Faye Keller­man and Aliza Kellerman
  • Review
By – November 2, 2011
Teenag­er Kai­da Hutchen­son and two school acquain­tances are strand­ed in the desert fol­low­ing a car acci­dent dur­ing a class trip to the Carls­bad Cav­erns. The teens awak­en in a par­al­lel uni­verse, ten days before their acci­dent. What ini­tial­ly looks like home turns out to be a soci­ety where med­ical care has nev­er devel­oped. Instead, peo­ple believe, The weak die out, leav­ing the strong to live and prop­a­gate.” The book moves along at a quick pace, with the heroes strug­gling to make sense of this new world as they find them­selves increas­ing­ly in dan­ger. Along with the nail-bit­ing action sequences, the nov­el explores the devel­op­ing rela­tion­ships between the teenagers, who had trav­eled in dif­fer­ent high school cliques before being thrust togeth­er. More impor­tant­ly, it forces read­ers to ques­tion their own assump­tions about how health care is pro­vid­ed or rationed in our own soci­ety. The nov­el is co-authored by best­selling writer Faye Keller­man and her six­teen-year-old daugh­ter Aliza. How­ev­er, long time fans of Faye Kellerman’s mys­ter­ies may be dis­ap­point­ed, as this book is a depar­ture from her usu­al fare. There is no obvi­ous Jew­ish con­tent to the book. But, the eth­i­cal issues it rais­es would be excel­lent top­ics for dis­cus­sion with Jew­ish youths either in school or in infor­mal edu­ca­tion­al set­tings. In addi­tion, Aliza’s accom­plish­ment of cre­at­ing this impres­sive debut nov­el can serve as an inspi­ra­tion for oth­er teens that enjoy writ­ing. It is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed for young adult read­ers, espe­cial­ly fans of sci­ence fic­tion or time trav­el. Ages 12 and up.
Hillary Zana has a BA and teach­ing cre­den­tial from Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty. She was a day school librar­i­an for many years and has writ­ten many Hebrew text­books avail­able through Behrman House Pub­lish­ers. She cur­rent­ly teach­es Eng­lish and his­to­ry in the Los Ange­les pub­lic school sys­tem and is a Nation­al Cer­ti­fied teacher.

Discussion Questions