The Living

The Living

4.1 14
by Matt de la Peña
     
 

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Shy takes the summer job to make some money. A few months on a luxury cruise liner — how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two . . . there’s always going to be a fresh crop of passengers, after all. He’ll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom with the bills.

But then an earthquake more massive than any ever recorded

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Overview

Shy takes the summer job to make some money. A few months on a luxury cruise liner — how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two . . . there’s always going to be a fresh crop of passengers, after all. He’ll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom with the bills.

But then an earthquake more massive than any ever recorded hits California, and Shy’s life is changed forever.

The earthquake is only the beginning. Twenty-four hours and a catastrophic chain of events later, Shy is lost at sea, fighting to survive — and stuck with her.

She’s blond and she’s rich, and never in her life would she have dreamed she’d be adrift in the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by death and completely dependent on a guy like Shy.

And Shy hasn’t even faced the worst yet.

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
“De la Peña has created a rare thing: a plot-driven YA with characters worthy of a John Green novel.”-Entertainment Weekly, A-
 
“Action is first and foremost. . . . De la Peña can uncork delicate but vivid scenes.” —The New York Times

“[The Living] is special because of its extraordinary protagonist, Shy, who I haven’t been able to shake from my mind in the weeks since I read the book.”-John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars

"There's no way to classify The Living. It's everything I love mixed into one fantastic, relentless, action-packed story. As always with Matt, the characters are the best part. So real. I loved this book."-James Dashner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series

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

[STAR] "An excellent, enthralling ride...a great read for those looking for adventure and survival stories."-VOYA, Starred

[STAR] "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."-Shelf Awareness, Starred

"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."-NPR Weekend Edition

"De la Peña delivers near-constant action, a high body count, and a compelling cast of characters in this socially aware thriller."-Publishers Weekly

"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...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."-Booklist

A Pura Belpré Author Honor Award Winner

An ALSC Notable Children's Book Pick

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
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)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781491544150
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
01/06/2015
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 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 de la Peña’s other books, Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and I Will Save You, all available from Delacorte Press.

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