Rating: 4 Stars
Hugh Howey, an self-published author on Kindle, is well known for his sci-fi novels and series. In this standalone book, Howey tackles completely different topics: technology, teens and nature. With smartphones, the web and video games, technology has shaped and completely changed the way people learn, communicate and insult each other. Daniel Stillman, a high-school senior, is not someone glued to his game console or phone. He's ignored by girls on video chats and ridiculed by his classmates. Not to mention his family ignores each other at meals and his best friend just got a girlfriend.
So by most terms, Daniel feels like a loser. Until a hurricane hits. Set in South Carolina, Daniel's community is used to the threat of hurricanes but has never experienced one full on. So when Mother Nature arrives she takes on the digital age and wins. All it takes is for the lights to go out.
I won't spoil everything but a few important topics arise:
1. Family- Daniel's family has the capability to communicate but are extremely isolated from each other. They spend breakfasts and dinners watching TV or on their iPads. Daniel's stephfather becomes an important focus when the hurricane hits and especially when Daniel's estranged dad comes back in the storm's aftermath.
2. Relationships-No cell phone reception or electricity means Daniel, his teen sister and classmates have WAY more time on their hands. Daniel meets a girl in his neighborhood who has impressive survival skills and needless to say, a somewhat cliche but special relationship begins. Reading about a new crush/romance set under special circumstances was nice but predictable.
This book definitely holds a few obvious important lessons. I wish readers knew the aftermath of these characters but let's hope Daniel teaches readers how people can communicate with each other outside of the tech savvy world.