Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…
And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.
Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…
Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race... (From Goodreads)
Best Bits: The twists! The suspense! The fact that this book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning on a work night... I really enjoyed the premise of The Farm. It's a mix between a zombie apocalypse and a vampire story, and it felt really fresh. It doesn't romanticize vampirism (which YA tends to do), and it's full of surprises. I think it takes a lot of skill to write a YA without falling prey to the some of the most common tropes and of the genre (tropes are really common plot points/character situations. They're not bad in general, but when it comes to vampires there are a lot of things that I can't read anymore). McKay avoided that. There's no tired love triangle, no insta-love because the characters new each other before the Ticks came into existence, and the danger is real. I wasn't prepared for the paranormal aspect of the book (beyond the ticks), and I can't give away what that is for fear of spoiling you, but let me just say that I was pleasantly surprised. I also really enjoyed the characters. With the exception of a couple of Lily's actions, I was rooting for her and Mel to get the heck off of the Farm.
Nit Picks: I only have one for The Farm, and it is related to the relationship between Lily and Carter. It's not the relationship itself that I have a problem with. In fact, I actually enjoyed the way that played out in the story (it wasn't insta-love). My issue is that Lily tended to put everyone in danger when Carter wasn't safe. During the first half of the book she's so focused on the safety of her sister that I was surprised that she would risk the lives of the group waiting for Carter.
By Emily McKay
Published by Berkley Trade