Ashes, Ashes – by Jo Treggiari
I love post-apocalyptic stories, so I was really interested to read this one, about a girl living on her own in a decimated version of New York City. Unfortunately, the book never quite lives up to its great potential. Treggiari doesn’t really do anything new or terribly interesting with the concept, so ultimately, the book is just kind of so-so.
Lucy survived the plague that killed off 99% of the world’s population, including the rest of her family, and she’s been surviving on her own ever since in a world beset by constant floods and droughts. When a boy named Aidan saves her from a pack of wild dogs, she joins his group of survivors, but she’s not out of danger yet. A group called the Sweepers have been showing up and kidnapping small groups of people, who never return. And the Sweepers are especially interested in Lucy.
For starters, I have a bit of a problem with Lucy as a character. When she first meets Aidan, she’s surprised that he has time to just explore for fun, because she spends every waking moment looking for food and trying to survive, but after she joins his camp, all she does is complain about how much work they’re making her do. Not only does that not make sense, it’s obnoxious. And then there’s a villain at the end who doesn’t make any sense either. Like, there were plenty of logical reasons for said villain to be acting the way she did, but instead of being logical and presenting Lucy with an actual, difficult decision, she’s totally crazy and evil. The whole thing could have been so much more nuanced, but instead, it was just black and white. On top of all that, the romance aspect left a lot to be desired. It felt forced to me. Plus, there’s a love triangle (blah) and a pointless epilogue because, of course.