Review of Ashes By Annalise Giuliano, eighth grader at Bradley Beach Elementary School
How would you feel if you were out hiking one day enjoying the beautiful wilderness in Michigan, when all of a sudden you feel a zap like a laser scorching your brain? After you pick yourself off the ground and wipe the blood off of your face, you come to realize that whatever zapped your brain killed a good part of the population and turned the young people into flesh-eating zombies.
This is what happened to the main character Alex in Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick. Alex is one of the “lucky” few who survived the electromagnetic pulse unharmed. She embarks on a journey to find closure for her parents’ deaths and to come to peace with the fact that she has an inoperable, terminal brain tumor. Along the way, she meets an angry, eight year old girl named Ellie, and her dog Mina, the only link to Ellie’s father, a soldier who died in action. The two struggle to survive in this new world where people have turned into the top predator, no electronic devices work, and food is scarce. Alex and Ellie are saved from a pack of wild dogs and a zombie by a young soldier named Tom, who is also running from traumatic events in his past. The trio join together to form a type of family. On their journey, they face killer zombies and untrustworthy humans that cause them to be separated against their will.
I found Ashes to be an awesome book and a fast read. It was difficult to put the book down since it was very exciting and suspenseful. Each chapter seemed to end with a cliffhanger that was not always answered until the next chapter. The characters in the story were put through many hardships, obstacles, and emotional losses which helped to make the book riveting. This book was a coming of age novel that effectively included elements of science fiction and the apocalypse. The target audience for this book are boys and girls, ages 13 and over who enjoy horror and suspense novels. I would give this book five stars. I cannot wait to see what the sequels bring!