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The Living

The Living

4.1 14
by Matt de la Peña

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Newbery Award-winning author Matt de la Peña's The Living is "a rare thing: a plot-driven YA with characters worthy of a John Green novel.” [Entertainment Weekly, A-]

   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


Newbery Award-winning author Matt de la Peña's The Living is "a rare thing: a plot-driven YA with characters worthy of a John Green novel.” [Entertainment Weekly, A-]

   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 . . . every cruise has a fresh crop of passengers, after all. He'll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out 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.
Look for the thrilling sequel, The Hunted, in bookstores now!

Praise for The Living:

“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

A Pura Belpré Author Honor Award Winner

An ALSC Notable Children's Book Pick

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
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

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
HL700L (what's this?)
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

The Living is Newbery Award-winning author Matt de la Peña’s fifth novel and for which he received the Pura Belpré Author Honor Award. 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, I Will Save You, and The Hunted, all available from Delacorte Press. You can also visit him at mattdelapena.com and follow @mattdelapena on Twitter.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Living 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 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.