"The Living seamlessly incorporates his trademarks (racial identity, class, street slang) into a lightning-paced page-turner...De la Peña has created a rare thing: a plot-driven YA with characters worthy of a John Green novel. A-"
New York Times Book Review, November 10, 2013:
"Action is first and foremost in ‘The Living’…The breathless conclusion, with an escape by helicopter and a cliff-top showdown, sets up a sequel, scheduled to be published next year."
NPR Weekend Edition, November 23, 2013:
"A disaster epic, a survival story, and a coming-of-age novel filled with the life of a young man who's becoming aware of class, prejudice, and romance." - Scott Simon
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."
Starred Review, 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."
The Rumpus, November 6, 2013:
"The Living is action-driven but doesn’t lose the literary form, while still exploring the themes of race and class."
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."
"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."
Starred Review, VOYA, December 2013:
“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.”