From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-This contemporary thriller opens on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon in a small town in Kansas, when five people with no connection to one another inexplicably commit murders and then kill, or attempt to kill, themselves. This becomes known as "the killing day," and no one has an explanation for it. The dark story is told from the perspectives of five teenagers, each of whom suffers in a different way due to the crimes, but it's nearly a year before their linked lives truly converge. After a devastating tornado, the entire town is quarantined and the adults are descending into violent madness. The five teens seem to be the only ones who realize something terrible is happening; they struggle both to stay alive and unravel what's really going on and who is responsible. While the number of protagonists can be confusing at times, their alternating stories are all compelling. Great dialogue and intriguing subplots add to the action-packed story, which will have readers frantically flipping pages. Wasserman sustains a truly spooky mood throughout, and the suspense doesn't let up until the final pages.-Sunnie Lovelace, Wallingford Public Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* It’s Lord of the Flies on steroids! One strange day 12 people are murdered, all by relatives, friends, or neighbors—the most unlikely of suspects. No one, including 18-year-old Cass, who murdered the toddler she was babysitting, knows why. Soon after, a terrible tornado ravages the town and removes all semblances of law and order. Anarchy rules; far too many adults and role models revert to their basest instincts. An unlikely band of teens reluctantly joins forces to plot escape: Jule, part of the meth-dealing Prevette clan; West, golden boy (but gay) football jock; sweet, unassuming Daniel; Ellie King, self-prescribed evangelist dubbed saint by the deacon during the strange times; Cass; and Gracie, the sister of the murdered toddler. This is a horror story worthy of Stephen King. Wasserman’s tightly woven plot arouses our darkest fears—a government (or private industry) experimenting on its citizens, contemporary witch hunts that remind us of our Puritan heritage, and natural disasters that destroy basic infrastructure including communication systems. Her characters are antiheroes, seeking to hold themselves in check and fearing that they, or anyone around them, can suddenly become the monster they are trying to escape. It’s a violent, edgy, well-written, and foreboding novel, so realistic that readers can only hope it’s simply fiction. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn