PJV Quickie: This is not your fuzzy bunny dystopian novel, this is not a young adult novel where reality is suspended all because it is geared to kids and written “nicely” to avoid bad influences. This was something different! Something real. IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta was frightening, face paced, original, it had my heart-pumping and my head buried deep in the pages until I finally finished. This is how I want my dystopian novels.

Review: Here is the pitch, there is a young girl, Amy, fourteen, she’s petulant, selfish and has a very narrow view of the world, like a lot of spoiled teenagers. Until the world ends. She watches as creatures tear apart her neighbors in the street, the only reason she survives…her parents, one was paranoid and one was a hippie. The only way she can survive long term is to stop speaking, make no noise, go out in the dark where they can’t see you and grow-up really fast.

The novel is event after event of just craziness, carnage and heart-breaking moments. Amy matures in an instant and even more so when she finds a small child in the shopping center near her home and decides to take her and care for her, calling her only Baby. One poignant point within the novel was when Amy was bringing the child home with her and vowed in her inner diatribe that she would drop the child if it made a noise, if it cried out…because she knew any noise would attract Them. Even though she knew she was being heartless,  she also knew that it was the only way to survive.

Scenes like these play out over and over again throughout the whole novel. Amy has to choose between her own survival and that of others and also try and maintain a sense of self and morals. The subtly of those choices is what makes the novel so much better then the usual dystopian. Amy doesn’t constantly lament about right and wrong in a stream of inner monologue, her thoughts and beliefs can just be interpreted from her actions and what she does think about in the narration.

The book is a long one, with a lot of plot sequences, but the small chapters, the sparse introspection and minor detailing makes it speed by in an anxiety drenched read.

This. Is. A. Must. Read.

There were some things that I thought were problematic, especially when New Hope was introduced and Amy’s narrative switched from present to past in a flip-flop of recollection. I thought this was annoying at first but when the two time lines merged it all made sense and what I thought was first annoying made perfect sense in the end. I really liked that about the novel.

Pair this wonderful plot with great characters, Amy was breathtaking and her relationship with Baby was heart-wrenching. Not to mention a crazy world, full of nightmare creatures and “real” apocalyptic world character reactions and fabulous, fast-paced writing that worked, this one is a new PJV Fave. Five stars.

Did I mention it was a must read?

Recommendations: Calling all dystopian fans, this one is for you. Even if you are an apocalypse type of reader, like those zombies? Check out IN THE AFTER, you won’t be disappointed. Fans of Ann Aguirre, oh yeah, you are going to love this one.