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By Robert C. A powerful post-apocalyptic novel in which nuclear war has devastated America. O'Brien is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first. Ann Burden has been living alone in a valley for over a year - until Loomis, a scientist in a radiation-proof suit, arrives. She hopes they will be companions but his behaviour towards her becomes increasingly threatening as he attacks her and then cuts off her food supply and tries to bring her under his control. Although there may be no one else alive, Ann steals his suit and leaves the valley in search of humanity.

Is it pure queasiness? It's never explained. Ann never even thinks about shooting this guy. When she considers using her weapon at all, she aims at the dog. In one way, it was a relief that Mr. Loomis turned out to be a total waste of space. He was incredibly paternalistic and condescending from day one, and I was worried that this was just because the novel was written in the early '70s and he's a grown man and she's just a teenaged girl and isn't it kind of cute the way he knows more than she does about all kinds of things?

But no -- he's a full-fledged bastard, and we've had hints of this from the start. But yeah, I'm pretty peeved that a first-person narrative would leave so little sense of the young woman who's supposedly telling her own story.

View all 10 comments. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I thought the book was pretty bad. I did not like how the story was told. I thought that Ann was really really really weird. I think she should have killed Mr. Loomis and then killed herself because there was nobody left on earth besides them two.

My Loomis should have been dead right away when Ann saved him, I wanted Ann to shoot him, and so the book could have at least been good. I do not recommend this book to other readers, unless you want to read a very very very boring book that made no se I thought the book was pretty bad.

I do not recommend this book to other readers, unless you want to read a very very very boring book that made no sense, and that Ann should have killed Mr. Loomis right away, would have made the story a lot better, but instead they author had to continue the story with Ann taking care of Mr. If the author would have at least had a shooting scene the book would have been times better than it was.

I personally feel that reading books in class, is a waste of time. It takes away from other things we can be learning. Everybody in our class knows how to read. Like doing grammar. I am also pretty sure that most of the students would rather do that then read very very very very boring books. That is my opinion, I did exactly what Ms.

Because I stated my opinion very clearly. If you do not understand why I wrote that, then we might have a problem. View all 20 comments. The expectations were high with this one. I first discovered this book when I found out it was being made into a movie so of course I was all about getting the book read first. Especially when I realized this author also wrote one of my favorites of all time: The Secret of Nimh.

Some luck blew my way and my library came through. I started it immediately. I finished it within 24 hours. First off, a few things you need to know. This is a post-apocalyptic novel with not a whole lot of post-apocalyptic action going on.

I was enraged instead.

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And 4? She resides within a valley that because of an inversion has escaped the havoc that the rest of the world has suffered. Her parents and two brothers went out searching for survivors after the nuclear war that happened that we never get any other details of besides the fact that it happened. They never returned.

Anne has done a pretty amazing job surviving all on her own but is understandably curious when she sees smoke in the sky indicative of a campfire. She watches it day after day as it gets closer and closer to her farm; closer and closer to whoever is lighting the fire to discovering her home.

John Loomis is a scientist from New York. Trudging through the remains of the Earth, he comes upon a strange sight: After a year of walking, seeing nothing but Earth, the valley is a spectacular sight.

He takes his helmet off and realizes he can breathe the air there as well. Unable to help himself, he dives into a small lake to bathe. Unfortunately, the stream that flows into that lake was still affected by radiation and he falls deathly ill.

Spoilers, ahoy! She brings him food and water and nurses him back to health. What does she get for her good deeds? Because naturally dude turns out to be a fucking creep. For weeks, Anne maintained the farm and even expands on her plans to include him in the future. And then one night he comes into her room to undoubtedly sexual assault her. She escapes and runs back to the cave that fortunately she kept secret from him.

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In my mind, defending yourself is the reasonable response. But nah, instead Anne tries to make peace with the crazy man and still shares half of all the food and water she gathers. He at one point shoots her in the leg too. At the end he finally gets Faro to follow her scent and the dog is about to lead him right to the cave.

What shall we do? Shoot the creeper or 2. So she goes with her backup plan: But of course the freaking dog follows her. Poor Faro takes his last swim and dies of radiation poisoning. She talks about her family that drove away, never to be seen from again, in a very disconnected almost robotic way. One could argue that his last year of surviving alone was enough to change him, however, Anne had to work just as hard to survive.

The character study could have gone a bit deeper to better understand the inner-workings of these two characters since they were the only two characters in the book.

I kept thinking that there would be some final twist but I reached the final page without it happening. The ending left me feeling very indifferent and just as emotionally disconnected as Anne. View all 7 comments. This is my first ever reread of a book, and I think I made a good choice. I originally read this book back in school when I was around 13, but since then had forgotten what it was mostly about. What I mainly remembered was that it was quite dark and there was one particular scene that was definitly a shock for me as a young teenager.

With all this combined, I thought this book would be the perfect reread. It was only when I looked it up on Goodreads before going on holiday that I realised it was This is my first ever reread of a book, and I think I made a good choice.

It was only when I looked it up on Goodreads before going on holiday that I realised it was a YA novel, however, and this is a big deal!!! Due to the fact I had a vague recollection of what happened in this story, as I progressed through the novel, certain things that were happening rang a bell with me and I knew where they were leading.

Being able to see where things were going made the actions of Mr Loomis all the more sinister and nerve-wracking. I had forgotten just how intense and uncomfortable this novel becomes towards the end. I was actually doing the cliche of holding my breath without realising. Characterisation was also superb. Just like Ann, you never really get to know Mr Loomis very well and that invisible wall between him and us leaves us feeling uneasy about his presence. I also love the progression the characters take throughout this novel.

From meeting Mr Loomis right at the start and seeing his speedy progression into what he becomes. And then with Ann, seeing her quick mind working and being able to learn from her mistakes in order to outwit and outsmart Mr Loomis when necessary. I absolutely loved this book. Highly recommended for any dystopian lovers. I really enjoy post-apocalyptic stories. I really liked the narrator and her ability to survive alone. But when I finished reading all I could think was I am so tired of bullying men.

Tired of them in my movies, tired of them in my books, tired of them in the news and tired of them in my government. View all 5 comments. Z for Zachariah was a very good post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel. It's important to note that the novel was first written and released in Keeping that time frame in mind, the way that sixteen year old Ann deals with the loss of her family and the events that follow are nothing short of amazing.

Ann, having lost her mother, father and two brothers, finds a way to not only go on, but build a life for herself at her family home in a valley that was remarkably saved from some of the fallout. Her life, such as it is, progresses with the routines she's formed until the day a man in a radiation-safe suit wanders onto her property.

What happens when she gathers up the nerve to approach him is both touching and terrifying. This is an amazing young adult novel that shows the strengths and weaknesses, the humanity and the horrors of what life could be like following such a devastating event. Although I only borrowed this book to fill several challenge slots, I am glad that I read it.

It was a story that will stay with you long after you finish it and make you wonder Hopefully we will never have to find out. Jul 24, F. At our local train station there is a small bookcase where those travelling through can leave a book they've finished or simply don't want anymore, and then another commuter can pick it up and read it on their journey. It's a simple and lovely idea. After perusing the shelves in January my wife became very animated. For on those shelves was one of a book from her childhood which both terrified her and fascinated her, a book she read and read, but which she hadn't seen a copy of since she was at At our local train station there is a small bookcase where those travelling through can leave a book they've finished or simply don't want anymore, and then another commuter can pick it up and read it on their journey.

For on those shelves was one of a book from her childhood which both terrified her and fascinated her, a book she read and read, but which she hadn't seen a copy of since she was at school.

She snatched it up and began re-reading it immediately. That book was, of course, 'Z for Zachariah', a work I had never encountered before. Having now raced through it myself, I can see why and how it clung on so vividly in her memory — particularly at the age she read it. The plot sees a young girl — sixteen years old — who is left in an isolated valley after a nuclear holocaust.

In a brilliant, picturesque detail: But then a man comes over the horizon in a radiation suit. What we have here is a really intimate horror.

The radiation stops being merely the device that wiped out everyone else, and instead becomes a barrier that keeps these two characters locked in together and unable to escape. Terrible things happen, but hope and strength of the human spirit somehow, incredibly remains. Aug 07, Joe rated it liked it Shelves: In Z for Zachariah , Robert O'Brien novelizes the end of the world with a similar set of stories; in place of Noah's ark we have an anti-radiation suit designed just in time for the nuclear holocaust.

The inventor of the suit murders his companion and wanders the blighted wilderness for many years, haunted by his crime as the post-apocalyptic answer to Cain. But the story opens in a valley the fallout has passed over; saved by its unique weather-pattern. It may be the last place on Earth where life flourishes; The Garden of Eden as a bastion rather than a beginning.

The lone human inhabitant of the valley is Ann Burden, a resourceful farm girl who has her hands full tending her animals and crops but still finds time to pray, though she's not always sure why. Her responsibility matches her surname. Ann is shocked when she spies a stranger approaching her valley.

John Loomis, the aforementioned scientist who's already assumed the roles of Noah and Cain has come to finish the biblical trifecta by playing Adam to Ann's Eve. What plays out between Ann and John turns into a maelstrom of themes; science vs. But much like that classic Richard Connell short-story, the ending here proves rushed and frustrating. So while the action and allegory engage throughout, I found myself struck most by how opaque and desolate the lessons were.

Perhaps that's fitting for a tale of the apocalypse presented as Genesis inverted.

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Let there be darkness. Excellent book; the real horror of it isn't the nuclear devastation, but the feeling of being stalked and having no one around to help you get away. At first Mr. Loomis is a likeable character but he quickly takes a turn for the creepy, and that's when this book gets really intense.

I just re-read this amazing book that I've had for a long time.

Z For Zachariah

The first time I read it was when I was in 4th grade because my sister had read it. I found it boring. I read it again in 7th and understood it better than I had in 4th grade.

And now, for 12th grade, it's just plain awesome. It's about a girl who survives the dropping of a nuclear bomb. She thinks she's the only one left alive, but soon discovers she is not alone at all. Not only is she alone, she's in great danger.

I can't say any I just re-read this amazing book that I've had for a long time. I can't say anymore, cause it will ruin the terrifying suspense of this book. I recommend it to anyone who likes suspenseful books. Basically, the book exemplifies the meaning of being truly alone, isolated and preyed upon. Awesome book. It's a reasonably old book and I didn't have great expectations, but this book hooked me in and made sure that I concentrated on finishing it.

Z For Zachariah is the story of a girl who's alone in a world that's been destroyed by nuclear bombs and radiation. As long as she stays in her valley, she is undisturbed and safe enough. And then one day a man in a plastic suit pulling a wagon covered in more plastic arrives.

Ann is suspicious, in the few weeks before the last radio station died, there was much reporting about people going insane in their desperation for survival. About people no longer being human. So Ann hides for a few days until the man makes a mistake and swims in a poisonous river, and then gets extremely sick. Ann then reveals herself and tends to him, trying her best to make him better. Have I said too much? This is a book about survival, fear and hope and how these three things can change people.

Read it. It's good. Attempted rape; dog death. Z for Zachariah was first published in , and has stayed in print ever since. Robert C. O'Brien died in , but his wife and one of his children completed the novel based on his notes.

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It's simply brilliant. The science in regards to the "meteorological enclave" may be iffy at best, but the characterisation is wonderfully executed. Ann Burden is the strong, resourceful teenage heroine who's been completely alone for a year but has survived just fine.

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Growing up on a farm was ideal to teach her the skills to live off the land - and the location has kept her alive in good stead. Because all communication with the rest of the world has been cut off, for all she knows she could be the last person on Earth. But Ann is not the only one, though she's better off alone. Loomis was a plastics scientist in an underground bunker when the nuclear bombs dropped.

His back-story is revealed when he talks in fevers brought on by radiation poisoning.

Ann's wary of Loomis from the start for good reason. It's an abusive relationship: She's a teenage girl, he's a fully-grown man. She nurses him as best he can, and he repays her by getting on her case for all the things he thinks she should've done. And even when Ann does what Loomis requests, he always finds something else to complain about. The abuse is psychological, manipulative, but when it turns physical Ann has to count on all her knowledge and skills to keep alive and safe.

But time does not heal all wounds, and Loomis has yet another horrible plan in mind. The tension builds as the novel turns from suspense to thriller.

It's a genuinely scary read, and easy to understand why it's such a classic tale to be shared with the next generations. And now, a word about the film: Ann's character has been aged up, "Caleb" is nowhere to be found in the book, and the film's heavier on Christianity it's much lighter in the novel. As for Ann trying to seduce Loomis in the film, I'm so angry about that. When a character is almost raped in a book, but in the film she tries to seduce the guy That's not Ann's character, and I can't help but wonder if the film wrote in "Caleb", too, to sex up the story.

That's not Robert C. Robert O'Brien , Robert C. Love Z For Zachariah? Subscribe to Read More to find out about similar books. Sign up to our newsletter using your email. Thank you! Your subscription to Read More was successful.

To help us recommend your next book, tell us what you enjoy reading. Add your interests. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths.

The collection includes: The Outsiders - S. Find your local bookstore at booksellers. Our Lists. Hi-Res Cover. The bestselling sci-fi classic about a girl facing life in a post-nuclear holocaust world, part of the Originals collection, Penguin's essential modern classics for YA readers. Robert C.