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In the After Paperback – May 27, 2014
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“SURVIVING IN THE AFTER” PLAYLIST By Demitria Lunetta
In the After doesn’t have a lot of music in it, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a soundtrack. Songs have so much power, they can be so vital to experiencing raw emotion. This playlist is full of songs that echo a character’s emotion/mental state. To represent the apocalypse I chose a lot of the gritty nineties songs I love, but acoustic versions that seem more honest. I also picked a few covers that made me rethink a much-loved original, making it new and fresh and fitting.
1. “Sweet Dreams” by Marilyn Manson: “Sweet Dreams” makes you feel out of place, in a horrifying dream world that you don’t really understand. It’s perfect for Amy’s first experience of the After, when normality is shattered and all she’s left with is the horror that remains.
2. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons: “Radioactive” makes me think of a harsh post-apocalyptic world, but also of dealing with and surviving in that world. Its grainy beat pummels your senses, but also comes off as somehow hopeful.
3. “Black Dove (January)” by Tori Amos: For me, this song represents Amy and Baby in the After together. They only have each other.
4. “Down in a Hole (unplugged)” by Alice in Chains: “Down in a Hole” is so full of pain and anguish. It shows desperation and despair, which visits Amy just before the end of part one of In the After.
5. “Here Comes the Sun” by Yuna: I chose a version of this song that was eerily haunting. There is hope, but also fear. This song is for Amy, when she literally steps back out into the sun and feels real hope for the first time in years. This song also represents the appearance of Rice.
6. “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill: This song makes me think of all the kick-butt girl characters, Amy, Kay, even Vivian and Amber. It’s about being who you are, not what everyone else wants you to be.
7. “Machine Gun” by Portishead: This song represents Amy’s feelings of confusion and agitation when she first arrives in New Hope. Amy is so used to living in the After, with just Baby for company, that the change to New Hope is jarring. Even though she should feel safe, all she feels is wary.
8. “Mad World” by Gary Jules: For me, this song perfectly represents the Ward. The lyrics are dark while the music feels uplifting. It presents itself as one thing, but when you dig deeper, it’s something different.
9. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash: This song is so full of despair and depression, it’s for the bad time Amy has in the Ward.
10. “Save Yourself” by Stabbing Westward: Leading from despair, this song also has just the right amount of anger. I think it represents when Amy finds her fire again.
11. “Woke from Dreaming” by The Delgados: This is Amy’s full realization of her situation, when the flashbacks catch up to the present. Amy remembers everything that she’s discovered in New Hope and has to deal with the emotional pain that entails.
12. “Uprising” by Muse: Amy rediscovers her resolve. She’s found the answers she sought and now knows that she must fight for what she knows to be right.
13. “Happiness is a Warm Gun” by The Breeders: The haunting sound of The Breeders lends a spine-chilling aspect to this classic Beatles song. It represents determination but also struggle.
14. “Runaway” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: This song makes me think of Amy leaving everyone she loves, including Baby, Rice, and Kay.
15. “Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel: As with the first song, this song represents the After. I love that this song is more than just a song about silence—it’s about social change and standing against the established powers.
From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–Readers barely have a chance to meet 14-year-old Amy before the world ends, which means that, like her, they are thrust into a terrifying and confusing urban wasteland with next to no warning. The general consensus is that aliens attacked Earth, but Amy doesn't understand how these creatures, who can barely see and are single-mindedly driven by their appetite for human flesh, could have created the technology necessary for space travel. She doesn't have much time to muse about it, though, as she spends most of her energy figuring out how to survive along with Baby, a toddler she found miraculously alive in a grocery store. But when Amy and Baby are dragged into a helicopter and transported to New Hope, the largest human settlement on the continent (governed by her mother, who survived thanks to her government job), Amy begins to learn the truth about the predators and the world her mother is trying to rebuild. The story is incredibly fast paced with tight, clear prose and interesting dialogue. The characters aren't particularly well developed, but the plot is gripping and suspenseful. Apocalyptic fiction is a crowded field but this title, particularly the final revelations, stands out.–Kyle Lukoff, Corlears School, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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The author pulls very few punches. The situations are super tense and leave you on edge waiting for resolution. Do you need to suspend your sense of disbelief? Absolutely...but it's easy because you are so drawn into the action.
Now, I actually did figure out the origin of Them quite a bit before the author explained it, but I didn't care. It was a fun explanation and I liked being right! I also appreciated that the book was not the Boy A / Boy B variety. Thanks to the author for not taking that tired route.
This is one of those pure fun reads - fantastic entertainment!
The characters of course make the story for me. Amy is what she believes to be the sole survivor of an alien invasion. She is all alone at home when they attack and they decimate the human population. But Amy finds Baby, a toddler when she finds her, while out on a scavenge run for food. They live a silent life for three years, Amy teaching her how to sign as they live together adapting ASL for their needs. Then one night, they are swimming in the lake and get "rescued."
There are other characters but Amy and Baby make up the first third of the book and remain prominent throughout the book. I'll leave you to discover the rest.
The setting plays a big role in this novel. There are several settings depending on which part of the novel you are reading. The start of the story is set in the suburbs of Chicago. That is where Amy survives with Baby. Everyone is dead. Houses are broken into but only by the aliens as they pursued their prey. There are no rotting bodies, just blood stains. Night is the only safe time to venture out. The decaying buildings and world along with encroaching wilderness is the setting for the first three years. After they are rescued, New Hope is the setting. A college campus/research facility. It is orderly, has strict rules and unbreachable borders that the aliens can't even approach. New Hope is safety and food and people and comfort and home. But Amy and Baby are ripped out of one world, one of fear and wildness and a type of freedom and thrown into a world of borders, constraint and containment.
The story is so compelling that despite being 400 pages I had to read it all in one sitting. I just couldn't put it down. Amy has been living as the sole provider and defender as more than an adult for the last three years. Then she gets to New Hope and is expected to fall into the role of a child, go to school, be taken care of, follow rules. It doesn't work for her. She has a hard time adjusting to this new ordered, structured way of life with rules and authority figures. And she doesn't like being separated from Baby even for a few minutes. I could understand her frustration with the adults that ran things not understanding her need to be herself and not fall back into "Before" patterns. Nothing should go back to the way things were "Before." There is a new reality. Kids can't be fed a diet of fairy tales and nursery rhymes. They have to be taught the truth. But I have a feeling we don't know the truth, yet.
If you love apocalyptic and dystopian novels, you will not want to miss this one. It is book one in the series and I will definitely be anxiously awaiting the next novel. I don't feel like it ended on a cliffhanger. It left on a decent place, but man do I have questions!!! Guess I'll be waiting!
The world was what interested me most about this book. There was this feeling inside me that just wanted to scream in horror and, at the same time, I felt so much empathy for the characters. One wrong sound would attract the very element that the characters never wanted anywhere near them because it meant a quick, painful and horrifying death. This world was built on a lack of trust and survival of the fittest. If I had been a character in this book, I would have been eaten.
Amy was definitely a character with strong survival instincts. She was emotionally strong, brave and loyal. She was also lonely and desperate for human contact and even Baby, her constant companion, wasn’t enough for her. It was searching for that human contact that had her finding herself in some precarious situations. Her attributes was what made her such a likable character to me.
There was a slight romantic element between Amy and one of the other characters. I wouldn’t say it was anything remotely like instant love, because the characters were too busy just trying to stay alive. It was so refreshing not to have characters falling all over themselves at the first meeting.
The interesting thing about this book was the way the back story written. I loved having the chapters in a ‘before’ and ‘after’ perspective. It let me know about previous events and how the new world evolved into how it was now. What was even more brilliant was the way it showed how Amy had a relatively normal life until ‘They’ came.
But even more than that, it was like there were two separate stories being told. One was the ‘before’ and ‘after’ and the other, that came later, was ‘after’ and ‘before in the after’. I know how weird that sounds, but I don’t know of any other way to describe it that wouldn’t give part of the story line away.
‘In the After’ made me think. It made me wonder about the secrets that came to light as the story developed. As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book and possibly more than I thought I was going to, because I, well, was expecting it to be a normal sci-fi book that dealt with aliens, but it was so much more than that.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes sci-fi and flesh-eating monsters.
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