Past This Point by Nicole Mabry
What an incredible story. I am floored by the emotions this book elicited. Two—almost three—times, I was moved to tears. The main character, Karis, experiences so much in the few months this book covers. A huge, grateful thank you to Hidden Gems for providing me with an ARC of this novel. It is truly a hidden gem and needs to be more widely read.
A deadly virus has been unleashed in New York City and quickly spreads across the Eastern United States. Karis has been diligent enough to prevent herself from being infected and is happy for the quarantine when it is first mandated. At the very beginning, she has a chance to be evacuated to California, but because the airlines will not allow her to bring her dog, she stays in New York City. She cannot fathom leaving him behind where it is likely he could die. Any animal lover will understand her decision. When evacuations stop about a week later, she is determined to get to safety, but in the immediate aftermath, it is to dangerous to expose herself in an attempt to escape.
Confined to her apartment with dwindling supplies, she suffers through the loss of those close to her, the threat of being attacked by infected people or desperate and healthy stragglers, and the guilt of having to use lethal force in self-defense. There is so much emotion contained in this novel. I never would have expected that from dystopian fiction. I cried big ugly tears. My heart pounded with anxiety during intense scenes. I caught myself scanning ahead on pages where things got tense, quickly catching myself and grudgingly returning my eyes to the present paragraph.
For a debut novel, this is exemplary. I cannot give it enough praise. I hope the author continues writing because after reading this book, I will eagerly devour anything she publishes.
Recommended for fans of: dystopia, psychological fiction
Trigger warnings: death, suicide, violence
Karis Hylen has been through the New York City dating wringer. After years of failed relationships, she abandons her social life and whittles her days down to work and spending time with her dog, Zeke. Her self-imposed exile ends up saving her life when an untreatable virus sweeps the east coast, killing millions.
Alone in her apartment building, Karis survives with only Zeke, phone calls to her mom, and conversations with two young girls living across the courtyard. With the city in a state of martial law, violence and the smell of rotting corpses surround her every day. But her biggest enemy is her own mind. As cabin fever sets in, vivid hallucinations make her question her sanity.
In addition to her dwindling food and water stash, Karis must now struggle to keep her mind in check. When a mysterious man enters the scene, she hopes she can convince him to help her make it to the quarantine border. With the world crumbling around her, Karis discovers her inner strength but may find that she needs people after all.
©Red Adept Publishing: September 3, 2019
Edition: Kindle ARC
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