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The Living
Author: Matt de la Peña
Published: November 12th, 2013 by Delacorte

GoodReads Summary: Shy took the summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he’ll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two—every cruise has different passengers, after all.

But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy’s only weeks out at sea when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed.

The earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it’s a fight to survive for those left living.

Review: It is difficult to review this book without giving any spoilers! It is a thrilling, action-packed text that is sure to keep readers on their toes. I loved how it kept me guessing, and I found it to be utterly unpredictable. By the end, I was surprised when I realized there would be a sequel! I fell in love with Shy’s honest voice, and he reminded me of many teens I know. Matt de la Peña proves, once again, that he can write books that are incredibly different from each other. His character development truly shines in this title.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This would make a great literature circle text. I loved all of the directions that the plot took, and it would be interesting to have students map the plot in a diagram. This book proves that all books don’t fit a perfect mold, and I think students could have a lot of fun trying to capture the different turns the plot took. I would also use this text to have students make predictions.

Discussion Questions: How does the author develop Shy’s voice? What defines Shy, as a character?; Which genres can this book fit into? If a librarian assigns this book to one of these genres, how might it be limiting?; How does Shy’s family influence his decisions?

Read This If You Loved: We Were Here by Matt de la Peña, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Maze Runner by James Dashner

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