reading. Now THE HUNTED just has to come out so I can find out what happens. *frets* I’m giving THE LIVING 4/5 stars and I recommend it to those who enjoy fast-paced, Adventure/Disaster-type books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a great chice of reads for me. The auther did a great job with this. An easy to follow suspence novel that will keep you guessing and wanting more. Although i have to say *!spoiler alert!* that leaving off with a cliffhanger is exciting but a letdown. But hey, cant wait to read the next one!
ABookVacation More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting premise, but its execution wasn’t my favorite. It follows Shy as he works on a boat, hungers after a co-worker who is engaged to be married in a few months, and tries to deal with the death of his grandmother to a deadly new strain of virus while also coping with the suicide of a guest aboard the ship. Truth be told, I never did get to the point where I connected with Shy (or any of the self absorbed characters, for that matter); his antics didn’t impress me, and his near obsession with his co-worker rubbed me the wrong way. Add in the extreme foreshadowing that begins almost from the very first page, and I ended up knowing the ending before I was even a quarter of the way through, which is unfortunate. I really liked the idea behind the novel, but it was just too obvious for me, and there wasn’t much that actually surprised me as I read. It was also a bit too long–as if everything was dragged out and I think it could have definitely been shortened, or at least had a conclusion. de la Pena only goes part of the way through the story, ending on a big finale that solidified what I already knew, and didn’t have any closure whatsoever. I felt that the beginning and middle dragged on for much too long, and then the end was a quick succession of unbelievable stunts and antics that honestly didn’t do anything for me as a reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was okay. I do not think it was anything special. The writing was sporadic. The best thing it had going for it are the two leads are Mexican-Americans. Otherwise, this is a story you have read before and often.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Somebody post something. Have a conversation
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My teacher ms. Massie is making us read it but i think its bad :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entertainment Weekly gave this book a glowing review. I'm not sure why.