The Living

The Living

An eight day cruise was all it was going to be and Shy was going to make some serious money working it.  Everything starts out as expected.  Plenty of rich people drinking and gambling and willing to hand out big tips for ice cold bottles of water and towels.  Then, the pretty picture fades to an ugly scene when Shy catches a passenger trying to jump overboard.  Shy holds on as long as he can but the man slips into the ocean, a victim of suicide.

Shy's world tilts and it gets even more frightening when Shy skypes with his mother and learns his nephew has come down with a dangerous virus known as Romero.  This virus is making its way through the Mexican American community and the cost of the medicine to defend against it is beyond the reach of most of these blue collar families.

Shy's eight days are starting to feel like years.  Then, the ship's emergency alarms sound and all of the training he's been walking through so mechanically these past weeks comes to life.  It's everyone onto the rafts and every man for himself.  

What's happening to shake up Shy's world at every level?  Will he ever capture the heart of Carmen, the beautiful girl he's fallen for and who is engaged to a lawyer back home?  Can Shy survive these eight days at sea to go back home and use his hard earned money to turn his life into a new place in society?  

Written in short chapter bursts, this story weaves several story lines together with intensity, heart, and a touch of mystery.  Will our hero choose the high road as he is faced with adversity of heartwrenching proportions?  Where does his heart truly lie?  Why is the man in the black suit following him and watching him?  

As the world turns upside down, Shy is left to his own inner resources to survive and untangle the web of intrigue, deception and vicious greed that is closing in on him.  An action-packed adventure with a touch of romance and a character to admire.

Ages 12 and up (some gruesome parts)    308 pages   9780385741200

Recommended by:  Barb

*****

Shy Espinoza grew up in a working class family that lived in a town on the border of California and Mexico. His grandmother has just passed away from the mysterious Romero disease which leaves the family in some financial trouble.

Wanting to earn some money he takes a job on a cruise ship for the summer. You would think that handing out towels and water to guests with the benefits of making friends and meeting girls would be the best thing to ever happen to him. But on the first cruise he happens to be on deck when a man jumps over the side and commits suicide. Even though Shy hangs on with everything he has the man still slips from his grasp and falls.

As Shy starts his second cruise he hopes that he can move away from what happened. But when a mysterious man follows him, ransacks his cabin and wants to know what the man’s last words were Shy is scared and starts watching over his shoulder.

One night when a big storm is pummeling the ship they find out an earthquake has hit the whole coast of the United States and Canada. It is “the big one”. What could possibly be left of the Shy’s home and family? Then without much warning a tsunami hits, not once but twice sinking the ship and killing many.

Shy ends up on a raft with Addie, a spoiled rich girl who wouldn't give him the time of day on the ship. But when tragedy strikes and death looks you in the face, relationships are bonded and you see the real people.

With subtle hints in the story about some mysterious islands a few questions are answered but many are left hanging, leaving you wanting to know more. Look for those answers in Book #2.

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