17-year-old Sophie lies on her deathbed in California, awaiting the inevitable loss of her battle with cancer…
17-year-old Declan stares down two armed thugs in a back alley in Galway, Ireland…
17-year-old Anat attempts to traverse a booby-trapped tunnel between Israel and Egypt…
All three strangers should have died at the exact same moment, thousands of miles apart. Instead, they awaken together in an abandoned hospital—only to discover that they’re not alone. Three other teens from different places on the globe are trapped with them. Somebody or something seems to be pulling the strings. With their individual clocks ticking, they must band together if they’re to have any hope of surviving.
Soon they discover that they've been trapped in a future that isn't of their making: a deadly, desolate world at once entirely familiar and utterly strange. Each teen harbors a secret, but only one holds the key that could get them home. As the truth comes to light Sophie, Declan, Anat, and the rest must decide what to do with a second chance at life—if they can survive to claim it.
The first half of Gagnon's (Don't Turn Around) thriller is well-executed survivalist horror endured by six teens trapped in a hospital-like bunker. They come from every point on the globe: cancer-stricken Sophie from California, petty thief Declan from Ireland, military trainee Anat from Israel, hiker Nico from Switzerland, shy Yosh from Japan, and studious Zain from India. Suspicious, confused, and desperate, they draw together to crack the bunker and figure out why they are there; escaping proves easier than solving the second mystery. Though they deduce that all of them were in near-death situations prior to awakening in the bunker, no reasonable theory exists for how they were transported there and why they are still alive. The second half of the story pivots from the engrossing characters and building suspense to the unraveling of their questions, and Gagnon's mastery of the narrative falters somewhat. The action remains pulse-pounding, but some readers may find the SF explanation underlying the adventure to be a letdown after the skillful buildup that precedes it. Ages 14 up.