In the After #1
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Goodreads Stars: 4
Buy it: Amazon UK
They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.
Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.
After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more. - Goodreads
After six months and only a handful of great debuts, I went into In the After with low expectations. How could I not, after being disappointed by the likes of Taken and Reboot? But I think my lower expectations paid off, because I ended up really enjoying In the After. The siblings' relationship was a drawing point, and I also really enjoyed the survival feel that this had going on as the characters struggled to survive the apocalypse.
I will come as no surprise that my favourite aspect of this book was the relationship between the two sisters, Amy and Baby. They're not genetically related, but they were as real as two sisters can be. They loved each other so much, and they were each other's anchor. Baby was Amy's whole world in the first half of this novel, since she had lost her whole family and Baby was all she had. I was really heart-warming to see Amy care for her and protect her.
I was a huge fan of both of the characters separately as well. They were both intelligent, caring, and pretty badass. I loved how they adapted ASL to make it their own, even going as far as to be able to speak while holding hands. Amy was awesome. I loved how she told her story using flashbacks of what had happened to her. It really showed that she had learnt from her past mistakes, and also from past situations. And it all made her a really strong person in the end, and an even stronger character!
There wasn't much of a love story in this book, which I really appreciated since In the After is quite rightly about the two sisters. There was a smidge in there, and it was tolerable. I would have obviously preferred it if it had been left out all together, but this is YA. What can you do?
I was actually shipping Amy with a woman called Kay, rather than the intended love interest. The two of them - Amy and Kay, that is - had a lot of chemistry, and I loved their banter. There was even an opportunity for a teacher/student relationship a la Vampire Academy! *cries* I'm still hoping they'll happen, but once again I am likely shipping a doomed ship. This is YA, this is not a contemporary about a character's sexual orientation, yadda yadda yadda.
Demitria Lunetta has a really captivating writing style. I was very impressed by how quickly I was able to get into the story, especially considering I was at work all day, and VERY tired, and yet I still wanted to see what was going to happen to Amy and Baby.
The latter half of the novel is told slightly differently from the first, in that the story is split into past and present, and the "past" story leads up to where Amy is in the present. It was great to see how the journey went to lead to such dire circumstances, and I am not going to lie, I was worried about Amy and Baby for a while there!
As for the plot twists... Well, I saw one coming because I saw a spoiler on Goodreads. Do people really need to label things with spoilery stuff? I don't think so. But I didn't see the first plot twist coming at all, and I nearly died when it happened. WHAT.
In the After is definitely one of the better debuts I've read this year so far. I'm very excited to read the sequel to see what happens with the characters, and I'm also wondering about how the story is going to be told. I will say no more, though, due to spoilers. Just know that this is a great, action packed book with some mystery, and amazing characters!