Autumn had no idea when she woke-up that the world as she knew it was about to come to an end. By evening, however, everyone she knows is dead: her parents, her best friend, her neighbors. A strange virus spread so rapidly across the globe that no one could stop it. After witnessing the cold-blooded murder of a young boy outside her apartment building, Autumn barricades herself in her family’s penthouse, living on whatever supplies she has.
Eventually, though, Autumn knows her rations will give out. Determined to survive and desperate for companionship, she sets out to find The Reconstruction Front, a group of survivors organizing what is left of civilization. Following the instructions from the Front’s radio broadcasts, Autumn arrives at their headquarters only to find that the Front’s leader, Kyle, is the very murderer she watched from her window. She narrowly escapes his control with some fast thinking and the help of a mysterious young man named Grey.
Grey’s behavior and appearance are inexplicable. Physically perfect and always in control of his emotions, Grey manages to be wherever he needs to be in spite of distance and time. Perhaps Autumn’s attraction to him is what prevents her from realizing that there is something different about Grey. Ignoring warnings from Grey’s “business associate”, Lydia, and Autumn’s friend and admirer, Ben, the two become romantically involved. Grey intimates that he has something very important to explain to Autumn about himself and his past. When he finally does, Autumn finds her loyalties divided between the loved ones she has lost and her first real boyfriend.
Like most popular dystopian novels, this book’s simple plot and literary style should appeal to young adults who enjoy light reading. Aside from a few overly passionate kisses that would undoubtedly infuriate Autumn’s deceased father, as well as one instance in which Grey and Autumn take a nap in the same bed, the authors (a writing team under an assumed penname) avoid the gratuitous sexuality and violence that often appears in this genre. That said, the relationship between Grey and Autumn focuses primarily on physical appearance. They profess their love for each other, but give little reason for their feelings beyond the other’s good looks. One can hope that, in the sequel, Autumn’s understanding of what love is will mature as she faces the truth about Grey.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher living in Ridgewood, NJ.