Series: The Hitchhiker Strain #1
Author: Kellie Sheridan
Published: March 19th 2013 by Patchwork Press
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia / Zombie Survival
After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death.
Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore.
Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.
This story is told in two POVs, Savannah who has lost her entire family to the zombie outbreak and now just wants to prove herself as a capable member of their community of survivors. When she and three friends are allowed to do a supply run, she sees it as her opportunity to finally show how much more use she could be… to disastrous consequences. Now they have to fight through zombie infested streets to catch up to their group, one of her friends have been kidnapped, and there’s a mysterious boy urging her to abandon everyone she knows and go off with him instead.
The other POV is Zarah, whose story starts at the moment of outbreak. Rescued by a boy from class, the two of them escape the city until the worst of it is contained. They are reunited with what remains of their families, but are separated from each other. They keep in touch, though, and when the second outbreak hits, they set off together in search of a better life. In search of the vaccine that may just be the worst medical catastrophe of all time.
The weird thing is the that for most of the book the two stories play off at different times in this whole outbreak scenario. They are also told in different tenses. This threw me out of the story more than once, and at the beginning I dreaded every time we switched to Zarah. But, as the story continued and picked up momentum, I stopped noticing and actually found Zarah’s story to be the more interesting one. I liked seeing the world from the other side of the fence.
A lot of emphasis are placed on the girls themselves, we get to know them pretty well, where as the menfolk take a bit of a backseat. Don’t get me wrong, the boys are still the driving force behind most of what the girls do, but they don’t overpower the female characters personality wise.
I found this story very entertaining overall. Like Cole’s mother I too speculate on various survival strategies whenever I read a zombie book. The pace is fast and there is lots of action. Dude, I cared about whether zombies lived or died! That was pretty neat.
I should also say, I really love the cover.
I have been in love with stories in all of their forms for as long as I can remember. Admittedly, sometimes that means falling into places like Stars Hollow and Sunnydale, but books have always been my true love. In early 2011 I began writing a book blog in order to share my favorite reads with book lovers. From there, the bookish community encouraged me to stop sitting on my own stories and share them instead. Since then I’ve been madly devouring everything I can about digital publishing.
For the past two years I have been mainly obsessed with young adult books, but my favorite stories still come from the adult fantasy genre. As far as I’m concerned, Briggs, Bishop, Vincent and Vaughn are all must reads.
I spent part of my twenties living in Galway, Ireland and swooning after various lilting accents but am now back home in Ontario, Canada. My family includes two Glen of Imaal Terriers and a Green Cheek Conure