The Other Life

The Other Life

by Susanne Winnacker


3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life.
Sherry and her family have lived sealed in a bunker in the garden since things went wrong up above. Her grandfather has been in the freezer for the last three months, her parents are at each other’s throats and two minutes ago they ran out of food.
Sherry and her father leave the safety of the bunker and find a devastated and empty LA, smashed to pieces by bombs and haunted by ‘Weepers’ – rabid humans infected with a weaponized rabies virus.
While searching for food in a supermarket, Sherry’s father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a boy-hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a tumble-down vineyard in the hills outside LA, where a handful of other survivors are picking up the pieces of their ‘other lives’. As she falls in love for the first time, Sherry must save her father, stay alive and keep Joshua safe when his desire for vengeance threatens them all.

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Book #1 in Series

“Danger is not the only thing that makes your heart beat faster”

Such a lovely read! There were so many things I loved about this story that I don’t even know with what to start.

The Title:
There is this big gap between this life and the other life.
This life is one of hiding, of trying to survive, of fighting monsters, of not knowing if tomorrow will ever come for you, not knowing if your family will be safe, if you’ll be able to keep them alive. This is a life full of death.
The other life has been so easy, so beautiful, so full of color, and joy, with so many things to enjoy and so little to worry. The other life has been so full of.. life.

The (UK) cover:
…it’s simple, and perfect, and it tells so much about the story, you only have to listen to it, to really watch it.
I must confess that I’ve misread it – it gave me the feeling that the story might be about some concentration camps or something similar (this reminds me that I still need to read ‘Between Shades of Gray’), but in fact this is a light dystopian story about – among other things – zombies. I’m starting to like these creatures (in a ‘like to read about them’ kind of way).

“3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life.”
“98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world. Imprisoned us.”
“Only 2 minutes since we’d run out of food.”

The writing:
I loved the ‘rhythm’ of this story, not sure if you understand what I mean. It was like watching it unfold on high speed. I liked the suspense, the way the chapters ended in little cliffhangers followed by a short scene from the other life revealing how easy and worry free life has been only 3 years ago. It’s speeding up and then slowing down for just a page, enough for you to catch your breath and then keep running through the book, not wanting to get to the ending, but unable to put it down.

Every member of our little group was haunted by memories of their past, but we never talked about it. The future was scary enough. We didn’t need the past to worry about.

The characters:
They all had something to add to the story.

From the dead grandfather, kept in the fridge, that gave Sherry so many great surviving advices while being alive (during the other life).

  • To the grandmother, lost in her inside world, that made everyone insane with her obsessive knitting.
  • To the desperate mother that doesn’t know how to cope with the situation they’ve got into.
  • To the father that would risk his life for his family, because he doesn’t have any other choice.
  • To the little brother that wants to be considered a little man.
  • To the innocent little sister that doen’t know how this world has changed and doesn’t understand it.
  • To the group of survivors from Safe-Heaven that have their own story to tell – from this life and the other one as well.

…I left the best for last: Sherry and Joshua.

“Joshua shook his head like a wet dog, sending droplets of water flying my way. I threw up my hands to shield myself.
“I thought you liked rain.” His cheeky grin made me want to punch him. I tried to hide my smile.”

Sherry is just a kid, but she has to grow up fast. She needs to save her father and take care of her family. I could see her change – how she became stronger, how the courage started to flow through her veins, how she didn’t want to be part of this world but didn’t have a choice but to face all these horrors, how she loved the life before (with her only biggest worry being her first crush; with her best friend always by her side; having a happy, caring family; enjoying little/silly things like rain, and sweets, and clothes; etc).
I liked how she was attracted to Joshua from the beginning, but how her feelings started to grow slowly from gratitude, to caring about his safety, and finally to loving him.

Joshua had as well a tragical destiny. He’s lost everyone and he only cared about destroying the monsters that took away his other life. He needs to love and be loved, he needs a reason to keep going, other than revenge. He is a bit reckless, but he has a great heart and everything he does it is because he cares.

Our kiss tasted of blood and tears. Of rain and dirt. Of pain and relief. But more than anything, it was a promise. An oath to never let anything happen to the other.

Now, I had some problems (but they didn’t interfere with my rating):

1. The book was so damn short! I need more!!!

2. The fact that these 2 kids are risking their lives fighting monsters while the adults stay in hiding, and then when there are decisions to be made the adults have their own ‘private talk’ and don’t even bother asking ‘the kids’ for their opinion.

3. Sherry’s mother keeping an eye on Sherry and Joshua. Dear I-don’t-remember-your-name, I understand that your daughter is only 15, but when she was away for 3 days with this boy saving your husband’s a$$ you didn’t care, or did you? You’re not concerned about her dying, slaughtered by monsters or turned into one, but you are concerned about her getting pregnant on your watch – give me a break.. are you kidding me?!

All in one – I loved this story, the pacing, the characters, and I really hope that you will love it as well.

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4 responses to “The Other Life”

  1. Lisa O. says:

    awesome review! I just got this book too and now i am very eager to read it! thanks!

    Lisa O. @ The Nocturnal Library

    • Ari says:

      Thanks, Lisa, I hope you’ll enjoy it as well. It felt a bit short though, I can’t wait to read the next book 🙂

  2. Esha@ Redaholicme says:

    I really really liked this book. I can’t wait for the next one!
    Great review!

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