Krista Reviews: Amber Kizer's - "A Matter of Days"
On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia’s mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren’t as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That’s their plan as they trek from Seattle to their grandfather’s survivalist compound in West Virginia.
Using practical survival techniques, they make their way through a world of death and destruction until they encounter an injured dog; Zack, a street kid from Los Angeles; and other survivors who are seldom what they seem. Illness, infections, fatigue, and meagre supplies have become a way of life. Still, it will be worth it once they arrive at the designated place on the map they have memorized. But what if no one is there to meet them?
Hardcover, 288 pages Published June 11th 2013 by Delacorte Press ISBN 0385739737 (ISBN13: 9780385739733)
After Nadia and Rabbit’s parents die, they must travel to find the only family they have left, their Uncle who helped them survive the BluStar pandemic. But as Rabbit and Nadia begin their journey, they come across many different types of survivors, all paranoid and all watchful of their possessions. They find friendship and help from Zack, who soon joins them.
I have read a lot of young adult survival stories this year, each one as good as the next. This is the first one written with a younger age group in mind. There are subtle references to the danger of the outside world, but nothing too gruesome or uncomfortable. There is also a strong influence of family and for the most part, a firm belief in rebuilding communities rather than further destruction. They do, however, come across a couple of situations that they must run from or fight dangerous gangs.
Rabbit, the younger of the two, takes the lead in guiding them in their travels. He is smart, has read the manuals and keeps in mind how many supplies they have left. Nadia is the protector, does most of the interacting with other people and makes the final decisions.
The pacing of the story is stop and go. They come up against several different blockades, and when they find a safe place they stay for awhile, this allows for some of the character relationships to grow. Through flashbacks, and Nadia’s memories from before her parents had died, we also learn about the BluStar virus and its effects on the world population.
I have become a huge fan of survival stories and the close relationship of Nadia and Rabbit in A Matter of Days is comforting. The fact that there are suspenseful yet not too intense moments made this a very entertaining read. The author’s research on the effects of pandemics shows throughout the story. Even though their parents are no longer with them, the lessons their uncle taught them, carries them on and helps them to survive every day.