THE FARM by Emily McKay

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Life for Lily and her twin sister, Mel, has irrevocably changed. A viral outbreak has left much of the country’s population infected, mutated into creatures driven by bloodlust. They call them Ticks. And nothing is as tasty to a Tick as the hormonal blood of teens. The so-called solution was the creation of the Farms – facilities built to house and protect the nation’s teenage population. But Lily knows this is far from the truth. Instead of protecting the kids, the Farms collect and dole out their blood as food for the Ticks.

At least within the walls of the Farm there’s some semblance of protection, though. The biggest fear is what happens when you turn eighteen. No one is sure and Lily isn’t going to wait around to find out. Lily has a plan to get her and her sister out of the Farm, but the arrival of an acquaintance from Before throws a wrench in her plan before she can even begin.

Carter says he can help. He says he’s been on the outside. But Carter is hiding something and Lily isn’t sure that she can trust him.

The Farm is fabulous! McKay wonderfully builds a post outbreak end of the world scenario – with vampires that don’t sparkle. Seriously, these are brutal and violent beasts and McKay doesn’t shy away from making that undeniably clear.

The world building alone is quite admirable. There’s a believable explanation behind the virus and its consequences. The Farms, the Before, and the outside world are all vividly clear as is the atmosphere of fear and ruthlessness that Lily lives in. But what’s best about this book is Mel. Mel is autistic and McKay really does a phenomenal job giving voice to her character. She’s one of the most unique narrators I’ve ever read.

The Farm is the first in this dark teen series. Books two and three, The Lair and The Vault, are both out now as well.

12/14 Becky LeJeune

THE FARM by Emily McKay. Berkley Trade (December 4, 2012). ISBN: 978-0425257807. 432p.

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