Stories in Amber...Captured in Time
"This unusual and affecting story ties the lives of five completely different teens together through the transplant donations of one who dies.
The five teens are Jessica, a shy girl with a wealthy socialite mother; Sam, a boy who believes in miracles and spends his life blogging; Vivian, a talented artist with no social life; Leif, a football star with demanding, famous-athlete parents; and Misty, a girl from a poor, immigrant family. Four of them will receive the organs of one who dies. The ghostly donor, always watching each recipient but unable to communicate with him or her, narrates the story as the four surviving teens move toward one another and, eventually, toward the memory of the donor. At last, when one recipient appears to be in serious danger, the rest work together in an effort to help. Kizer keeps her focus on the difficult choices each character faces while effectively penning attractive, three-dimensional portraits of each. If the parents remain somewhat flat, each teen comes across as a realistic, unique individual whom readers will care for. Each has a different choice to make as well: Who will stand up to their parents? Who will reach out to others? And how will the narrator, the dead character, come to peace with death?
Different, sensitive and emotional, as well as an effective argument for organ donation. (Paranormal fiction. 12 & up)"
Reviews and blog tour stops:
“Intense, realistic, and entirely believable, A Matter of Days
took my breath away. Amber Kizer does post-apocalyptic in the most
beautifully understated way and makes a disturbing pandemic and the
world created in its aftermath feel absolutely plausible…Given my rough
history with post-apocalyptic fiction, I was afraid A Matter of Days
might fall into the "enjoyable, but average" category. The truth is
this novel impressed me in ways I didn't l know I needed to be
impressed, namely making regular people shaped by tragedy and
desperation the heroes, the victims and the villains of the same tale.” -Susan
Jen Robinson's Book Page
am a long-time fan of post-apocalyptic survival stories. I particularly
enjoy those that are straight-up survival stories, with no zombies,
magic, etc. And I'm happy to say that Amber Kizer's upcoming A Matter of Days delivers. It has the attributes that I love most about Stephen King's The Stand (which I re-read every few years), without all the weird stuff. I was not surprised to learn, in an end note, that The Stand was a formative book for Kizer. The homage is there, in a way that's not derivative… For me, A Matter of Days
is as good as it gets for post-apocalypse survival stories. Realistic
and suspenseful, with characters that the reader wants to see succeed.
And although I loved it, I'm still happy to report that A Matter of Days appears to be a standalone novel, a rare thing these days. A Matter of Days has my highest recommendation. Fans of the genre will not want to miss it.” -Jen Robinson’s Book Page
“What I loved immediately about this story was how fast I got sucked into it. It starts off with a pretty significant event, which sets the stage for rest of the book. I fell in love with Nadia’s little brother, Rabbit… I was a fan of A Matter of Days and am looking forward to reading more from Amber Kizer.” -Tara
is at a suitable reading level for upper-middle-grade readers. For the
most part, it is a clean read with only a couple instances of language. I
like how the story ends on a note of hope, leaving much of the after to
the reader's imagination. What this story is about is the journey. Much
like The Giver, once the characters have reached their end-goal,
the story leaves it to our imagination to think about where the
characters will go in the future. (Though A Matter of Days has a little bit more of a resolution than The Giver.) I recommend this to those looking for a good, clean post-apocalyptic read.” -Kris
Jean Book Nerd Review:
"The following titles have been reviewed in the May 13, 2013 issue of Publishers Weekly
A Matter of Days
Amber Kizer. Delacorte, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-73973-3
This fun read from Kizer (the Meridian trilogy) pushes it with a few plot points but still results in an exciting apocalyptic road trip. A few months ago, Nadia and Rabbit’s military doctor uncle, Bean, visited them and insisted on injecting them with a vaccine for a “new bug.” Not long afterward, the disease XRD TB—nicknamed “BluStar” after its physical side effects—starts ravaging the world, and 16-year-old Nadia and 11-year-old Rabbit are the only survivors in their entire town. With the assorted survival gear their uncle ordered for them, they attempt to make their way from their Seattle suburb to their grandfather in West Virginia. They meet a handful of survivors on the way, most notably a teen from Los Angeles named Zack, and also adopt a pair of animals. Most of their journey is Post-Apocalypse 101—being disgusted by corpses, looting dark buildings, learning other survivors might rob them—and the experimental cure/survivalist setup is a tad forced, but, on the whole, Kizer’s story is solidly told. Ages 12–up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (June)"
"The following titles have been reviewed in the April 15, 2013 issue of Kirkus Reviews (circ: 1,718):
A MATTER OF DAYSAuthor: Amber Kizer
Online Publish Date: March 27, 2013
Price ( Hardcover ): $16.99
Price ( Library Ed ): $19.99
Price ( e-book ): $10.99
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-385-73973-3
ISBN ( Library Ed ): 978-0-385-90804-7
ISBN ( e-book ): 978-0-375-89825-9
Two siblings make their way across an America devastated by a killer pandemic. After the death of their mother and pretty much the entire city of Seattle, Nadia and Rabbit decide to travel across the country to reach their grandfather and uncle in West Virginia. They pass through a world where the weaponized BluStar virus has killed practically everyone, leaving bodies rotting in the streets. As they travel, they discover that the very few other survivors can be savage and are serious threats in a world with no law or order. However, there are unexpected kindly allies too. Alliances formed with those they meet and the ability to manage in a world with no electricity or media are critical. Fighting to survive, these siblings heed the advice their Marine father gave them before dying in Afghanistan: to “[b]e the cockroach, not the orchid.” The trip from Washington to the Mississippi is a long and detailed one, comprising more than three-quarters of the book, but then events compress. There’s a cute boy, a dog that needs rescuing and fortuitous caches of supplies at regular intervals along the trek. Despite these clichés, the narrative is engaging and the characters believably portrayed. This post-apocalyptic tale is particularly frightening as it doesn’t take place in some distant, imagined future. A solid, realistically imagined survival tale with a strong female protagonist. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 11-16)"
"The following titles have been reviewed in the June 2013 issue of School Library Journal (circ: 30,000):
KIZER, Amber. A Matter of Days. 288p. Delacorte. June 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73973-3; PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90804-7; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-89825-9.
Gr 8 Up–Few have survived the BluStar plague. This book opens on Day 56, when Nadia pulls a quilt over her dead mother and helps her younger brother finish packing the Jeep so they can hit the road. Nadia isn’t quite old enough to drive, but since the virus has killed almost everyone in the world, traffic isn’t a problem. They plan to drive from Washington state to West Virginia, where relatives may still be alive. Nadia and Rabbit are somewhat prepared, thanks to their soldier father (who was killed in Afghanistan) and their uncle, a military doctor who encouraged them to play first-person-shooter video games and purchased camping gear for them. They are smart about how to scavenge gasoline and food and sniff out safe places to sleep. They adopt an injured dog and join forces with Zack, a streetwise older teen they meet on the way. This is a first-rate survival story, as the travelers use their wits to negotiate shopping malls, abandoned railroad stations, and deserted towns. Occasional violence and a few four letter words make the likely audience a little older than readers of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s “The Last Survivors” series (Harcourt). Fans of Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave (Putnam, 2013), S. D. Crockett’s After the Snow (Feiwel & Friends, 2012), or Cormac McCarthy’s adult novel The Road (Knopf, 2006) will find this a satisfying read. The plot tension is excellent, with just the right pacing of desperately needing something and finding, stealing, or making it. The story comes to a satisfying conclusion on Day 100, while leaving the door open for a sequel.–Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX"