Reviews for Matter of Days

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
After surviving the BluStar pandemic, Nadia and her younger brother Rabbit set off on a cross-country road trip in search of their surviving family members in West Virginia. This realistic post-apocalyptic tale eschews adrenaline-spiked urgency and focuses on the details of Nadia and Rabbit's journey, which will fascinate teens interested in disasters and practical survival skills.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 April #2
Two siblings make their way across an America devastated by a killer pandemic. After the death of their mother and pretty much the entire city of Seattle, Nadia and Rabbit decide to travel across the country to reach their grandfather and uncle in West Virginia. They pass through a world where the weaponized BluStar virus has killed practically everyone, leaving bodies rotting in the streets. As they travel, they discover that the very few other survivors can be savage and are serious threats in a world with no law or order. However, there are unexpected kindly allies too. Alliances formed with those they meet and the ability to manage in a world with no electricity or media are critical. Fighting to survive, these siblings heed the advice their Marine father gave them before dying in Afghanistan: to "[b]e the cockroach, not the orchid." The trip from Washington to the Mississippi is a long and detailed one, comprising more than three-quarters of the book, but then events compress. There's a cute boy, a dog that needs rescuing and fortuitous caches of supplies at regular intervals along the trek. Despite these clichés, the narrative is engaging and the characters believably portrayed. This post-apocalyptic tale is particularly frightening as it doesn't take place in some distant, imagined future. A solid, realistically imagined survival tale with a strong female protagonist. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 11-16) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 May #2

This fun read from Kizer (the Meridian trilogy) pushes it with a few plot points but still results in an exciting apocalyptic road trip. A few months ago, Nadia and Rabbit's military doctor uncle, Bean, visited them and insisted on injecting them with a vaccine for a "new bug." Not long afterward, the disease XRD TB--nicknamed "BluStar" after its physical side effects--starts ravaging the world, and 16-year-old Nadia and 11-year-old Rabbit are the only survivors in their entire town. With the assorted survival gear their uncle ordered for them, they attempt to make their way from their Seattle suburb to their grandfather in West Virginia. They meet a handful of survivors on the way, most notably a teen from Los Angeles named Zack, and also adopt a pair of animals. Most of their journey is Post-Apocalypse 101--being disgusted by corpses, looting dark buildings, learning other survivors might rob them--and the experimental cure/survivalist setup is a tad forced, but, on the whole, Kizer's story is solidly told. Ages 12-up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (June)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 June

Gr 8 Up--Few have survived the BluStar plague. This book opens on Day 56, when Nadia pulls a quilt over her dead mother and helps her younger brother finish packing the Jeep so they can hit the road. Nadia isn't quite old enough to drive, but since the virus has killed almost everyone in the world, traffic isn't a problem. They plan to drive from Washington state to West Virginia, where relatives may still be alive. Nadia and Rabbit are somewhat prepared, thanks to their soldier father (who was killed in Afghanistan) and their uncle, a military doctor who encouraged them to play first-person-shooter video games and purchased camping gear for them. They are smart about how to scavenge gasoline and food and sniff out safe places to sleep. They adopt an injured dog and join forces with Zack, a streetwise older teen they meet on the way. This is a first-rate survival story, as the travelers use their wits to negotiate shopping malls, abandoned railroad stations, and deserted towns. Occasional violence and a few four letter words make the likely audience a little older than readers of Susan Beth Pfeffer's "The Last Survivors" series (Harcourt). Fans of Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave (Putnam, 2013), S. D. Crockett's After the Snow (Feiwel & Friends, 2012), or Cormac McCarthy's adult novel The Road (Knopf, 2006) will find this a satisfying read. The plot tension is excellent, with just the right pacing of desperately needing something and finding, stealing, or making it. The story comes to a satisfying conclusion on Day 100, while leaving the door open for a sequel.--Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX

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VOYA Reviews 2013 August
Nadia and brother, Rabbit, must follow the plan set forth by their Uncle Bean once the disease, BluStar, has been unleashed on the world. With a plan already in place, Nadia and Rabbit must set out on a cross-country journey to their Pappi's secluded bunker where Uncle Bean will also be waiting. Rabbit uses survival skills taught by their father, who died in combat years earlier, and Nadia uses his words, "be the cockroach," to make necessary decisions as they are pursued by fellow survivalists, come across death, and question whether to save friendly survivors and keep promises made before their mother's death from the disease. Chapters are broken up by days since the pandemic, giving the story a confessional feel that concludes with a ray of hope. The rising action is sluggish, in part because of readers' confusion about what has actually occurred, though the story picks up pace once the siblings are on the road. Destruction is evident but paranoia takes precedence. At every decision, Kizer builds fear: starvation, murder, death--but not overtly woeful or graphic, simply a new normal. With scores of teen fans of apocalyptic and bioterrorist literature, Kizer's stand-alone tale is a must-have for the shelves.--Alicia Abdul 3Q 4P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.