- Paperback: 374 pages
- Publisher: Silvergum publishing (24 June 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0648390845
- ISBN-13: 978-0648390848
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.1 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 481 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Seventeen: YA survival story set in Australia Paperback – 24 Jun 2019
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Suzanne's writing is compelling and I enjoyed the vivid descriptions and her world building. Seventeen creates a seamless blend of adventure and dystopia, enabling readers to follow the tale of survival of two sisters in a dangerous world. The feeling that anything could go wrong at any moment permeates the narrative and keeps the reader utterly engaged.
I really enjoyed Seventeen for so many reasons. I fell in love with many of the characters, especially Lexi, and loved to hate others. The story had me engaged from start to finish and I really enjoyed witnessing the slow and steady crumble of 'normal', mundane society into a world where new rules and power groups have to be formed by kids and teens!
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I look forward to reading more from this author!
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Lexi thought that with no school or work to go to time would just slow down. She even thought it would completely stop when her parents died, but it didn’t, life continued even if she did not want it to continue. She had to make decisions for both her and her sister. Though they wanted to stay in their family home, it was no longer safe. The only option now was to leave town, going against principles they never thought they would have to face, stealing from dead neighbors.
They join with similar minded teenagers for protection and companionship; they combined forces to ward off the older mutated teenagers who roamed the countryside taking what they wanted with an unexplainable rage.
I find this novel similar to the BBC production of Sparticle Project, though the adults in this story never come back and the virus is still alive seeking more victims. I love how the sisters stayed together even when it was very rough and worked through their differences.
A plane crash in Japan lets loose contaminants that gradually spread throughout the world and become known as the KV virus. It strangely appears to affect only adults, causing a terrible death. Upon the epidemic’s arrival in Australia, many flee the cities including the close friends of sixteen year old Lexi and her 12-year-old sister, Hadley in Perth. Their parents decide to stay in their home but also succumb and are removed by persons in contagious guard suits. No one comes to do anything about the two children and gradually they adjust until thieves invade. They decide to leave for a smaller town. Their parents’ automobile has been stolen, but their neighbors’ older car still works and has petrol sufficient to reach their destination. Since they also are dead, the two girls take the car and begin their journey. They meet another young boy along the way, take him along and just before sundown reach the small town of Jasper’s Bay. This town retains their electricity because it is a model community that had established a complete and well-functioning system of solar power. The town is inhabited only by children and is run by the eldest of them, Elisha and Ethan Mathews who were the children of the town’s Anglican priest. They are given permission to stay and matters begin to settle into place until Broc, a young bully type and his gang from outside start to upgrade attacks on the town’s children. Problems escalate further when a mutant version of the virus appears that first produces a noticeable rash on the arms and legs and is followed by increasingly uncontrollable rage and is reported as beginning to attack children when they reach seventeen. Elisha is the first to become infected and is forced from the community because of her resultant activity. Ethan, although her twin, seems immune. He is devastated however, and takes to drink. Further problems ensue to threaten the town’s already shaky survival structure when Kevin, one of the young siblings of Zac, the eldest son running the nearby only productive farm, deserts to join Broc and his gang creating devastating destruction to the town’s infrastructure. Eventually, the young town dwellers band together to fight the invaders and some order is reestablished with Lexi taking charge but as she turns seventeen, the question surfaces as to whether she will be immune or if she too will succumb.
Discussion: The author states “I wanted to write a story for young adults that featured two sisters having to survive in a world that was suddenly vastly different from one they had grown up in. One without adults or any rules. This was a scenario that my own two teenage daughters would often discuss and theorize about at the dinner table. I wanted to set the story in Australia, somewhere that is quite isolated and a unique setting for most dystopian stories.” The statement speaks for itself and describes exactly what was intended and what has been accomplished. As an aside, the activity of the bully Brock and his gang appear to be pictured at an appropriate level for the age group. Some further editing might have been helpful for any more mature readers, but generally the tale appears to follow the purported thought lines of her targeted audience.
Lexi and Hadley’s world is forever changed when a deadly virus wipes through the country. The author walks readers through the initial days as the virus takes over. First, people begin to die. Then, people leave town to try to hide and protect themselves. Then, the girls' parents die. At this point, all the adults are susceptible and dying – leaving the world with orphans 17 and under. At this point, the adult authorities, government organizations, and every other company run by adults starts to shut down (television, radio, the internet, and eventually electricity and water). The girls head to a country town where they discover several other kids in the same position. In this town, the children have to run the town, which turns into a Lord of the Flies type of situation.
Overall, I liked the book, but I wanted a little more. It would have been nice to have more characters developed instead of having so many minor characters to keep track of. As a former high school teacher, I would recommend this to my teen students. They would enjoy the plot and dystopian setting.