FICTION

Aftershocks

Abrams/Amulet. Aug. 2020. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419739170.
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Gr 9 Up–California high school student Ruby is devastated when she discovers that her mom is dating her water polo coach. She cannot bear the thought of attending practice and being subjected to the possible rumors or taunts surrounding her mother’s relationship. In her agitated state, she recklessly decides to skip practice and head to a local laundromat to see if she can get a stranger to buy her beer. Shortly after starting up a conversation with her would-be alcohol procurer, Charlie, an enormous earthquake strikes. The walls of the laundromat collapse, and Ruby and Charlie find themselves buried alive in the destruction. Scared, injured, and only able to hear each other’s voices through the rubble, Charlie and Ruby survive each hour by sharing memories and the challenges they have each faced in their lives. Problems that had seemed dire become starkly insignificant when the two are confronted with their own mortality. As hours turn into days, and aftershocks begin to rumble, Ruby wonders if they will ever escape. This is an inspiring and complex survival story that examines self-doubt, addiction, loss, love, and the human condition.
VERDICT Reichardt pens a captivating story that is sure to be a popular title in any young adult collection. For fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It, Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea, or Michael Northrop’s Trapped.

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