Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

by Frankie

After an electromagnetic pulse explodes through the air of America, and possibly the entire world, everything is different. Anything electronic no longer works: phones, cars, and yes, even coffee pots. Billions are dead on the spot. Oh, and nearly every teenager has been changed into a man-eating zombie.

Alex, one of the few teenagers still eating people food and not people as food, has even changed. While once affected by a brain tumor that took her sense of smell, now it seems everything has been turned around. She can smell things that are miles away, including the brain-zapped kids, and sense emotions, fear, and lies on the people around her.

As the zap happened, Alex was camping alone in the middle of the mountains. She’d only recently met Ellie, a nine year old girl with the attitude of a sixteen year old, and Ellie’s grandpa, who were also camping. While her grandfather dies on the spot, Ellie is still very much alive and left with just Alex. Although they’ve only known each other for a few hours, Alex and Ellie are left to team up, against both of their wills.

They later meet Tom, an American soldier, and together the three form a team. They’re almost more like a family. Together they try to figure out the details of the zap – what caused it, what exactly the effects are, and why only some kids changed. Obviously, they’re also trying to stay away from the brain-zapped, and, of course, trying to survive. But just as they seem to finally be settling into life after the zap, everything changes again, and Alex is left with even more questions.

My first reaction to Ashes was the very fangirly statement: Oh. My. God. The book is amazing. It is fantastic. It is wonderful. It is my dream book. It is one of the best things I’ve ever read.

I’d like to say that no matter who you are, you would enjoy Ashes and should go buy it immediately. It is amazingly written with fantastic detail and plot twists that even I, Queen of Predictions (Snape was good all along. Guessed it.), could not predict. I even give Ashes a 4.5 out of 5 stars, something I don’t do often. However, I cannot just threaten to slap you with a raw fish if you don’t read this book –  some of you, I know, won’t like it.

If you are a Justin Bieber fangirl,  a Twilight addict, or a romance-craving teenage girl (or even guy, nothing wrong with that), this book just might kill you. It’s gory and violent, and if it were a video game, it’d be rated M for Mature because there would be blood on every corner of your screen. And not the fire truck red blotches you get from shooting a deer. No. I mean the real stuff.

BUT. If you like action and adventure, violence, gore, and, of course, blood, then I can only say one thing. READ IT. Go to the store and pick Ashes up off the shelf and read as you’re waiting to check out. Or else I will find where you live, come to your house, and slap you with a raw fish.


Frankie, or “thefrankie,” has been called weird but thinks original is a much better word. She’s fourteen, and (obviously) a writer. She’s been telling stories since she was three, writing since she first learned to, and wanting to be an author since Kindergarten. Her other hobbies are running, playing handbells, singing loudly off-key, taking pictures of exploded fruits (exploded watermelons are actually very cool), playing with play-doh, and hanging out on figment! 

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