Friday, April 4, 2014

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

Alfred A. Knopf, 2013

It started out as a typical summer day in a small town in Kansas but ended in unanswered questions of why innocent lives were gone...

Daniel was in the pharmacy when it happened.  Usually an under the radar guy, he doesn't remember much of anything except the aftermath.

Jule was at home, trying her hardest to be invisible in a family who flaunts their power.  People look at her and see emo rebel, but all she wants is normality.  Then she opened the door to her home.

West was walking back with the person he loves but understands why he has to has to hide their relationship. He will never forget what happened on the road that day.

For Cass, it was just another babysitting gig, trying to make a little pocket money. She's the popular girl everyone adores, but now her name is akin to evil.

Ellie lives by the rules of the church, hoping this will make her life better than it was before.  That day she walks into the church to find the unexpected.

Now, all of the residents in the small town of Oleander can't get out.  Soldiers, guns, tanks and trucks are keeping them confined and the quaint town  is quickly becoming a hellhole of death, insanity and power.  These five teens are up against the most difficult struggle they have ever faced, but will they survive?

When I first picked this book up, I had to stop more than once and ask myself if Robin Wasserman was writing this for adults or teens.  I have long enjoyed her other novels, but this one is more, has more and packs a punch.  A psychological thriller, readers will be drawn into the town first by what happens that day and will want to stay around to see the disintegration of society and culture in a world where the citizens are slowly turning into their own nightmares.  This book isn't for the faint of heart.  Her writing is a blend of Stephen King's The Stand and Michael Grant's Gone but with a signature all its own.  Wasserman leaves the reader wondering what exactly has happened and when the truth is revealed, it isn't even close to what you might have imagined.  Raw and cunning, I couldn't put down this novel that wrings and twists five teens' lives into one final outcome.  Recommended for HS.

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