No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz.
Hardcover, 263 pages.
Published May 29, 2012.
Published by Dial.
Life As We Knew It meets Lord of the Flies in a mall that looks just like yours
A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it's even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there's no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.
These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising styles, changing in ways they wouldn't have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly.
This is a gripping look at people and how they can--and must--change under the most dire of circumstances.
And not always for the better.
I debated between giving this novel two stars or three, eventually deciding that the areas of the novel I didn't enjoy overruled the ones I did, so 2 stars is where this novel stands for me.
I think that Dayna Lorentz did a good job creating (almost) true, often strong teenage characters. The slang they used was pretty accurate, their flaws were definitely what teens find in themselves, and she used emotions like jealousy and attraction in ways that teenagers experience. There were, however, some unexciting stereotype characters and interactions which did not seem to have any depth to them. I felt that even when only comparing the main characters, for the majority of the novel some were better developed and more legitimately motivated than others (for one example, I felt one of them, Shay was much more strongly motivated and had more reason for motivation than another, Ryan).
There was explanation that felt repetitive and I found the action to be quite slow-moving for the first half of the novel, however it didn't totally lose me. There was enough to keep me reading until the action picked up about halfway through, however, had I not read as quickly as I did (or read the whole first half in one sitting), I may have felt differently about it. I likely wouldn't have been as excited to pick it back up. The plot felt hard to accept at times. I had moments where I almost had to turn off my brain to allow the plot line to pass by without picking it apart. Many things felt a little forced and kind of unbelievable. There were good parts to the plot though like having some romance between characters without making it overwhelming or the focus of the whole story. I just think that the way the story played out didn't suit the kind of story that I really enjoy.
Finally, my initial reaction to the ending was definitely disappointment. I really wish Lorentz had wrapped up the entire storyline in the one novel, though I suppose in a time where anything less than a trilogy is a rarity, I shouldn't be too surprised. At this point I don't know if I will bother to read the following books because I worry now about how much longer she will drag the story on. I wish the whole story had taken place in the one novel. It seems hard to fathom that there can be enough material in the rest of the storyline to write two more books about.
Overall, I was not as impressed by it as I had hoped, though I think I probably overestimated a bit. It's unfortunate, but I had to give it 2 stars.