Release date: February 1st 2012
Paperback, 320 pages.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Liz
3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world
Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.
When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.
But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?
Susanne Winnacker’s The Other Life is a promising start to a dark new series that really encompasses what it means to fight for your survival. Sherry and her family have been living in the same bunker for three years. After a breakout of a deadly virus, families were forced to stockpile rations and stay underground until it was safe to come out. But three years have gone by, and all communication from the outside world has stopped. No-one knows what’s happening or how many people are still alive. But the worst thing is that Sherry’s family have run out of food. So she and her father venture out and breathe fresh air for the first time in what seems like forever. Fresh air, however, isn’t the only thing they take in. What Sherry and her father see is beyond what they’d ever imagined. After a deadly encounter with Weepers (those affected by the virus), Sherry is left running for life. With the help of Joshua, the boy who saved her, and the only other survivors in the area, Sherry must make it back to her family – and her father – before she loses them forever.
The Other Life was a great survival story that made me really think about what life would be like if there ever were such a breakout of a virus. What would the government do? How would we all survive? I don’t think I could have been as strong as Sherry was. After she and her father were separated, she was determined to find him and bring him back safely, no matter the cost. I really liked that she had a close bond with her family; a lot of the time in YA, families are mysteriously absent or not important to the storyline, but in The Other Life, family played a vital role, and I loved the dynamic between Sherry, her parents and her siblings. She was a good older sister, and very protective over her younger brother, Bobby, and sister, Mia. I admired her courage and her ability to focus on what she wanted to do. Being thrown into such a chaotic situation would have been too much for most people, but Sherry just took it all on and tried her best.
Joshua was also another intriguing character. His whole life revolved around hunting the Weepers that had taken so much away from him. His past was full of horrors and pain, and I really felt for him the whole way through. He’d taken on this task of killing Weepers, but he was too emotionally involved and didn’t always act sensibly when it came to them (even though he was a skilled fighter). I think he was suffering a lot, and finding Sherry and being able to talk to her about it seemed to help a little. I really liked all his scenes with Sherry. It was great to read about the two together, because their lives had both been so drastically affected by this virus that having the time for a relationship seemed sort of odd and strange for the both of them. The romance was sweet and slow, and sort of like a ray of hope in the miserable world they were all forced to live in.
One thing I really enjoyed about The Other Life was the little flashback pages included before every chapter. They were events that happened before the virus broke out - just random things like a day at school, or a conversation with a friend, but it showed just how much things had changed in just three years. When you compared Sherry’s life now - killing Weepers, living on rations, hiding away – to her life before, which consisted mainly of her worrying about a crush and her enemy at school, you could see how serious things were really were, and how things could never go back to the way they were before. These flashbacks really helped give perspective on the brutal place the world had turned into.
The pacing was perfect for me, and the story flowed really well, making it easy to read. There were a few revelations at the end that set the stage for the sequel, but there wasn’t a cliffhanger (for which I was very grateful), so the wait for book two won’t be too painful. I’m really looking forward to finding out more about the government’s involvement in the virus, and what’s going on in the other parts of the world.
Overall, The Other Life was an engaging dystopian story that’s already got me excited for the sequel, The Life Beyond. Definitely recommended to fans of the genre!