Wednesday, September 4, 2013

YA Guy Reviews... IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta

YA Guy’s reaction to the first five pages of Demitria Lunetta’s In the After: little green men? Really?

YA Guy’s reaction to the remaining four hundred and fifty pages of Demitria Lunetta’s In the After: little green men! Really!

Yeah, I was a bit concerned at the start that this overused sci-fi trope might sink Lunetta’s highly-touted debut novel. But she works such wonders with the idea, creating a taut, gripping novel with an instantly likable main character and an expertly built sense of horror, I was won over in a flash.

The plot of In the After is easily summarized: when alien creatures overrun the planet and decimate the human population in a matter of days, the main character, teenager Amy, is one of the few survivors. She quickly develops the skills to keep herself alive in an utterly changed world: moving silently so the creatures can’t hear her, raiding homes and stores for supplies, trusting no one she meets. But then she finds the orphaned toddler she names Baby, and the two form an instant bond. As Amy puts it: “Baby didn’t just become my family, she became my entire world.” Until, that is, Amy learns that something else has survived the alien assault--something that may be even more deadly than the creatures themselves.

Lunetta writes with confidence, constructing tight, spare sentences that move the reader quickly through the action. Her characters are wonderful singly, and the relationships between them--especially between Amy and Baby, who develop a private sign language so they can communicate without the creatures hearing them--are touchingly rendered. If there’s any misstep in In the After, it’s the revelation of the creatures’ origin, which did seem to me a bit on the overused side. (I also found the ending a touch inconclusive, though I know it sets up a sequel.) But neither of these minor quibbles interfered significantly with my enjoyment of the whole.

So the next time you see a little green man, my advice would be to run and hide. Quietly. If it’s anything like the monsters from In the After, you don’t want it to find you.


  1. Sounds like good, creepy postapocalyptic fun.

  2. "Creepy" is the word for it! ("Good" too!)

  3. Creepy but not scary, right? I'm a chicken... ;)

    1. I wouldn't say it's scary. It's not horror--minimal gore, nothing jumping out of closets, etc. Just a sustained creepiness in tone.

    2. Ok. If I get scared, I blame you! ;)