Rule of Three
by Walters, Eric

When a viral catastrophe shuts down all the computers and utilities around the world, 16-year-old Adam Daley, one of the only people who still drives a computer-free car, witnesses apocalyptic changes in his suburban neighborhood where his survival becomes dependent on the skills of his police captain mother and retired spy neighbor.

Eric Walters, a former elementary-school teacher, is a bestselling children's author in Canada. He is the founder of Creation of Hope, which provides care for orphans in the Makueni district of Kenya, and lives in Mississauga, Ontario.

One afternoon, as teenage Adam and his best friend, Todd, are working in their high-school computer lab, all computers and anything relying on them to run shut down. As the alarms sound, Adam, his mother (the local police chief), and their neighbor Herb, an elderly former government operative, become the center of the neighborhood's efforts to survive the technological meltdown. They erect walls, stockpile supplies, and convert the lawns into farmland, hunkering down to face the growing unrest. However, as is often the case among sci-fi in general, Walters' (Tagged, 2013) female characters are often relegated to merely romantic or administrative roles. Adam's mother is naive and ineffective, and Herb repeatedly subverts and manipulates her authority. And despite the fact that she's one of the few people in the community with knowledge of farming, Adam's girlfriend, Lori, is his first choice for day-care provider. In spite of those shortcomings, Adam's ethical qualms about the ruthless decisions that Herb insists they must make-turning people away from their sanctuary, treating unknown people as threats-make for nuanced reading. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

When Adam's civilization falls, there's no zombie plague or nuclear war-a computer virus destroys modern technology, and people do the rest. With no warning, all computers and cellphones shut off, cars die in the streets, and anything with a computer in it refuses to turn on. Adam checks in with his neighbor and family friend, Herb, a retired bachelor whose career involved top-secret work in foreign countries. Paranoid Herb straightaway works to maneuver Adam and his family so they are supplied and protected. Adam's family isn't helpless-his police-captain mother organizes patrols and keeps the situation from falling to complete chaos, taking Herb's counsel on the extraordinary circumstances. Soon, their neighborhood has to restructure and wall itself off to survive, especially against organized, heavily armed raiders. Reticent Adam, who frequently witnesses the adults' closed-door proceedings, often gets lost in his silence, and Herb consistently steals the show. Otherwise, Adam and Herb make a good team, pairing youthful hope with calculating cynicism. Many of the most exciting moments involve student-pilot Adam's homemade ultralight plane-noncomputerized and therefore still functional. The prose can be clunky, reading at times like a survivalist instruction manual disguised as dialogue-but the detailed content is more than worth it, capturing the nitty-gritty of rebuilding-and defending-civilization. Perfect for aspiring doomsday preppers and survivalists. (Adventure. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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