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Review: A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Matter of Days

by Amber Kizer

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Hardback: 288 Pages
Publication: June 11, 2013 by Delacorte BFYR


On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia's mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren't as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That's their plan as they trek from Seattle to their grandfather's survivalist compound in West Virginia. Using practical survival techniques, they make their way through a world of death and destruction until they encounter an injured dog; Zack, a street kid from Los Angeles; and other survivors who are seldom what they seem. Illness, infections, fatigue, and meager supplies have become a way of life. Still, it will be worth it once they arrive at the designated place on the map they have memorized. But what if no one is there to meet them?


A Matter of Days is a realistic survival story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has wiped out almost all of the world population. Nadia and her younger brother Rabbit (Rabbit being a childhood nickname that stuck) have the good fortune of being better prepared for survival than most thanks to the mentoring of their father and Uncle Bean, and they have a destination. I like how the story tackles the impact of the virus on people through the portrayal of how Nadia and Rabbit, and the people that they meet, handle their situation, showcasing the different sides of humanity.

Not much is elaborated about the origins of BluStar or where the world is going to, but it doesn't matter. All Nadia and her brother want to do is make it to their grandfather's place. They don't care about where the rest of humanity is going--they don't have the time or means to worry about anyone other than themselves. We do get a sense of what other survivors are doing when they chance upon other people; for the most part, however, Nadia and her brother are alone (until they gain companions).

Because of this, what really makes this novel are the characters themselves. Nadia is a vulnerable teenage girl who doesn't feel ready for the responsibilities thrust upon her. She has to protect her younger brother and guide them across the country through hostile territories. During their journey, she displays both strength of heart and will in addition to moments of weakness. Rabbit is a bundle of joy. He's still a kid, and there are moments when his age becomes apparent. At the same time, he's oftentimes the more level-headed one. He has an interest in maps and studies practical books that help them on their way. There is also a hint of romance with the addition of Zack, but it's just a glimmer. Foremost in all of their minds is survival. Nadia and Zack admit that they never would have associated with each other before.

This is at a suitable reading level for upper-middle-grade readers. For the most part, it is a clean read with only a couple instances of language. I like how the story ends on a note of hope, leaving much of the after to the reader's imagination. What this story is about is the journey. Much like The Giver, once the characters have reached their end-goal, the story leaves it to our imagination to think about where the characters will go in the future. (Though A Matter of Days has a little bit more of a resolution than The Giver.) I recommend this to those looking for a good, clean post-apocalyptic read.

An ARC was provided by Random House for review.

2 comments on "Review: A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer"
  1. This sounds like a compelling adventure with interesting characters.


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