Author: Emily McKay
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: December 4th, 2012
Interest: Post-Apocalyptic / Blog Tour
Source: Finished copy received from the publisher
The Farm Website
Summary (From Goodreads): Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…
And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.
Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…
Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…
I honestly had mixed reactions when I started reading The Farm. The concept is cool which is why I decided to try it and join the blog tour. I’m not really big on vampires, but I like post-apocalyptic books. My students still like reading paranormal vampire novels and the post-apocalyptic genre is a big hit with them as well. Emily McKay’s debut is another book that I need to break down into what worked and what didn’t work.
What Worked For Me:
- The multiple points of view–The Farm is told from Lily, Mel, and Carter’s points of view told in alternating chapters. My favorite chapters are Mel’s because she’s autistic and has a really unique perspective and understanding of the world around her. The story works with this format because there’s so much going on and the characters are so involved. I learned more about Carter and his history during his chapters than in any of the other chapters, and I really don’t know how we could have learned as much about him without this format. Overall it added more layers to the story and really defined the characters.
- Lily–I like what a strong heroine she is. She’s quick on her feet and stands up for herself and her sister. Her sense of humor, despite how horrible her life is, is witty and snarky. I really think teens with siblings who they’re close to or protective of, will connect with Lily and enjoy her character.
- The pacing & action–The Farm is full of suspense, twists, and action. Emily McKay did a nice job balancing The Farm’s character development and plot development; it doesn’t feel like one more than the other (character driven or plot driven). I enjoyed the suspense and wondering how new developments were going to come to light. The pacing it great and will keep my students interested as they read.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
- Vampires–I’m over vampires. I don’t have much else to say on that topic.
- I tried to keep an open mind on the vampire front, but some of the background storyline didn’t work for me. I don’t want to ruin anything because much of that isn’t revealed until 100+ pages in, but when I came to that story I sort of cringed. I had to start thinking of the book as more of a book for my students than for me at that point. And sometimes that’s what I really need to do when I read a book outside my comfort zone; I need to think about the students in class who will like it more than me.
- I really liked Lily, Mel, and Carter, but I didn’t find myself connecting to them and their story until 75 or more pages in. I needed more earlier than that.
The Farm Blog Tour Exclusive Content
Lily is such a strong main character. How did you decide to give her this fierce identity as opposed to the weak female characters that are so often present in books?
To be honest, I don’t know any weak teen-age girls. The teen-age girls I know are strong and smart and giving and determined and I just drew on that to create Lily. Years ago, I taught in a lower-income area and one of the things that I still remember from that time is how tough the girls I taught were and how devoted they were to their families. I wanted to channel some of that into Lily, and hope I succeeded.
Giveaway sponsored by the publisher
Open to the US only
One lucky winner will win a copy of The Farm + “Vampire Apocalypse Survival Kit”
Must be 13 years or older to enter
Giveaway ends January 4th, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST
Only one entry per person
Winner will be emailed and given 48 hours to respond
No extra entries required, but spreading the word is appreciated