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"I think this is a ‘just go with it' sort of moment," Jack. —The Last Kids on Earth
The Last Kids on Earth
The Last Kids on Earth #1
by Max Brallier
AR Test, Diverse Characters, Good for Reluctant Readers
When the monster apocalypse hit Jack’s town, the thirteen-year-old retreated to his tree house. Everyone Jack knows has either run away or been zombified. Jack has been living in his tree house, which he’s armed to the teeth with catapults and a mote. Living on Oreos and Mountain Dew, Jack spends his time playing video games and scavenging stores.
Jack realizes that he can’t handle zombies, Winged Wretches, and Vine Thingies alone. He goes out to search for his best friend, Quint. Along the way he finds a team comprised of a reformed bully named Dirk, a pet monster, and a girl named June (who becomes Jack’s love interest).
Surviving a monster apocalypse will be difficult; however, life gets more dangerous when the intelligent gargantuan menace known as the Blarg sets his sights on Jack. He will need his entire team to defeat the monster.
Told from Jack’s point of view, the monster apocalypse comes to life with humor. Jack’s desire to care for his friends is clear. When Jack searches for June in the hopes of rescuing her, he discovers that she is a strong character that doesn’t need a knight in shining armor. Black and white illustrations add to the story. For a book filled with monsters, the story is more fun than frightening. Packed with action, The Last Kids on Earth will engage readers from the first page to the last.
- June Del Toro is Jack’s “love interest”. When introducing her, Jack says, she has “legs that just won’t quit (no idea what that means, I’ve heard it in a movie. I guess her legs are resilient?)”
- Jack finds June in the school building. “In the dim light, I can make out that it’s June. Hey, I just used ‘make out’ and ‘June’ in the same sentence. Go me!”
- Jack and his friend discuss if it is possible to “call dibs” on a girl.
- A monster tries to smash Jack. The battle is described over several pages. “The monster’s massive fist pounds the roof until it cracks like thin ice. I trip, tumble back, and land hard on my bony butt .” When the monster smiles, he reveals “an army of dirty fangs, with chunks of flesh between each tooth.” When Jack hits the monster over the head, the monster drops him and Jack gets free.
- A monster grabs the school bus. “The monster tilted the bus so the back pointed toward the sky. We all pinballed, plummeting down the aisle, smashing against the seats, backpacks flying through the air.” Jack and his best friend escape. The fate of the other occupants on the bus is not mentioned.
- Zombies come after Jack. The zombie’s “throat is missing—just a bunch of gnarly old flesh there. He comes at me, practically jumping.” Jack whacks the zombie in the face with a hockey stick.
- A monster eats a zombie. “He roars and shoves the undead thing into his mouth. As he chews, the sound of the poor zombie’s snapping ones echoes across the empty suburban street.”
- A flying monster almost gest Jack. Dirk saves him. “Dirk hurls the Winged Wretch into the closest building . . . The monster lets off a pained howl, then flies off into the distance. . . “
- A Blarg attacks. “Blarg’s like a tank, crushing cars and stomping shopping carts beneath his feet.” Jack and Dir use butter to make the monster crash.
- June throws tennis balls at the zombies, who used to be her teachers. Later, the zombies attack the kids and there is a fight that is complete with illustrations. The fight goes on for several pages.
- The Blarg attacks the kids. Jack uses a sling shot to fling an acid capsule into the Blarg’s eye. “A demonic howl erupts from Blarg’s lungs. He paws at his face, trying to wipe away the sizzling chemical mixture.” When the Blarg chases the kids, they throw a big-screen TV at him. The battle against the Blarg last for three chapters. Jack kills the Blarg with a “Louisville Slicer.” The monster “howls. I’m dangling from the blade, gripping tight, as the monster’s legs give out and he comes crashing down.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Jack calls a monster a jerk. Later he thinks, “I hate jerks—whether they’re monster jerks or zombie jerks or just regular human jerks.”
- Jack says “crud” several times. When a monster tries to hit Jack, he thinks, “oh crud.” When the monster is looking for Jack, he says, “holy crud.”
- Dirk calls Jack a dork.