Book Review: The First 7 by Laura Pohl

Book: The First 7 by Laura Pohl

Published March 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Last 8 #2

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

The thrilling conclusion to The Last 8 duology that follows the Last Teenagers on Earth as they head home to a now-hostile planet.

Clover Martinez and The Last Teenagers on Earth are busy exploring the galaxy after leaving earth behind…even if they can’t help but be a little homesick.

So when their ship receives a distress signal from their former planet, they hope against hope that it means other survivors. But as soon as they arrive, they realize something’s deeply wrong: strange crystal formations have popped up everywhere and there’s some sort of barrier keeping them from leaving.

Seeking the origin of the formations and the reason for the barrier, the group discovers a colony of survivors hidden in the mountains. But the survivors aren’t who they seem…

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really liked The First 7, and thought it was much better than the first book!  It’s a great sequel, and I’m glad I read it.

I liked the first book, enough to pick up the sequel.  This book picks up several months after the last book, and we see our young survivors travelling across space.  Because of Andy, they get this warning that they are not safe anywhere, and find themselves back on earth because of a distress signal.  Earth is not the same place it was when they left it.

It turns out that they were gone for years, instead of months, so clearly, time moved differently for them than it did in space.  That part got my interest, and I wanted to know more about that.  They have more pressing things to deal with, like the fact that there are survivors hidden in the mountains, crystals everywhere, and Andy not being the same Universal that she was in the first book.  Once they land on Earth, and come across the crystals, she changes drastically, but in the end, she’s the same Andy that we knew from The Last 8 and the beginning of this book.

It turns out that Andy is not the last Universal, and there was a time when I thought it was Violet.  It’s not, but the thought crossed my mind, considering what Andy did to bring Violet back from the dead.  I actually wish we saw more of Andy.  This is Clover’s story, through and through, but that’s not going to stop me from wanting more with Andy.

Speaking of Clover, I really liked her.  She’s still struggling, which is understandable.  She’s been through a lot, and there are some surprises for her in this book.  I wasn’t expecting one particular surprise, but I’m glad she’s not alone.  She never was, of course, and she has some great friends.  But this surprise…I think it will be good for her.  It won’t bring back her grandparents, Adam or Noah but I think, in time, she’ll open up and start to heal.  That’s what I hope happens for her.  This book doesn’t shy away from her struggles, and I love that there’s a content warning at the beginning of the book and some resources at the end of the book.

I’m just glad they were able to go back to earth, and that they were able to make sure things were okay.  Not everyone wanted to come back, of course, but I think, in the end, they were glad they did.  Space isn’t for everyone, but this book really shows that earth, and the life that inhabits it are strong and refuse to die in the face of really terrible aliens with crystals that could change the planet and destroy everything on it.

I also want everyone to be okay.  I’ve already talked about how I want Clover to be okay, and I want that for everyone else too.  They deserve after thinking they were the only ones left on earth, and what they had to do to save it.  I’m sure they’ll settle into a slightly more normal life.  As normal as it can be on a planet that survived an alien invasion, and I hope they are able to find other survivors.  This little pocket of survivors can’t be the only ones left, and I hope, over time, earth is at least a semblance of the place they knew before everything happened.

4 stars.  I really liked The First 7, and it’s a great sequel.  I kind of want another book, just to see how things turn out for everyone, but I also think it ended on a really good note, so I’m also okay with it ending how it did.

Book Review: The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

Book: The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

Published March 2019 by Sourcebooks Fire|357 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Last 8 #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack—perfect for fans of The 5th Wave

Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.

I liked The Last 8!  It’s an interesting read, but I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

Don’t get me wrong, you can’t go wrong with an alien invasion causing death and destruction on a worldwide scale.  At the same time, though, aliens invading earth seem a little bit…dated.  I hate saying that, I really do.  I liked Clover, and the world but something about the book seemed old, even though it’s a pretty new release.

I really liked Clover and we see her struggle a lot throughout the book.  I loved that there was a content warning at the beginning of the book, and that Pohl had a list of resources at the end of the book.  I thought how Clover acted throughout the book was really realistic, and understandable considering everything that happened to her during the book.  Especially at the beginning.

It’s an interesting group, and I loved that there are survivors of an alien invasion at Area 51.  Why does this not come up more?  There’s a lot going on with this group, and while I wasn’t surprised at why they survived, I am curious to see where things go.

I thought the book wrapped up really well, and I was surprised to see that it’s going to be a duology.  I think there’s more story to tell, especially with how things ended, but I’m also hesitant to read the next book.  I’m a little worried that it will feel added on, especially since I only have a vague idea where things are headed.  It’s definitely a book that can go either way- there’s enough closure that it works well as a stand-alone but there’s enough there that the story can continue on.

3 stars.  I liked The Last 8, and I especially liked Clover but I also didn’t love it.  I feel like this story is one I’ve read before.