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The Living by Matt de la Pena

The Living

by Matt de la Pena

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I consider this book as a sort of summertime blockbuster movie hit. Once the actions started, it kept going until the very end. Almost to the point that the plot suffers. Just like a summertime blockbuster.

The beginning starts out with a dramatic scene that would probably traumatize anyone else involve except apparently this main character. While he doesn't sometimes think back on what happened and occasionally has nightmares, he doesn't seem nearly as shaken about it as one would expect. On top of this, the action slows way down for a while that is probably longer than it should be, then all of sudden WHAM! California gets hit with The Big One. You know, the big earthquake tsunami couple that the West Coast it dreading. Except this Big One is much bigger than the one we are actually waiting for. It seems so overdone that sounds more like the end of the world.

Naturally, the main character gets stranded at sea with a rich passenger he doesn't like. Obviously. Then it gets slow for a while, than it picks up again and by the end we are left rather confused and questioning the intelligence of scientists.

Despite the fact that I believe there are way too many plots going on in this book as well as gaping plot holes that annoy me I still didn't hate the book. I thought what Matt de la Peña was doing with the book, especially toward the end, was interesting, and I hope that he fleshes it out more in his second book. Yes, this is a series. There were a few things that he touched on that I felt he should have expanded one, like the differences between classes and how people in these classes view each other. I felt this was a theme that could have been more present, however there were some great scenes that touched on the issues of not just class but of ethnicity as well, and the assumptions that are often made based on these. It was also great to read a book with a Mexican-American protagonists. There isn't enough diversity in YA lit, so it's good see it when it happens.

Overall, I think that this could make an interesting movie, and while I didn't much care for it, (mostly cause it's just not my style) I still think that it is an important YA book that deserves the attention it gets since it touches on such important social issues that teens really do care about even though we tend to think they don't. Peña has managed to start a very important conversation with this book. One that shouldn't be ignored but is sometimes difficult to start, and for that I applaud him. *claps* ( )
  kell1732 | Jan 25, 2015 |
RGG: The plot seems a bit thin, but the premise is scarily plausible. However, the main character, Sly, is infinitely likeable, and you read along routing for him. The short chapters enhance the page-turner quality. The age and romantic feelings make this book YA although nothing explicit happens or is alluded to. Apparently this is the start of a series.
  rgruberexcel | Jan 9, 2015 |
There none of the two female characters pass the sexy lamp test. Some of the things that happen are also a tad too convenient and the book Finisheds as though it really wants to be an action movie. Still, I Finished it while wandering around in Munich, and it works. I am looking forward to the sequel, hoping that the female characters in the book will also get their chance to shine.

It's really refreshing to see a main character who is not white and whose background informs his character and many of his decisions without the entire story being about his race. He's also not the only PoC in the novel, there are a diverse cast. ( )
  Mothwing | Jan 4, 2015 |
Ridiculous and numerous plot lines -- but fast-paced -- good for action junkies -- nicely drawn characters -- sweet family stuff -- some sex and drinking -- probably okay for 9th grade and up. ( )
  amydelpo | Dec 9, 2014 |
Mini Review: My thoughts in 5 bullets or less…

Well Developed Characters
This is the second book by author, Matt de La Pena, that I have read and I’ve gotta say he writes some of the most realistic characters I’ve ever read. Each character is so fully developed I feel I actually know them, like in real life. They’re almost too realistic if that makes any sense.

Male Point-of-View
The problem with an extremely realistic male character is we have to hear everytime he gets distracted by a girls long legs or catches himself looking at her butt (eye roll). However, I guess that’s the same as a girl main character who is constantly oogling a guys abs or whatenot, so I really have no right to complain.

The story took some time to get rolling but once the tsunami hit the real adventure began. Shy is soon battling for his life in the most dire circumstances. I kept thinking to myself can’t the poor kid catch a break? as bad thing after bad thing kept happening.

This book had it pros and cons but the postivie outweighed the negative and I’ll definiltey be checking out the sequel to see what happens next in Shy’s journey. ( )
  BornBookish | Jun 2, 2014 |
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After an earthquake destroys California and a tsunami wrecks the luxury cruise ship where he is a summer employee, high schooler Shy confronts another deadly surprise.

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