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I put the Netflix adaptation on while I was cleaning a while ago so when I saw this at the library, I was interested in reading it. Although I do want to rewatch it because I really don't remember much of it (downside of cleaning with the TV on).
I have mixed feelings about this one. Overall, I enjoyed the story and I can see the attempt made, but some things just didn't work out that well in my opinion.
The overall premise isn't that new. Monsters, zombies, apocalypse. It was interesting to see a kid's perspective and the conflict between having a great time like living in a video game and fearing for one's life and survival.
I found the main character kind of annoying and pretty much everything wrong with the book centers around him. His whole obsession with June (the only female character) was eye-rolling and predictable. He views rescuing her as a conquest and won't give up, even when she explicitly tells him she does not want to go with him. This part made me uncomfortable because it felt like it was promoting not listening to what women/girls actually want and men/boys knowing what's best for them. It was creepy. I can understand what was supposed to be happening, but the dense male perspective made my skin crawl. I like that they made June a strong character and all, but looking back, it feels more like a shallow attempt at presenting her as an independent character that is not followed through with. She doesn't really do anything in the book besides serve as motivation for Jack.
There is a lot of monster fighting, cool inventions, and silly antics. The plot is fast-paced and dynamic. The illustrations also work very well with the text. Brallier and Holgate make a great team in producing an awesome mix of narration and illustrations.
However, the whole June thing just left me feeling icky. Poor girl did not get written in the way she deserved. I am slightly interested in reading the next book to see how things progress (mostly to see if June gets some better representation later). Will probably check out at the library at some point. This series has potential but I am not liking its messages about boy-girl dynamics.