Adolescent Lit. Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Ilsa J. Bick at the American Library Association's 2011 Conference this past June.  Ashes is not due to release until September of this year, but Bick generously gave out a number of uncorrected proofs to many of the attendees at the conference. Bick is a child psychologist and a writer of short stories, novellas, and novels.   I have to say that Ashes hasn't even been officially released and I am already pining for the second book in the trilogy.    

Synopsis:  Alex, a seventeen year old traipsing through the wilderness as she ventures to spread her parent's remains in Lake Superior, discovers a lot more than she bargained for. Told from her point of view, Ashes, tells the story of Alex and those she encounters in the Waucamaw Wilderness of Michigan.  Four days into her trip, Alex is suddenly struck with an excruciating pain which she initially believes to be caused by the brain tumor that has been slowly killing her.  She starts to believe otherwise when she discovers that those around have had the same experience and some are even dead. Her journey after the "zap" brings new discoveries as she travels with two other survivors (Tom: a war veteran and Ellie: an 8 year old whose grandfather died after the zap) and they deduce that the "zap" must have been some sort of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) explosion.  They also discover that the "zap" has caused most teenagers to turn zombie like and go on killing sprees. 

Tom, Ellie and Alex must fight for survival in a new world and the adventures only begin with these characters.  Warning:  This book is full of blood and guts and even some cannibalism.   But, it is a page turner with suspense around every corner and definitely one of the best books I have read in a while (I would rate it up there with The Hunger Games).   

What's Next:  The second book in the Ashes Trilogy, Shadows, has no current release date.  I will post an update when Bick sets a release date.  In the meantime, her book Draw the Dark also looks very interesting.  Tip:  You can always read the first chapter via Kindle App for free.  

Update:  I just got word from Bick (via Twitter) that Shadows is due out in Fall 2012.   

Recommended for Grades 9-12.
Click here to preorder/purchase: Amazon


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