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Apocalyptic Books || No Parents Allowed

Apparently this is the week of two-part blogs. On Thursday will be part 1 of a beautiful wedding I did last Fall, and today is part 1 of a must-read book list.

I love books. I LOVE books. Like, seriously, a lot. I read over 100 books a year (last year I lost count around 107, but I think I finished at 112), and I would read more, except for that pesky side affect of book mourning (when you’ve invested so much into a book– usually a series– that when it’s over, you can’t really move on right away because you’re so sad that it’s over and lost in that world). Now, I should say, I don’t read intellectual books. I’m not into autobiographies and better-yourself books, but rather, my favorite genre is Young Adult Fiction (YA).

There are three main types that I prefer:

One, the genre I love the best, is dystopian books, especially about the bleak future of a fictionalized America, like The Hunger Games. It’s still realistic, not science fiction, but could actually be plausible. These books are about a future world that is not desirable, and usually features a strong character that is trying to make a change. I personally enjoy strong female characters the best, usually in their late teens.

Secondly, I enjoy time travel, but only if its explained in a way that feels like it could happen. I think it’s really interesting to look into a future where there are people righting wrongs and trying not to mess up the world in the process. I don’t read as many of these as I’d like, but it’s one of my favorite styles.

Third, I enjoy fantasy, but only a really specific kind. I love Harry Potter, and I enjoyed Twilight at the time (although since I read a whole lot more than I did at the time that I read those books, I’ve realized just how cheesy they really were), but mostly, if it is fantasy, it has to be grounded in some kind of reality. I’m not into Lord of the Rings types of books, even though I fully appreciate the genius of them, because they are in a whole fantastical world. If I’m going to read a fantasy book with creatures or people that are extraordinary or have powers, I like it to be based in the reality I know. I know, I’m really specific. But this is what I like.


This post, and next Monday’s, will be about the first category, dystopian, but split up into two sub-categories. Today’s book recommendations will be specifically about an alternate reality of the world where all the adults suddenly disappear or die, and the kids have to find a way to survive. You’d think that with such a narrow category, that all of the books would seem very similar, but you’d be wrong. All three of these series are excellent, totally nail-biting and well-written, but all completely different. Next Monday I’ll be showcasing books that are more about distant futures of America where the civilization has drastically changed, and government controls the world. I hope you’ll stop by again and see them!

Well, here goes:

Note: These were all read on the fabulous Kindle, and have the Kindle prices.

1) Apocalypsis by Elle Casey Four books in all, named Kahayatle ($2.99), Warpaint ($4.99), Exodus ($4.99), and Haven ($4.99)

What I don’t like: The cover and the name. Honestly, I almost didn’t read the first book because I thought the name of the series was so lame, and the cover art is really dated and weird. To be fair though, there are several book covers when I look at Google images, and some of them are a notable improvement, so it’s possible that I got an old look.

What I loved: The story is nothing new, but the take on it is very refreshing. The writing is light and lively, very funny, and I really feel like the author made friends with her characters. I ended up seriously invested in the outcomes, finding myself at times laughing out loud and other times wiping away tears. I love that the series has four books, though they seemed a bit short to me, and I am especially glad that the story had a tidy ending and epilogue. I absolutely hate messy or unfinished endings, so this one did not disappoint. Here’s the book description from Goodreads:

My name’s Bryn Mathis. I’m seventeen years old, and I live in a neighborhood outside of Orlando, Florida. I live alone because my dad died almost a year ago, along with all the other adults in the world. I’m almost out of food and the gangs of kids that roam around my town are getting more vicious by the day. It’s time for me to leave and find another place to live … a place where I can find food and shelter … a place where they won’t be able to find me. Alone, it might have been possible; but now I’ve got company. I’m worried that I don’t have what it takes to get from here to my final destination. And I have no idea what might be waiting for me when I get there.

Apocalypsis is definitely set in firm reality, with no fantasy or unrealistic events, and has a definite giggly-girl love element in it as well. There are some pretty intense scenarios in this book, with the bad characters doing pretty bad things, so it is definitely suited for older teens and up.

2) The Toucan Trilogy by Scott Cramer Book 1 is Night of the Purple Moon (free!) and book 2 is Colony East ($4.99). Third book comes out this year.

What I don’t like: Honestly, nothing comes to mind. Except maybe that I have to wait for the third one!

What I loved: This was another series that I almost didn’t read, for one silly reason. I loved the cover art, the title of the book, the premise, and the price, but I was a little hesitant at the age of the main character, Abby, who is only 13. Even the description of the book sounds a little young, and reading from the perspective of a 13 year old didn’t sound very appealing. I took the chance anyway though, since it was free, and I am super happy that I did. The two completed books in the series are absolutely terrific, and can be enjoyed by all ages. I finished the first one in two days (with a ten hour per day job), and was hugely bummed when I realized they were not all published yet. The writing is completely captivating, and the adventure was so exciting, that by the end of the first one I really didn’t know how a second book could possibly compete with it. It did, though. When Colony East came out, it was just as good, and I loved how the characters grow up with you (like with Harry Potter). The entire plot is plausible and horrible, but I’m  big proponent of good vs. evil (with good winning), so I’m just thrilled with these books. Here’s the first book’s description from Amazon:

Abby, 13, is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple, unaware that bacteria from a passing comet will soon kill off older teens and adults. She must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her–adolescence.

The Toucan Trilogy is completely clean (from what I can remember), sex-wise and language-wise, but of course, with people dying, it still has strong elements. The only slightly fantastic element is the phenomenon that creates the disaster, but otherwise this is non-fantasy.

3) The Gone Series by Michael Grant There are a whopping six books in this series, Gone ($4.99), Hunger ($8.54), Lies ($8.54), Plague ($8.54), Fear ($8.54), and Light ($11.04)

What I don’t like: This series is a little more fantasy than I realized when I started reading them. Once I got used to the idea, I was completely sucked in, but the pretend entities in this series took me a little time to warm up to.  It’s based on some supernatural events and powers, and so while it has deep roots in reality, there is a lot of fantasy involved.The multitude of characters can be hard to keep up with as well, as opposed to the other books, where there are a few central characters, and the don’t all have similar names.

What I loved: While this series took me a while to get into because of the supernatural element to it, I got completely wrapped up in it about halfway through the first book. It starts with a bang too. Like, the first sentence. The books really build on each other and create a very rich community and environment, and is quite complex. The characters are written really well, and are totally believable. Nobody is perfect, everybody is flawed, and even those with supernatural powers are totally human. The story is really intense and intertwines between books, which is something I love. There’s a lot of mystery and at least for me, I had no idea where it was going to end up. The ending was very satisfying and wraps up well, and after six books, you want a satisfying ending. I heard that Sony bought the rights to it as well, so maybe we’ll have a TV show or movie in the future! The series is also more expensive because it’s on the New York Times Bestseller list. Here’s the book description from Amazon:

In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young. There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what’s happened. Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day. It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else…

The Gone Series is more mature, with rare mentions of sexual aspects and a lot more violence (bullies mainly). It’s also very thematically intense.

So have you read these? Have any others you suggest like these? Let me know!

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