Ashes
by Bick, Ilsa J.






Alex, a resourceful seventeen-year-old running from her incurable brain tumor, Tom, who has left the war in Afghanistan, and Ellie, an angry eight-year-old, join forces after an electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky and kills most of the world's population, turning some of those who remain into zombies and giving the others superhuman senses.





Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, as well as a film scholar, former Air Force major, and now a full-time author. Her critically acclaimed first YA novel,Draw the Dark, won the 2011 Westchester Fiction Award and was named a Bank Street College 2011 Best Book. Ilsa currently lives with her family and several furry creatures in rural Wisconsin, near a Hebrew cemetery. One thing she loves about the neighbors: they're very quiet and only come around for sugar once in a blue moon. You can visit her online at www.ilsajbick.com.





Seventeen-year-old Alex is alone on a Michigan mountainside when electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) released into the atmosphere above Earth shut down power and communications grids, trigger nuclear devices, and turn most adolescents into flesh-eating zombies. She eventually finds herself safe-or so she thinks-in Rule, where a council of church elders holds sway. But Rule is a town of factions and unease, and what Alex discovers about its undercurrents may kill her. This is an affecting postapocalyptic tale that divides its time between survival story and horror, as when readers encounter the vividly described results of the EMPs and zombie attacks. Bick understands the effects (and affect) she produces, though, and offsets such moments with ordinary things like falling in love, feeling safe, and even fishing. The consequence of the focus on action and incident is limited characterization, but an open ending reassures fans that there will be other opportunities to know Alex and to unravel the mystery of Rule. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.





When civilization ends and you're faced with an army of face-eating, nuclear-mutant zombies, having a brain tumor doesn't seem so bad.

Alex, orphaned, 17 and dying, decides she's sick of pointless chemo. She bugs out of school for a backpacking trip in the wilderness, determined to make her own end. Just a few days into her trip something terrible happens: A horrible, screeching pain knocks her senseless, kills an elderly backpacker and sends scores of dead birds falling from the sky. Wild dogs in the area seem to have run mad, and did Alex actually see two teenagers eating an old woman? Along with two fellow survivors—bratty middle schooler Ellie and Tom, a young soldier on leave—Alex seeks safety. Alex and Tom are both outdoorsy, but for every cache of weapons and MREs they find, another horrible event takes place. Their gun-toting survivalism only keeps them safe for so long in a post-apocalyptic America in which most of the other young people have been Changed to cannibals. The requisite creepy cultist village raises excellent questions of trust and society. Alex can't survive on her Glock alone; she needs supplies, knowledge, allies and affection.

Splendidly paced apocalyptic zombie horror ends with a thrilling, terrifying cliffhanger and a number of unresolved mysteries. (Horror. 12-15)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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