If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t look like Bear Grylls. While my smaller proportions will certainly aid in successfully finding a foxhole to hide in, my survival skills are next to nil. Which means that this December (2012) I am SCREWED. Zombies, tsunamis, earthquakes, aliens, meteors, pandemic, nuclear warfare, the Rapture, what-have-you, the world is going to end (maybe) and I am ill-equipped. Well, I would be — if this handy-dandy list of apocalypse novels wasn’t here to study. What? That’s right. I’m going to save your life. And you don’t even have to watch all 23 episodes of Survivorman. Instead, just take a visit to your local library. It’s never too early to prepare for the end of the world as we know it — and at least this way you won’t die of boredom.
LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Be ready for a meteor on the moon — pushing the Big Luna closer to Earth. Tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, sickness, starvation, power outages and more… you’ll get them all in this teenage girl’s diary of DISASTER. Learn how frail the balance of nature really is in Miranda’s desperate struggle for survival. If you liked this one, be sure to check out the rest of the trilogy.
PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
A plague has been circulating in nineteenth century England, raising the dead from their graves. The Black Un-Death. With a tale so outrageous from Austen’s prude classic, INCLUDING HOW-TO ILLUSTRATIONS, I promise you will learn how to handle an onslaught of brain-seeking zombies with as little as one dagger, and perhaps find a love interest on the side. WARNING: Take in small doses or risk premature death by laughter (especially if you’ve read the original).
THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO by Patrick Ness
*Gasp* — what if life on Earth gets SO BAD, we emigrate to another planet??? Instead of an alien invasion, what if WE invade the aliens? What if it gets even WORSE, so that warfare and sickness kill off most of the population (including every single woman)? Hear the story of Todd, the last boy in Prentisstown, in a place where every man can listen in on your thoughts, and his discoveries about the world he thought he knew. And, of course, his intense story of survival when those discoveries turn fatal. Seriously– if you consider reading any of these books MAKE IT THIS ONE. This is the Book of Never Letting Go by the time you reach the end — but don’t worry. There are two more.
LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
C’mon, a classic! It doesn’t get much more survival than this, with a troop of boys stuck on an island. Forming tribes, building shelters, foraging in forests, hunting pigs, a conch shell. Everything need-to-know. Plus, if you pay close attention, you’ll learn some important themes about humanity and read the word “blood” rather frequently.
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
But of course. I’m assuming most of you have read this, but if not you should get on it — the movie comes out next month (thankfully well before the scheduled apocalypse). A dystopian tale of America after a destructive war. Above the ruins, humanity continues under 13 districts. As a demonstration of power, the Capital selects 2 children from each district to compete in an arena — in a fight to the death. Bestselling for a pretty good reason.
Best of luck to you and yours this December. I trust the above material leaves you well prepared. Plus, if you talk to me about them, I might just let you in my foxhole to share my can of beans. Any/all with said books in hand will be invited.
— Maddie, 15, Teen Center Advisor