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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Pandora's just your average teen-glued to her cell phone and laptop, surfing Facebook and e-mailing with her friends-until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring twelve photos of her as a child. Unable to contain her curiosity, Pandora enters the site, where she is prompted to play her favorite virtual-reality game, Zero Day. This unleashes a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there is no Internet. No cell phones. No utilities, traffic lights, hospitals, law enforcement. Pandora teams up with handsome stepbrothers Eli and Theo to enter the virtual world of Zero Day. Simultaneously, she continues to follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father-her one key to saving the world as we know it. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.…


by Tracy Deebs

Overall Book Review:

Tracy Deebs tells a great story with Doomed. It’s scary, thrilling, and romantic. I was on the edge of my seat–the one I didn’t move from until I read the last page!

The brilliance of Doomed is its total believability. In this age of technology, I wonder about scenarios like this one sometimes, and having it brought to life by realistic characters and skillful narrative was almost too close for comfort. The characters are resourceful and brave while remaining real and vulnerable. The reader relates to each protagonist on some level–whether it’s anxiety over being placed in horrifyingly dangerous situations or dealing with emotional baggage from long ago. 

The sheer carnage in the book had me reeling a bit, but what else can we expect from disaster and societal breakdown of apocalyptic proportions? Deebs gets the reader thinking–how would I react in a similar situation? 

The story ends a little abruptly, and without the closure most teen readers want, but that’s part of the point–where do we go from here? Hopefully on to more brilliant storytelling from Tracy Deebs! 

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury USA

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 36 religious exclamations; 72 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity;9 derogatory names; 44 scatological words; 17 anatomical terms; 1 offensive hand gesture; 5 f-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  A character pretends to strangle another character; several characters are in a car crash with minor injuries and some gore in an extended scene (3 pages); a character is injured in a gang fight with some gore; widespread looting, vandalism, and fighting are described; characters are chased by dogs and law enforcement–they escape with some fighting; two characters fist-fight briefly several times; a character briefly describes observing physical abuse and intervening to protect a family member; a character is found dead of a gunshot wound, described in some detail; a character clubs an assailant without causing serious injury; a character is found unconscious, covered in blood; a character is shot and seriously wounded with a lot of blood in an extended scene (6+ pages); a character performs stitches on a serious wound; a character drives through a barricade, hitting and injuring several people; a character trips over a dead body; characters sustain minor injuries in a fire; two characters are beaten by law enforcement with no details, sustaining moderate injuries; several characters are known to have been shot and killed with no details; several extended scenes depicting intense video game violence involving humans and monsters, including kicking, beating, clubbing, and slashing with knives and claws; many dead bodies are mentioned in the video game.

Sex/Nudity:  Characters flirt with each other several times; a character puts his arm around another character; two characters hug, hold hands, and kiss briefly; a character kisses another character’s hand; a character caresses another character’s shoulder; a character implies that it is enjoyable to look at scantily-clad women; a character has clothing torn off in an accident with few details; a character removes clothing to help an injured character; an injured character’s clothing is removed; a character asks members of the opposite sex to avert their eyes while changing clothes–one character watches in a mirror; a character gets into bed with a member of the opposite sex with no intimate behavior; a character’s parent is unfaithful to the other parent; a gang rape is attempted in an extended scene (4pages) with no details; another gang rape is alluded to with no details; two characters kiss passionately in an extended scene (3 pages).

Mature Subject Matter:

Mental health issues, including anxiety; war; terrorism; divorce; marital infidelity; abuse; kidnapping; suicide attempt; murder; rape; gang violence.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Narcotic medications are used to control pain.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My mother would often find me curled up in a corner, avoiding chores with a book–or two. When I was growing up, there wasn’t a large selection of YA books. I had children’s books and adult literature to choose from. I’ve come to love YA fiction as an adult and read almost nothing else when I read for pleasure–any genre will do.