In the After by Demitria Lunetta
Before, 14-year-old Amy had a mother and father. Before, they lived in a nice home in a well to do neighborhood near Chicago. Her mother worked in top secret work for the government, so had an electric fence built around their home. Her father was an environmentalist so put solar panels on the roof to provide their electricity. Now, in the after, her parents are gone. If it weren’t for that fence and the solar panels, she also wouldn’t be alive. The panels provide the electricity and the fence keep out the green, carnivorous aliens that eat anything that lives. When the people or animals they are eating are gone, they fall on each other. They have excellent hearing but weak eyesight.
Amy has learned to move silently at night. She didn’t leave her home until she finally needed food. Now she scavenges food and supplies from the stores and empty homes. Every once in a while she comes across another human who has survived but avoids or escapes the person. She comes across a toddler – about 3 years old. Although she doesn’t know how Baby has survived, Amy takes her home. The two support each other against the green, mindless aliens. How long can they survive in the desolation outside the fence? What if any of the humans gangs breach the fence?
In the After is Demetria Lunetta’s first novel. It’s excellent. Lunetta has used just the right tone for Amy’s first person narrative thriller. Amy admits to being a normal, American spoiled teen when the aliens appeared in New York. For a few days after she was able to watch was happening on television. The people quickly disappeared, eaten by the aliens, and communications failed around the world. Amy has learned enough from her parents that she is able to continue on her own. Yes, she’s frightened. Yes, she misses her parents and her friends. She also is pragmatic.
Lunetta’s examination of the suddenly strange, apocalyptic world harks back to the end-of-the world novels from the 1950’s and 60’s. In the After is a young adult novel told from a young teen’s point of view with the right attitudes for the age. The world decays naturally more slowly than predicted in The World Without Us but feels quite realistic otherwise.
When Amy and Baby find an enclave of humans trying to regain the world, the reader learns how people work together to survive. There are surprises and changes waiting for Amy. She’s not sure can fit in, but what option does she have? In the After is complete on its own, but is left open for a sequel.*
Thanks for the recommendation, staff at Mysterious Galaxy. Amy’s post-apocalyptic world in In the After is as fascinating as Katniss’ in The Hunger Games but it’s in the near future rather than the distant future.
*Oh, look, In the End will be published in June, 2014.