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A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer

A Matter of Days

by Amber Kizer

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I love survival stories and I completely appreciated that there are NO ZOMBIES in this one! It is quite gruesome so you may want to apprise your younger readers of this. A very exciting survival story that can be emotionally difficult to read at times, but, unfortunately, true to life. ( )
  amandacb | Apr 2, 2014 |
Sixteen year old Nadia covers her mother's body tenderly as her brother- Rabbit finishes packing the jeep for a cross country trip hopefully to safety and family. The epidemic Blustar has wiped out everyone in their town, in most of the world actually. The kids are lucky (?) though, as their uncle is a military doctor who has worked on special projects over the past several years to develop vaccines against germ warfare and has helped them prepare. Their deceased father was a soldier who taught them many survival techniques, enabling them to " be the cockroaches' and survive the after effects of disaster. While meeting up with many undesireables, they also meet up with former LA's and current "Zacksville's" Zack and 2 pets who they adopt as they head east. Do they really stand a chance in this new world with all of its horrors? Can they find their family thousands of miles away? Will they even be alive? Recommended for grades 7 & up. 276 pages. ( )
  sgrame | Feb 18, 2014 |
This novel is a 2014 Lone Star selection. I would say this is a dystopian novel although it isn’t like the Hunger Games where one is fighting the government. Instead, it’s a story of survival in the face of no government.

In a matter of months, over 95% of the Earth’s population has died from a virus that was accidentally unleashed by a foreign country. Nadia and her brother, Rabbit, have stayed inside their home nursing their mom and preparing to leave once most people have died. Their uncle visited a few months ago and gave them a shot that would hopefully keep them from contracting the virus. Unfortunately, their mom didn’t get the virus in time. She finally succumbs, dying. Rabbit and Nadia are on their own. Waiting for most people to die makes the journey they must take a little safer. They are to travel from Seattle, Washington, to West Virginia where their grandfather and uncle have a bunker. Nadia doesn’t even know how to drive. Rabbit may be younger, but he is smart and has been preparing the car while Nadia has been nursing their mom. They are ready to leave.

The novel is about their journey as they encounter good and bad people who are trying to survive in their own ways. Their dad was in the military before he died and he always told them to “be the cockroach. Survive the effect, not the cause.” This advice keeps them alive as they must make difficult choices in order to live. ( )
  acargile | Jan 28, 2014 |
Amber Kizer's A Matter of Days has a deceptively simple plot: a virus has swept the country, leaving the majority of the population dead, and a small number of shell-shocked survivors in its wake. Nadia and Rabbit, who watched their mother die a painful death from the virus, called BluStar because of the blue bruising that forms as the victim's blood hemorrhages beneath the skins surface, are two of those survivors. They're survival had very little to do with luck. Before the virus took hold, Nadia's uncle sent her a cryptic messages urging that she, Rabbit, and her mother administer shots he sent, with no explanation other than a mysterious and chilling insistence of importance. Nadia and Rabbit immediately followed through, but, by the time their mother complied it was too late. Now, left alone, the siblings set out to fulfill their uncles command that they make their way across the country to their estranged grandfather's well-stocked bunker in West Virginia. Thus begins a journey filled with danger, chance encounters, and a chilling look at the destruction BluStar has wrought in only a matter of days.

One of the things that sets A Matter of Days apart from other post-apocalyptic literature is how little introduction the plot requires. The premise set forth by this novel is one of the most realistic in that it was far to easy to imagine events actually occurring. There is no long, drawn out downfall from the time BluStar strikes to their decimation of most of the human population. As the title implies, it really is only a matter of days until the entire world is forever changed. Because the effects are so immediate, it was terrifying how easily the reader could put themselves in Nadia and Rabbit's shoes. Just imagine if next week, your entire family had died in front of you. Your classmates? Dead. Your neighbors? Gone. Electricity? Running water? Fresh food? Gone, gone, gone.

The main characters are what can only be described as typical. Nadia and Rabbit weren't especially close before BluStar, but nothing creates a bond like living through the near annihilation of the human race. The fact that the main characters are siblings adds a compelling and fresh dynamic within post-apocalyptic genre: the two can trust one another. There is no doubt that they have each others' backs... So, while they definitely encounter survivors that are scary and untrustworthy, as long as they're together, they always have someone to trust. Comparing Nadia and Rabbit's experience to the other survivors they encounter during their cross-country (family) road trip(from hell) was exceedingly interesting. One sad soul they encounter appeared to have literally lost her mind, left alone and completely unable to cope, she'd suffered a complete break from reality.

While Nadia and Rabbit are in many ways typical of people their age, they have unique advantage: Be the cockroach. Their grandfather, an intense conspiracy theorist, had been convinced for years that they end of days was approaching. If anyone was prepared for something like BluStar, it was him. Their father, in addition to being raised by a man obsessed with preparing for such an event, was in the armed forces, and impressed upon Nadia and Rabbit the importance of being able to adapt. To be survivors instead of statistics. Armed with the advice of their father, the siblings are as prepared as they'll ever be to survive.

Fans of post-apocalyptic stories will appreciate the straight-forward nature of Kizer's A Matter of Days and the intelligence and common sense of Nadia and Rabbit. Action, introspection, and haunting encounters fill the pages of this well-executed tale. ( )
  thehidingspot | Sep 16, 2013 |
A Matter of Days is a count of the days in which Nadia and her brother Rabbit (aka Robert) become the cockroach. Survive everything and be determined. The Blustar virus, a hemorrhagic virus that in the end leaves blue star like bruises, has hit the world like wildfire and there are not many known survivors. It is their hope that they can make it to their uncle who has forewarned them about the virus, and live in peace during the aftermath. While their mother died, Nadia and Rabbit have managed to stay alive and now must make their way from their home in Seattle to their grandfather’s compound in West Virginia.

During their trip they encounter everything one might think of during the end of days: rebellious groups of marauders, death and decay, injured and resourceful animals, buildings demolished and looted, bridges exploded because towns believed it would stop the spread, and much more. Their goal is to make it to their grandfathers, but will he be alive when they arrive?

I recently moved into an apartment in the middle of nowhere, dirt road to get to it, pitch black at night because there is no ambient light nearby… and this book was all the more interesting because of it. I have to say that my first thought while listening to the audiobook was not about the characters or the virus itself, but of me and my pets and how I would be so, totally, screwed if this happened (I have no skills and I think I should have more food in the house). Anywho, the book had a lot of impact and with all the Doomsday Preppers shows and things happening on TV lately and hit series like Walking Dead, I think that this new book is a great addition to the end-of-days genre classification.

The plot was remarkably believable, no zombies or paranormal elements, just siblings using their survival knowledge to move through their trip as best they could. The suspense is in their encounters with other survivors, it is always a toss up as to whether they will be welcoming or crazies. So throughout the story I found myself holding my breath and homing for the best each time… sadly that did not happen.

The characters, Nadia, Rabbit, and Zach are strong. Told from Nadia’s point of view the reader can relate to her feelings about the situation and the amount of responsibility that she now must uphold with the death of both her parents. Her character is a teen and she adapts like one, she doesn’t try to overdo her parental placement and tries to stay juvenile as her surroundings will allow her.

As for the virus, there was a great author’s note included in the audiobook after the reading, the author goes on to explain her reasoning behind her story and the kill rate of the virus. I appreciated this. At first I thought there could be a virus this destructive, there have been (ex. black plague), but this is extreme for now right? The author thinks so too, but it allowed her to love out her “what if?” scenario and I think that she held on to that image well throughout the plot.

I really enjoyed this post-crisis tale and think that others will too. It is a bit graphic at times, but there is a lot of death, so duh!

Amber Kizer can be found on her website at www.Amberkizer.com, she is also known for the Fenestra series and writes Young Adult and Romance. ( )
  sszkutak | Jul 23, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385739737, Hardcover)

   On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia's mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren't as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That's their plan as they trek from Seattle to their grandfather's survivalist compound in West Virginia. Using practical survival techniques, they make their way through a world of death and destruction until they encounter an injured dog; Zack, a street kid from Los Angeles; and other survivors who are seldom what they seem. Illness, infections, fatigue, and meager supplies have become a way of life. Still, it will be worth it once they arrive at the designated place on the map they have memorized. But what if no one is there to meet them?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:37 -0400)

In the not-too-distant future when a global pandemic kills most of humanity, a teenaged girl and her younger brother struggle to survive.

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