No Safety in Numbers is another book I just happened upon at the library, it was on the “Staff Picks” display. I walked by, noticed this book and turned to walk back and pick it up. After reading the jacket description I knew I had to bring it home and read it. As if the cover hadn’t caught my attention enough.
Anyone who has ever seen Outbreak or The Stand or any other movie/tv show about a killer virus will recognize what happens here, only this time it happens in a large (and I mean large, they talk about several thousand people, multiple floors, amusement park rides, a movie theater and an ice skating rink) mall. Also the story is told from the point of view of four teenagers. The website for the books has a quote from seventeen magazine: “Think of the heart-racing chase of The Hunger Games, but a giant mall is your arena.” I think this is meant to describe the second book and while it fits ok I think a better corollary would be Lord of the Flies, at least that’s the book that came to mind when I read No Easy Way Out, maybe that reference isn’t current enough though.
The book starts on a fairly normal day, Marco is biking to his job at the mall when he starts being chased by a classmate whose car he scratched with said bike. When he goes to hide in the ventilation area he finds a strange device attached to the system. Naturally he calls the police and that’s when an absolutely normal day gets shot to hell for everyone in the mall.
Lexi is on a rare family outing, rare because her mother a Senator doesn’t have much time for family these days. They’re just starting lunch at their “favorite” Chinese restaurant in the mall when the Senator gets a phone call and disappears for hours. The mall is shut down, no one goes in and no one goes out (and all of a sudden Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is in my head, sorry I’ve been reading it to some of the kindergartners I work with and that line just stuck in my head), anyway back on topic at first it’s strange but no one really worries about the fact that they’re stuck at the mall, there are plenty of places to shop, plenty of food and it’s only for a few hours right? Wrong.
In the first few hours we meet the other two teens we’ll follow for the rest of the story Ryan and Shay as well as several other teens that appear throughout this book and even more so in the next book. Things start getting strange the teens notice that a store in the mall, Paper Clips has disappeared, or rather been walled off, suddenly people who are sick are being taken away, then the lockdown stretches into another day and another, people in hazmat suits begin to arrive a medical center is set up, security guards become more obvious, and as the days tick by the occupants of the mall grow restless.
Marco is no longer being hunted by the boy whose car he scratched and his buddies at least not to be hurt, now they want his help, they want him to help them escape. Lexi suddenly has a friend from the popular crowd at her school and she feels she has someone she can trust and confide in. Ryan and Shay find they are attracted to each other but have to separate as Shay must be with her grandmother and sister. Shar’s grandma is one of the first to fall ill and be taken away. The story alters between being fast-paced and incredibly slow as I imagine time would really move in a situation like this.
No Safety is days 1-6 of the quarantine, No Easy Way is days 7-14. I devoured the first book in just a few hours and when I came to the end and it said end Book 1, I immediately hopped online to find the title of the second book and see if it had been released yet then off to the library site to put it on hold. Again as soon as I got it I devoured it in no time at all. These are really good books I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the third book No Dawn without Darkness in July to see how the story ends, unfortunately my library has not ordered the book yet, I may have to request it just so I can be first in the queue to read it when it’s released. If you read the Hunger Games trilogy or Lord of the Flies and enjoyed them read this set, Amazon also suggests if you liked Life as We Knew It to read this, and I see the connection there as well.
No Dawn will definitely be on our to-read list this summer!