This near-future, suspenseful young adult dystopian novel grabs you from the start as high school senior Paige wakes up from being sick with what seemed like a bad flu with interconnected intravenous drip bags attached to her arm. As she stumbles dehydrated and disoriented from her bedroom, Paige finds it six days later and both her beloved parents and younger brother lying dead in their beds. Not for the faint of heart: hundreds of crows are outside the windows and have smashed the glass to pick at the decomposing flesh. As she checks out the neighbors, Paige realizes she’s the only person in Columbus Ohio who seems to be alive and worries that be another COVID-type pandemic that she remembers from her childhood. Except for a pre-recorded emergency broadcast, all power is down. As neighborhood gas lines start to explode, Paige escapes in the family car and ventures out to find food and any other survivors.
Paige, herself a star high school basketball student, stumbles upon Trey, an entering college football star and aspirational pre-med, at a partially raided drug store. Trey works to help restore Paige back to her strength. As they acquire food, medical supplies and a safe house in which to hide, they share some spooky observations of transparent weaponized drones. They then encounter what definitely seems to be an alien in a hospital they enter to raid supplies, which transforms the pandemic theory into what seems to be an alien biological attack designed to exterminate humanity.
Paige and Trey, along with her snuggly adopted dog Emmaline from her neighbors, connect with a third teen survivor Trey, and find a live radio broadcast from two other teens up north. All then head off to Lake Erie to track down a live broadcast from teen survivors Manny and Wyatt while dodging the unknown alien enemy.
The truth, when revealed, is startling.
Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced reader’s copy.