Stephan Lee
November 20, 2013 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Living

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Annie Dillard
publisher
HarperCollins
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Matt de la Peña, best known for gritty urban coming-of-age novels like Mexican WhiteBoy, has made his first foray into the ever-popular teen post-apocalyptic genre. Far from a quick cash grab, de la Peña’s effort, The Living, seamlessly incorporates his trademarks (racial identity, class, street slang) into a lightning-paced page-turner. Shy, a teenager working a summer job on a luxury cruise ship, finds himself at the epicenter of a series of mysterious global disasters — earthquakes, tsunamis, a pandemic — although the biggest danger he faces may be the rich, blond Addison, a raftmate more treacherous than Richard Parker in Life of Pi. De la Peña has created a rare thing: a plot-driven YA with characters worthy of a John Green novel. A-

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