August 7, 2013

Review of Half Lives by Sara Grant


I learned that surviving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you survive, you’ve got to live with the guilt, and that’s more difficult than looking someone in the eye and pulling the trigger. Trust me. I’ve done both. Killing takes a twitch of the finger. Absolution takes several lifetimes.

Seventeen-year-old Icie’s parents have given her $10,000 in cash, a map of a top-secret bunker, and instructions to get there by any means necessary. They have news of an imminent viral attack and know that the bunker is Icie’s only hope for survival. Along with three other teens, she lives locked away for months, not knowing what’s happening in the outside world or who has survived. And are they safe in the bunker after all?
Generations in the future, a mysterious cult worships the very mountain where Icie’s secret bunker was built. They never leave the mountain, they’re ruled by a teenager…and they have surprising ties to Icie.
This high-stakes, original, and thought-provoking adventure from Sara Grant follows two unlikely heroes, hundreds of years apart, as they fight to survive.

add to goodreadsHalf Lives by Sara Grant
Publication Date:  July 9, 2013
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Available for Purchase:

I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!
[embedplusvideo height=”267″ width=”425″ editlink=”” standard=”″ vars=”ytid=OJNnZy9yTJ0&width=425&height=267&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep1711″ /]

** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby NewHalf Lives by author Sarah Grant was one of those reads that sounded interesting and like it would keep you wondering until the very end. A novel that tells two sides to the end of the world, one taking place during and the other taking place long after? Count me right in! By the time I started reading Half Lives and finished the first chapter I found myself going “whoa that was seriously awesome” and absolutely had to keep on reading.

Half Lives is two stories. The first being that of main character Icie/Isis whose parents work for the government. When they send her a text telling her to come home ASAP she has a belt with $10,00 in cash strapped to her body and is sent to the airport, straight to Las Vegas and to a mountain that will keep her safe. Why are her parents doing this? Because they know about a top secret biological weapon that has been released and will eradicate the human race. Icie finds herself on her own, on her way to the mountain with a small band of survivors as they look for the mountain’s bunker in hopes of surviving the end of the world.

The second story told in Half Lives takes place decades and decades later, the world is left in ruins and a small cult that follows the teachings of the Great I AM guard the mountain and bunker that Icie was hiding in. This small group of survivors fights off against Terrorists and hope to pass on the Great I AM’s will and find peace and enlightenment. When their leader, the Cheer Captain Beckett, meets a girl named Greta he uncovers the truth about Icie’s journey, who the Great I AM is and what the teachings his cult has been following are really about.

What I really liked about Half Lives was getting to see the apocalypse as it unfolds and also gets dystopic and tells us what happens after. I really liked that but did have my worries. What if I didn’t like both casts of characters in both stories? What if I didn’t like one of the main characters as much as I did the other? Or what if I didn’t like both stories equally? Honestly I had nothing to worry about because both stories were equally good and equally fast paced. I was really impressed by the pacing used in Half Lives, it kept me on the edge of my seat and had me very excited to continue reading.

The characters in Half Lives were ones that I easily got attached to. I fell in love with Icie and the three survivors she bands together with, at the same time I also really liked Becket, Greta, Harper and Finch (despite him turning out to be cray). Personally I think that the characters used in Icie’s story are ones that will relate more to teen readers and will also make it easier for them to think of the characters are real because they are all very realistic. Plus by the time Icie’s group reaches the bunker there’s so much drama and *spoiler, spoiler, spoiler*.

Half Lives stirred up a lot of emotions in me. Throughout the story I would be reading and when the story would reach a part that questioned the character’s humanity or got really dark, I could feel it in my stomach and got so into the story. I cried, I laughed and I got terrified for every single character. By the time the novel reached its conclusion I was cried out, still surprised at the ending and also glad that it tied up almost every single loose end.

I would recommend Half Lives to readers who are fans of dystopia, want a read that shows the before/after of the apocalypse and readers who are looking for a story that revolves around survival.



She loves everything about books – writing, editing and reading them. She has a brain full of story ideas and a bookcase overflowing with books. She also adores visiting schools, libraries and bookshops and sharing her passion for stories. As a senior commissioning editor for Working Partners, a London-based company creating series fiction for children, Sara worked on twelve different series and edited nearly 100 books. She writes books for both children and teens. Dark Parties, her first young adult novel, won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for Europe. Her next novel for teens is titled Half Lives and will be published in May 2013. And the first four books in Sara’s new series for young readers – Magic Trix – will be published in 2013.

Sara was born and raised in Washington, Indiana, a small town in the Midwestern United States. She graduated from Indiana University with degrees in journalism and psychology, and later she earned a master’s degree in creative and life writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She lives in London.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Goodreads



  1. Wow, I wasn’t really familiar with this book, and I’m so glad I read your review! I want to run out and get a copy right away. It sounds pretty original…thanks for such a thoughtful review:)

  2. Thanks for stopping by! You definitely want to check this read out, it’s such an emotional rollercoaster– I loved it :)


  3. kimbacaffeinate

    The world building in this sounds awesome, and I love that you get to watch things unfold and experience the aftermath..great review!

  4. I hope you get to read it soon I’m curious to see what you would think of it :)


  5. This one sounds interesting! I liked her other book also. Another book to add to my list to read. If only I did not have to work, I could read everything I have ever wanted to read.

  6. This is such a great read, hopefully you get to check it out soon it’s definitely worth checking out :)

    – Gabby

Leave a comment

Your comments make us smile!