FREE Shipping for Club Members
Not a member? Join Today!
Seventeen-year-old Icie's parents have given her $10,000 in cash, a map of a top-secret bunker, and instructions to get there by any means necessary. They have news of an imminent viral attack and know that the bunker is Icie's only hope for survival. Along with three other teens, she lives locked away for months, not knowing what's happening in the outside world or who has survived. And are they safe in the bunker after all?
Generations in the future, a mysterious cult worships the very mountain where Icie's secret bunker was built. They never leave the mountain, they're ruled by a teenager...and they have surprising ties to Icie.
This high-stakes, original, and thought-provoking adventure from Sara Grant follows two unlikely heroes, hundreds of years apart, as they fight to survive.
- ISBN-13: 9780316194938
- ISBN-10: 031619493X
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: July 2013
- Page Count: 400
- Reading Level: Ages 12-17
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-10
- Reviewer: Staff
Grant (Dark Parties) mines fresh material from the dystopian genre through an intriguing scenario and approach to the form. In the present day, 17-year-old Icie’s normal life is disrupted when her government advisor parents alert her to a biological threat and tell her to get to a shelter outside Las Vegas. En route, she encounters a perky, bald cheerleader named Marissa; young casino heir Tate; and a Native American teen named Chaske. Alternating with Icie’s tale is the story of a mountain cult in the future, in which teenagers like Beckett and Harper face the mysteries of the same base Icie and her friends are running toward, as well as their own connections to her world. Grant’s choice to tell two stories simultaneously works quite well, glimpses of each world hinting at the other (even before readers meet Marissa, for example, they know there’s a class of people in the future called “Cheerleaders”). Each story line stands on its own, but together they form a thought-provoking study of faith, misunderstanding, and survival. Ages 15–up. Agent: Jenny Savill, Andrew Nurnberg Associates. (July)■
Secrets buried by lifetimes
Half Lives is a smart adventure story, but it’s also perilously full of potential spoilers, so let’s step lightly, shall we? At 17, Icie’s biggest problem in life is that her boyfriend just broke up with her via text message. When she gets a 911 text from her folks, she knows it’s serious—one is highly placed in the federal government and the other is a nuclear physicist—but the crisis that greets her at home changes her life forever. She’s given a crude map, a money belt and instructions to get to an unmarked bunker outside Las Vegas and await further orders.
Icie’s journey and what happens at the bunker are just half of the story. Generations later, a society led by teens lives on the mountain where the bunker was, and it’s clear that Icie has left them a legacy of some sort. The way these stories intertwine and reveal information about what happened—and the consequences—keeps Half Lives suspenseful until the very end.
Author Sara Grant toggles back and forth between the present and the distant future, and while there are complex love stories in each world, the real meat of the novel is in how things change—or fail to change—over time. Much of this comes through in Grant’s use of language: Icie likes to create new compound words in hopes they’ll catch on, and it’s a pleasure and an ongoing surprise to see where they turn up and how definitions evolve. A few songs on an old iPod become a hymnal of sorts, and “Facebook” takes on a whole new meaning.
This isn’t dystopian fiction, but fans of the genre will appreciate the dark humor and complex future created here, which offers up several “a-ha” moments when past and future reveal themselves. Half Lives is tough and scary, but ultimately a story of bravery and hope.