Author: Alexandra Oliva
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date of publication: July 2016
Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva’s fast-paced novel of suspense.
She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.
It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.
Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.
But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.
I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It definitely sucked me right in. It's told through alternating time lines between what happened on the reality show and what happened after the world went to hell. I liked both parts, but I liked the after parts with Zoo's travels into the world beyond and into insanity the most. I could understand her struggle to know what was real and what wasn't. Her descent into madness was kind of frightening yet realistic.
One of the things that I also liked was how the reality show contestants were "labeled". It actually made them easier to keep track of than it would have if they had had real names. I had read that some people didn't like that, but I found it helpful. My only complaint was the ending. I thought it was a bit abrupt and would have liked more of a resolution. I do recommend this one. It was unique idea and one worth reading.
I also really enjoyed this book. I thought the premise was really interesting and one of a kind. The fact that you couldn't really tell what was real or not was kind of fun. Zoo was the narrator so as the reader we could only go on what she thought or felt.
I'm surprised that people would be complaining about the labeling of the contestants. That made it so much easier to keep everyone straight. They were all kind of stereotypical of their "names". Plus, that's pretty much what they do in real reality shows.
I've been telling anyone that would listen about this book, so I definitely recommend this book!