Book Review: THE LIVING by Matt de la Peña

Photo credit: Goodreads
So this was a really fun read. 

I do happen to love my YA full of action and intensity and The Living definitely met those expectations. But before I go on, here’s the Goodreads summary:
“Shy took the summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he'll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two—every cruise has different passengers, after all. 
But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy's only weeks out at sea when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed. 
The earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it's a fight to survive for those left living.” 
So, yeah, this was pretty much as intense as it sounds. I’ve heard people say this is like a YA Lost without the smoke monster weirdness, and it definitely has that vibe, though I think it reminded me more of I Shouldn’t Be Alive for YA. Either way, The Living is a super interesting read.

Something I appreciated was the incidental diversity. Shy is (half?) Mexican American and many of the important side characters have diverse racial backgrounds, which was really nice to see. And while there are absolutely some themes of race and class coming into play, The Living doesn’t read as an issue book (and it’s not supposed to), and overall, I think it was very nicely handled.

I will say that the ending was kind of predictable and the confrontation between Shy and a particular baddie was, shall we say, a teensie bit evil bad guy Hollywood cliché? Also, there was a thing with super aggressive sharks that I wasn’t totally buying, but the issues were minor and I still definitely enjoyed reading. Now The Hunted just has to come out so I can find out what happens. *frets*

I’m giving The Living 4/5 stars and I recommend it to those who enjoy fast-paced, Adventure/Disaster-type books.

Have you read anything good lately? I’m always open to recommendations (especially YA & NA)! 

Twitter-sized bites: 
.@Ava_Jae gives 4/5 stars to THE LIVING by Matt de la Peña. Have you read this intense YA Adventure? (Click to tweet)   
Looking for a fast-paced, intense YA read with high stakes and a diverse cast? Try THE LIVING by @mattdelapena. (Click to tweet)

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