Josh is fifteen, lives in the small town of Prosser, Washington State with his dad, mom and elderly dog. He’s got a girlfriend, friends and it’s normal for his mom to be out of town on business. A big black sphere appearing above his neighbor’s house that shoots a beam that makes anyone it comes in contact with disappear is not normal. Alone with his dad and dog, Josh’s sixteenth birthday passes without notice as food runs out, electricity shuts off, and water becomes a limited resource. His house is a prison and the guards outside show no signs of leaving.
Megs is twelve, stuck in a parking lot of a Los Angels, California. Left waiting in the car as her mother ventures out for a ‘job interview’ Megs witnesses mass chaos of people fleeing their cars only to disappear by a beam of light as they try to escape outside. Her mother won’t be returning. As Megs makes her home among the dead and abandoned cars she hides from the ruthless male leaders that have taken over the adjoining hotel. Resourceful and cunning, Megs learns that there are others that need her help. The world may be ending but her humanity hasn’t given up.
I read POD in a single day. Spread out over a couple of hours I couldn’t put the book down. The alternating chapters between the characters really kept me interested. Coming from Washington State myself it was a joy to learn about smaller towns that I didn’t know existed. Simple and thrilling Wallenfels knows how to get readers to keep reading. I’d rate this book for older teen readers, because there is some sadness and unfair events that take place. Wallenfels doesn’t skimp on showing the cruelty that humanity endures and creates.
The only problems I had was honestly with the language, as I read a UK edition it came off not genuine that characters from my State said ‘pavement’ ‘boot’ and ‘car park’. It’s a little thing but it causes the prose to come off fake. This is a book written with settings in the USA, we don’t say those words and that’s why I couldn’t give the book five stars. There are also a few aspects that are a bit cliché, reminiscent of World of the Worlds and even The Walking Dead when concerning men who think they deserve all the power. Regardless, the strength of Megs is astounding and even though Josh is a bit of a wiry teen he shows growth that made me glad I picked up the book in the first place. I wish Wallenfels would write another book about what happens after the end of this one. No one ever writes about the aftermath.