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…
After a glut of vampire books, nowadays, I tend to turn my nose up at anything that has vamps at the center of it (unless, of course, I’m already deep in a series. There are some vamps I just can’t give up.). But there was something about THE FARM that intrigued me enough to put aside my vamp snobbery and pick up this book. And I’m so glad I did.
THE FARM is a creepy take on a world gone mad, overrun by infected-humans-turned-voracious-monsters known as Ticks and ruled by mysterious and powerful vampires who control their food supply by penning them up in farms (adolescents make the tastiest food source, of course. Yum, yum.). Lily and Mel have survived in this particular farm by keeping their heads down and isolating themselves as much as possible, so as not to draw attention to themselves. Lily has a plan to get them out of The Farm, away from the Ticks and the vamps and the constant bloodlettings.
Then, out of nowhere, Carter appears. Cute, adorable Carter, who Lily’s had a crush on forever, appears in their midst and ruins all her plans, destroying their carefully built world and all their plans to escape. He’s been searching for Lily because he and his friends believe that Lily is the key to defeating the Ticks and taking back the world from the vampires.
Carter is seriously untrustworthy. Sure, he’s gone through a lot to find Lily but he’s very secretive and wants to use her in a way that might get her killed pretty darned quick. He’s also holding back a lot of information about the world beyond the fence that Lily really could use and he’s playing on her affections from the time Before.
But Lily’s a strong one. She’s not completely snowed by Carter, even if he does look at her with those adorable eyes of his and she melts just a little. She’s got to be strong for Mel, who cannot function without her. The portrayal of Mel, who’s an extreme autistic and can barely function without her routines, is a bit…over the top for me. When we slip into her point of view, it’s barely understandable and doesn’t seem to contribute much of anything to the story. If anything, it adds to the confusion. Perhaps that is the point, though. Anyway, Lily more than makes up for any shortcomings, putting on a tough-as-nails exterior while fretting about everything on the inside.
If you’re not yet ready to give up on vampires — or even if you’ve turned into a picky oonish about vamps like me — consider checking out THE FARM for a dark twist in the vampire genre.
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