Release Date: February 1st 2012, preorder a copy!
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Sherry and her family have lived sealed in a bunker in the garden since things went wrong up above. Her grandfather has been in the freezer for the last three months, her parents are at each other’s throats and two minutes ago they ran out of food.Three years ago, six people entered their family bunker. Five are still breathing the same air, trapped and desperate to escape the monotonous days. One lay dead in the freezer. And two minutes ago, the last morsel of food was eaten. Their only chance at survival is to brave the outside world where an even scarier fate awaits. A virus spread three years ago, infecting humans with a monstrous rabies that can turn even the sweetest of souls into a terrifying beast with an overzealous taste for human flesh. The LA they once knew is now a shell of it's former self - death, destruction and desolation reflect back from every window.
Sherry and her father leave the safety of the bunker and find a devastated and empty LA, smashed to pieces by bombs and haunted by ‘Weepers’ - rabid humans infected with a weaponized rabies virus.
While searching for food in a supermarket, Sherry’s father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a boy-hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a tumble-down vineyard in the hills outside LA, where a handful of other survivors are picking up the pieces of their ‘other lives’. As she falls in love for the first time, Sherry must save her father, stay alive and keep Joshua safe when his desire for vengeance threatens them all.
When Sherry and her father go in search for food, it doesn't take long for them to run into the awful zombie-like creatures known as Weepers. While the attack brings a new companion into Sherry's life - fellow survivor, Joshua - her father is kidnapped. She has no idea whether he's alive, dead or turned into something unnatural. But at least she's not alone. Joshua takes her back to Safe-Haven, a place where the last few survivors in the area call home. Their numbers may be few, but they've managed to stay alive, to hold onto their humanity, despite the horrors each have faced. Some worse than others, but all equally tragic.
As Sherry and Joshua go in search for her father, she has to face some inner demons. Understandably, she struggles with the idea of killing something that was once human. Murderous beasts they may be, but these were once ordinary people just like her. They laughed, they cried, they loved. They had families. But all thanks to a cruel twist of fate, they've lost all sense of who they are. It's a kill-or-be-killed situation and she knows she needs to find her father before it's too late. She's has no choice but to grow up fast. Heck, this would mess with the head of a person twice, even three times her age, so for a 15 year old, it's a remarkable feat.
Joshua has a mysterious past that is clearly full of pain and anger. There's a sort of reckless fury to him, which isn't so great when he's out there fighting Weepers. Sure, he's capable of taking them down, but his heart is screaming for vengeance and he sometimes doesn't bother to consider the risks before jumping into action. As you grow to learn more about him, his reasons become justified and you can't help but feel for what he's endured. He and Sherry grow closer in that sweet, coming-of-age / first-love type of way, a romance that manages to blossom despite the fear that threatens to suffocate them all.
The ending brings with it some shocking secrets, which spin the story in a whole new direction and promises for a pretty awesome book two. I think The Other Life can be enjoyed by both the younger and older market of YA. It sucked me in from the beginning and held me captivated as we journey through the bleak and dangerous landscape of Los Angeles. Action, fear and danger run rampant, but the darkness can't wilt the blossoming of love and hope. Their greatest strength may not lay in numbers, but the desire to fight, to survive, burning strong within each character is enough to spur them on against the nightmare that stalks them day and night.
4/5 Golden Apples!