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The Living by Matt de la Peña

The Living

by Matt de la Peña

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2121458,750 (3.23)2



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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This was a quick and interesting read. I suggest maybe not starting this book unless you have quick access to the second in the series. ( )
  EllsbethB | Nov 12, 2015 |
Shy, a hard-working Mexican-American kid, gets a gig on a cruise ship. On his maiden voyage, he witnesses a passenger's suicide (he tried to prevent him from going overboard but failed). On this trip, he finds himself being followed on board by a mysterious man, as well as the subject of interest of several well-heeled tourists. Meanwhile, he's falling in love with a fellow staff member, the beautiful -- but engaged -- Carmen. As if this all weren't enough, a storm, a giant tidal wave (triggered by a massive earthquake that has level the CA coastline) and the sinking of the ship puts Shy's very existence in question. (And, oh yes, a dangerous malady "Romero" has killed his grandmother and is threatening his nephew). Whew!

Pena should have trusted his characters, Shy and Carmen and even the haughty Valley Girl Addie to carry the book. Their voices and lives are interesting enough without dragging in all of these convoluted plot twists. The undiscerning teen reader may not notice, in fact, may even like, the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink narrative. This reader mourns the short shrift given to these characters. Ah, what might have been!

Pena's BALL DON'T LIE is an infinitely better read. ( )
  mjspear | Jul 31, 2015 |
Whoa! This book took some twists and turns. Shy is working on a cruise ship for the summer to help out his family who is still reeling from the death of his grandmother from a new disease, Romero's disease. On his first voyage, a drunk and tormented man commits suicide and Shy tries to save him.
On his second voyage, someone is on board investigating and asking lots of questions to find out what the man said to Shy before killing himself. That seemed at the heart of the story, until the storms came. Then the story morphs into survival mode with Shy trying to survive all manners of obstacles. And another twists alters the course of the narrative further.
The characters are compelling and the action of story kept me interested.
Who is the mysterious Shoeshine? What happened to Addy? Is there anything left of the US? Ah, just found out there is a sequel, so I'm sure some of these questions will be revealed. ( )
  ewyatt | Jul 7, 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.
  rgruberhighschool | Mar 28, 2015 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Matt de la Peñaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leyva, HenryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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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