As far as Riley McCullough is concerned, her best friend getting ‘dragged’ off to Puerto Vallarta for the first two weeks of summer vacation was the end of the world―at least until the bombs fell.
Life in suburban New Jersey with her mother has been comfortable, not to mention boring, to an introverted fourteen year old. As if her friend’s surprise trip wasn’t bad enough, her expectations for the ‘best summer ever’ disintegrate when she gets sent across the country to stay with a father she hasn’t seen in six years. Adjusting to a tiny, desert town where everyone stares at them like they don’t belong proves difficult, and leaves her feeling more isolated than ever. To make matters worse, her secretive father won’t tell the truth about why he left―or what he’s hiding.
Her luck takes an unexpected turn for the better when she meets a boy who shares her interest in video games and contempt for small town boredom. In him, she finds a kindred spirit who might just make the middle of nowhere tolerable.
Happiness is short lived; fleeing nuclear Armageddon, she takes shelter with her dad in an underground bunker he’d spent years preparing. After fourteen days without sun, Riley must overcome the sorrow of losing everything to save the one person she cares about most.
This book takes you on a ride! We get a rough introduction to the protagonist, Riley. The tragic circumstances bring a father she hasn't seen in years back into her life. She is torn from everything she knows and is forced to move cross country to live with this man she doesn't know any more. He is unknown to her and she is being forced to live in a small town filled with people who think her father is a strange man and are not very accepting of outsiders. She meets some of the locals and finds a friend in Kieran and eventually in some other teens who are friends of his.
Due to her father's ranting and cryptic explanations about why he left Riley and her mother, she finds herself drawn into his world. What she thinks is reality is not and what she thinks should be happening doesn't. This was the part of the story I didn't see coming. There were so many twists and turns that threw me off and sent me in one direction, when it all came together, I was shocked. Well done!
I loved the relationship between Riley and Kieran, as well as that of his family and the other kids in the town. I enjoyed the end of the book, and I'm not going to divulge anything further since it would ruin the head trip for you, but it is worth the read. Very interesting and left me with several things to think about in the end.
Author's Site: http://www.matthewcoxbooks.com/wordpress/