The sequel to The Living, Matt de la Peña’s The Hunted is a high-energy, action-packed survival story. When the Big One hit, Shy was at sea in style. The Paradise Cruise luxury liner he worked on was a hulking specimen of the best money could buy. And now it's at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, along with almost all of its passengers. Shy wasn't the only one to survive, though. Addie, the rich blond daughter of a mysterious businessman, was on the dinghy he pulled himself into. But as soon as they found the rest of the survivors, she disappeared. The only thing that filled the strange void of losing her was finding Carmen, his hot coworker, and discovering a way to get back home. But Shy's luck hasn't turned. Not yet. Back on the dinghy, Addie told him a secret. It's a secret that people would kill for--have killed for--and she has the piece that could turn everything on its ear. The problem? Shy has no idea where Addie is. Back home in California seems logical, but there are more ways to die back home then Shy could ever have guessed. And thanks to what Shy now knows, he's a moving target.
So I couldn't wait to continue this series. Let's just say THE HUNTED lives up to my expectations and more!
What worked: For starts it's usually hard for me to get into the second novel in a series but when I do? I'm hooked. THE HUNTED continues when the last book let off. This time Shy along with two surviving members of the ill fated cruise ship and mysterious Shoeshine are now back in California. The action and suspense start right off on the first page and continue until the nail biting cliffhanging ending.
Since I'm a Southern Californian, much of the setting was almost too realistic for me. Visually picturing a totally destroyed Venice Beach was very frightening. The aftermath of the deadly tsunami and earthquake leave California devastated. If the people weren't killed by the natural disasters then the equally deadly Romero Disease got them. The descriptions are haunting and tragic. It would have been so easy just to end right there with endless death, brutality, and violence but no, Pena shows the humanity in this apocalyptic tale. There are pockets of those who refuse to forget humanity and these people, including the long forgotten father of Shy, help to show there is hope at the end of the tunnel.
But in the meantime, there are so many forces against Shy and his friends. They know the secret behind Romero Disease and let's just say that others want to stop them from disclosing this to the government. The adrenaline races while readers follow Shy as one obstacle after another is thrown his way.
Even with all this, there is still hints of a possible romance. Carmen and Shy's sometimes relationship is explored a little more here. It would be hard not to get closer to someone if left in a similar situation. Carmen's feisty, quick with a Spanish insult or two but also loyal. Her struggle to not fall for Shy is shown. I admit I really liked her and hope the two of them do connect later on.
I loved the diversity of this novel. Both main characters are Latinos and dialogue between them is snappy and realistic.
Edge of the seat action that takes readers on a roller coaster ride through devastated California with characters you hope have the courage to face a pharmaceutical's greed in order to save millions of lives. How far would you go in order to fight for justice even if that means possible death? A must read especially for those who want a diverse YA apocalyptic novel.
2. Diverse cast of characters