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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 19 November 2003
This is an excellent book - it doesn't patronise the reader and isn't just about a nuclear holocaust. It explores human emotion and vulnerability. To say that this is too depressing for teenagers is to try and mask the truth of the world - People are not perfect and never will be. I was disappointed by the suggestion that kids & young adults should read books with jokes instead - If you can look around and accept the state of the world and see that amidst all the bad stuff there are moments of true hope or beauty, is that not better than attempting to create a false two dimensional reality where everything is shiny and happy but not truly real?
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on 28 September 2000
A long time ago, when I was just a little girl, I was reading through the juvenile section of the local library when I came across this haunting story. The tale has a classical build-up in diary format, sucking you right into the plight of the main character, and proceeds nicely to scare the bujeezus out of you. Top-notch science fiction, sadly tucked onto childrens' shelves everywhere, when it's (IMO) perfectly suited for adults as well. This book truly stands up to be read again and again, especially on dark and stormy nights, when you start wondering what if you really were ALL ALONE...
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on 25 July 2001
This book came up in conversation recently so I went and re-read it. It is just as compelling as I remembered. I was totally hooked, drawn into the still, quiet world of the valley.It's funny reading it as an adult, seeing how the scenario could have been played out differently but is just as compelling. An excellent book and one I wish I had written !
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on 21 December 2015
I was put on to this book by a work colleague, having expressed an interest in fiction centred around nuclear war. This story focuses on Ann Burden, living alone in a valley, having escaped a massive nuclear war, having lost her family, who went to investigate the neighbouring town...and never returned. After living alone in the valley for a year, she encounters a stranger in a radiation suit, and is wary of him at first, but, when he falls ill from swimming in the contaminated creek, she nurses him back to health. But things take a sinister turn when she learns about his past, which he inadvertently reveals while he is experiencing delirium while fighting radiation sickness. I won't reveal any more, but I found it to be an engaging, but slightly unsettling book. It's been made into a film, which I have yet to see, but, from the novel, there's definitely room for a sequel. There's shades of The Death of Grass, by John Christopher, in that, human values are challenged, questioned, and distorted, to a point where humans cease to be human, and become savages, shadows of their former civilised selves, in the name of survival. It's worth a look, but don't expect a resolution at the conclusion of the novel. Like the future in the wake of a nuclear war, it's uncertain what the outcome will be.
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on 16 July 2002
I first read this book when i was in year 10 at school, my teacher gave it to me because i couldn't get into the one i was doing for my GCSE's. I loved it, it is so compelling, i read it in one night, and for me then that was quite an achievment. I would recommend this book for anyone to read. You get drawn into it from the first word and you can't put it down for wanting to know what happens next. Ever since school i have been looking for this book again. What an excellent book. Fantastic in everyway. A book that you can read over and over and not get bored! Brilliant!
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on 7 November 2000
Having read this book as school as a child I disagree with the first two reviews. The book, although having a bleak overtone, is not depressing. The story ends with hope and leaves many questions unanswered which is exactly what it should do; fuel an imagination and spark a craving to know what happened next. The writing style is good and still enjoyable as an adult, although easy enough for kids to understand. I am not sure what age group I would recommend this book too but I would have no problems with a primary school child of my own reading this if I guaged them mature enough. This is the book that encouraged me to read as a child as it was the first book I read that was in no way condescending to it's young audience in terms of style and subject matter. If unsure buy the book, read it yourself and then guage whether it is suitable for your child.
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on 24 October 2000
Of course it's depressing. Of course it's creepy. It's set in a bleak, lonely world, post-nuclear holocaust. That doesn't mean it isn't a fantastic book.
Reading books that give you nightmares is all part of growing up. But I would sooner that my kids read Z For Zachariah and had something to think about than rotted their brains watching Pokemon all day.
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on 16 July 2004
I read this book recently, my sister having read the book as a child. The heroine of the book is definitely a good role model for all, young and old. It shows how - yes good people do get difficult things happening to them - and how there is always a way out. I found it a very optimistic book and would recommend it to a young person as I am sure it would elicit questions regarding trust and growing into an adult.
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on 27 February 2016
I love this story it was a pleasure to read after so long. Fortunately I had forgotten some of the story so it turned out to be a new read for me. It's an easy read for a teacher who hasn't got a lot of spare time as it is a fairly short story. A must read for sci-fi lovers. The story is based around resilience and bravery. I don’t want to give too much away but women are the better sex. I have already passed it onto a friend and have promised another one they can borrow it too.
I received received this book well packaged. It was in very good condition almost new and arrived promptly as expected
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on 3 May 2016
An intimate account, in diary form, of Ann Burden's post-apocalyptic nightmare. In the aftermath of a catastrophic atomic war somehow she has survived alone in a valley untouched by radiation poisoning. But then a man turns up in a radiation suit and her world-order is once again under threat.

With just these two characters in the novel the narrative feels spare and claustrophobic. The intensity gathers as the sinister character of Mr Loomis begins to take form. Ann is a highly resourceful, generous girl of only sixteen. Her patience and kindness quite remarkable considering the situation. Like an angel really. Loomis, on the other hand, seems deranged and monomaniacal. But cleverly out of focus. We never quite get to know him, only really Ann's impressions.

It's a subtle, haunting story - a parable really about the good and evil forces of humanity.
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