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Z for Zachariah

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Z for Zachariah [Paperback]

Robert C. O'Brien
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 10, 2007 12 and up 7 and up820 (What's this?)
Is anyone out there?

Ann Burden is sixteen years old and completely alone. The world as she once knew it is gone, ravaged by a nuclear war that has taken everyone from her. For the past year, she has lived in a remote valley with no evidence of any other survivors.

But the smoke from a distant campfire shatters Ann's solitude. Someone else is still alive and making his way toward the valley. Who is this man? What does he want? Can he be trusted? Both excited and terrified, Ann soon realizes there may be worse things than being the last person on Earth.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A gripping story about the survivors of a nuclear holocaust, by a Newbery Medalist. Ages 12up.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-By Robert C. O'Brien. A nuclear holocaust has destroyed civilization. Ann Burden believes she is the last person aliveAuntil she finds another survivor. She discovers there are worse things than being alone.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416939210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416939214
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
By C. Moon
Format:School & Library Binding
Z for Zachariah was one I wasn't that impressed by at age 10 when I first read it (or about there), but years down the road (in college) a reread completely changed my mind about this book, and about the goals O'Brien had set about to accomplish with it. I've always been a fan of O'Brien, so I can't say I had completely written the book off, but this much later reading revealed some things that I think only the most perceptive young readers are going to pick up on, which is unfortunate because it really is a book for them.
Starting with the most superficial, I am probably more impressed here with O'Brien's writing than anywhere else. O'Brien purposely drenches the story in detail, allowing the reader to pause and contemplate the strangely serene post-apocolypse environment. This of course is a tool--O'Brien uses Biblical allegory throughout (for the purpose of the story, not for the purpose of the proliferation of religion), and this entire scenario with the beautiful valley that cannot be left is all too obviously a cousin to the garden of eden.
This surprising immersion in the pastoral setting (of what is apparently the end of the world) is equally matched by the strong and vital voice of Ann Burdan, who like the scenery stands in sharp contrast to death--a contrast that I think sets this entire book in motion.
I for one found Ann's voice is what made the book work. Through sincerity and an honest analysis of her feelings we are propelled into the heart of the story, which is not so much about nuclear bombs but about 'growing up -as- epic adventure' (Henke, Children't lit in Education, Summer 82).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Not if you were the last man on earth!" August 10, 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In Sunday School when she was much younger, Ann Burden learned the alphabet from "The Bible Letter Book." A was for Adam, B was for Benjamin, C was for Christian. "The last page of all was 'Z is for Zachariah,' and since I knew that Adam was the first man, for a long time I assumed that Zachariah must be the last man." Now, nearly sixteen, Ann has had to come to terms with the fact that she just might be the last woman. The earth is dead everywhere the bombs fell. Ann's valley, a "meteorological enclave" with its own self-contained weather system, escaped the radioactive fallout, but her family and neighbors were killed when they went out to search for other survivors. Keeping up the family farm, taking supplies from the neighbors' general store, she has managed well enough in the year that has passed since the war. Then, one day, she sees smoke in the distance, and every day it's a little closer. Someone else has survived, and is exploring, camping out, certain eventually to find the last spot of green in the still-radioactive landscape. Ann is excited at the prospect of having some human companionship again, but can't help worrying, too: "suppose it was someone mean, or even cruel, and brutal?"

Ann's "Zachariah" turns out to be a research chemist, John Loomis, who was in an underground laboratory when the bombs hit - along with a prototype radiation-proof suit. Wearing the suit, he's wandered around the country for a year before he finds the valley. Despite his precautions, he chooses the wrong stream to bathe in when he finally removes his suit, and Ann must nurse him through the agonies of radiation sickness. Will her new companion, this Adam to her Eve, be taken from her almost as soon as they've found each other? And if he doesn't, then what happens?
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The good thing about this book is it starts out right in the action, thats what I like about books. This book starts you out in a families valley that they live in. Everything is going well when suddenly a strange green cloud peaks at the tip of the valley. The parents of Ann Burden(the main-character telling the story) tell her that they are going out of the valley and into town to see what happened. They go out but they never come back. But before they left, her brother jumped into the back of the truck without the parents knowing. The dog loves the boy so much that it runs after him and it never comes back either until the middle of the book. But while this is all going on she is getting a long all by herself when a figure keeps getting closer and closer to the valley. She investigates to find it to be a scientist who has a biochemical suit. It protects him from the radiation. She hides in a cave because she is afraid that he might do something to her. It is a very good book to read.
I think the book is very good and keeps your attention. The only bad thing is that it is not a good book for someone who is not over 12 because you really can't understand some of the technical terms but thats about it.
I recommend this book to any student interested in a science-fiction novel and it would interest anybody else who would be interested in what the world may very well be like in the next century. I also recommend this book to teachers because they might be interested in sharing this book with the class. It is a real mindboggler in how the plot takes you right into the story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book!!!
Epic book to read if you like a game of survival of the fittest.
Published 1 month ago by awesome game
4.0 out of 5 stars The length is more extended short story/novella, but it ...
The length is more extended short story/novella, but it does grab your attention early. The ending does seem somewhat 'forced', but then upon reading it is really an unfinished... Read more
Published 1 month ago by P. Schreiber
3.0 out of 5 stars I love the end of world survival genre
I love the end of world survival genre, but this book was written for young adults and teens. They would enjoy it more than I did. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Scott McGowan
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a very good book. A horror story
The movie and the book, are 2 completely different stories. Why didn't they change the title. This is a very good book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Anthony Turno
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for 13+
This book is perfect for any age. Good twists and a strong female character. I've read it multiple times now.
Published 3 months ago by KLacy
3.0 out of 5 stars School assignment
Had to get for son's school assignment. He was not impressed with book, but whether that was the writing/subject or because it was school assigned I don't know.
Published 4 months ago by Bibliophile in Albany
2.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable for classic lovers...
Yes I read this book because I saw the movie trailer and yes I expected it to be just like the trailer. Well, that was not my brightest moment was it XD? Read more
Published 5 months ago by Fable's Library
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Interesting read but I could not get on board withe the main characters decisions.
Published 5 months ago by Adilah
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good deal
Published 5 months ago by MVFLEM
5.0 out of 5 stars Suggested reading.
Great read!
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
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