The Farm (The Farm #1)
by Emily McKay
Summary: 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 really enjoyed this book. I first heard about it the day before it released. I rushed to the bookstore and grabbed my copy, which was fresh out of the box. The Farm had a bunch of elements I love: young adult, dystopian, vampires, end of the world, a fierce heroine, and a little bit of romance, all of which are basically the recipe to the perfect book for me. I am glad it turned out to be as good as I’d hoped.
The story is told from Lily’s point of view for the most part, but a some chapters are told from Carter’s, though not in first person, and a couple of chapters are from Mel’s point of view, Lily’s autistic twin sister. Each chapter is clearly labeled to avoid confusion, but the different points of view are pretty obvious and well done. What I liked the most about The Farm is Lily’s character. She was so believable. I loved her voice. She described everything around her well, but she also had a personality that really came out in her narration. The author captured the essence of a teenager well without overdoing it and making the narration too juvenile. I thought it had the perfect balance.
The world was incredibly interesting to me. Lily didn’t know much beyond the fence besides memories of the way it was before she ended up in the Farm, but she finds more and more out along the way and struggles to sort of understand it all. The Farm itself was interesting and horrifying. There were tons of real world references that sort of brought it all together and made so much of the story seem plausible. It also added a bit of humor and reliability to it, also. While Lily’s world and the vampires inhabiting it are violent, Lily herself is such a great narrator. She is humorous and doesn’t really whine or dwell on anything too much. Her first priority is her sister’s safety and well being and, while it’s obvious she falls for Carter, she doesn’t swoon and become incredibly distracted or weak. As much as I love romance in books, sometimes it overpowers the main story line and I was relieved that it didn’t happen in The Farm.
The plot was action packed and full of twists and I never knew what was happening or who I could trust. The adventure was thrilling to me and captivating. I would definitely recommend this book. While it’s a bit dark and violent, Lily’s character brings some humor and light to the story because of the way she tells it, so I would recommend this book to people who were intrigued by the world of The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, but felt it was too dark and violent for their taste. I thought The Farm was unique and original, despite the fact that the premise may sound a bit similar to The Immortal Rules. It was definitely a different story altogether. I will definitely continue the series.