Title: The Blast
Author: Sarah Perlmutter
Publication Date: December 15, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
From the author—
After a series of blasts force Beatrice Hicks and her family into their prepper bunker, they emerge to discover they are among the survivors of a nuclear apocalypse. Fighting against rogue groups and coping with deaths are just some of the adjustments Beatrice must make to survive, but how will she maintain her humanity after the blast?
The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the cover. Gray, so much gray, and that’s what the world would look like for many years after a nuclear apocalypse.
The next thing that caught my attention when I turned the first pages was Beatrice’s age, 10. Nearly all young adult fiction begins when the protagonist is already a teen but, in The Blast, we get to go along with Beatrice as she grows up in this world of gray. That is an interesting way for Ms. Perlmutter to tell the story, allowing the reader to truly understand this young girl’s impressions and how they and her surroundings shape her future. In more ways than the obvious one, Beatrice will never be 10 again.
The writing here is a little lightweight and stilted, for lack of better terms, meaning things happen too quickly and are sort of glazed over and the dialogue, in particular, is not always natural. The aftermath of the bombing is not terribly realistic and there were occasional blips in the story such as Mr. Timmons, a science professor, being so naive about the aftermath of a bomb and believing the government would take care of everything. Also, Beatrice’s dad and then the others go outside the safe room mere hours after the bomb fell when that surely would have doomed them to a very painful death from the radiation but, when all is said and done, Ms. Perlmutter has crafted a tale that is much more than the usual post-apocalyptic story. Not much attention is paid to the world outside but this is a study of some decent people who survive such an event and how they continue to survive and, yet, still retain some of the kindness and love that is in the best of us. It’s a story of family and that makes The Blast a bit different from the usual nuclear holocaust novel.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2015.
About the Author
Outside of the young adult genre, Sarah has published poems and flash fiction through Mash Stories, Millennial Garbage, the Pittsburgh History and Landmark Foundation, and the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project.
When she is not writing, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and cat, cooking food that is far too spicy, making arts and crafts, and teaching high school English.
For more information about Sarah and her writing, check out her website.
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