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REVIEW

"An apocalyptic coming of age futuristic romance that does the horror film genre proud"

Note: This tale alternates between two time periods, bringing the story full cirle.

The year 2030: Fifteen year old Molly Anderson has a very different home life than the rest of her peers living in Monroeville, SC. Her scientist father Ian had once worked for the government enhancing human soldiers into remorseless cybernetic killing machines. Ian however had been capable of remorse and had withdrawn from his government projects. This had landed him in prison for a period. Now he secluded himself in his basement laboratory preparing for the "End of Days", and kept his only child from enjoying the latest advancements in technology. Ian believed that the government was tapped into all the electronic gizmos that all of Molly's friends enjoyed, VR sim games, modern communication devises, computers, television, even e-readers. He'd even rejected her pleas to get the AIDs vaccine, a license to have sex, like everyone else her age. This had her boyfriend Drew extremely frustrated with her. Drew was the most popular boy in school and the only thing buoying her social status, which would otherwise have been undermined by her strange and reclusive father. Her mother Ashley was the cookie baking "June Cleaver" that every kid wanted for a mom, but she had stayed loyal to her husband through thick and thin. Ashley coped with life by taking prescription medications to dull her senses.

Molly humored her father for the most part, training with him to prepare for the apocalypse while enjoying a normal life on the outside with her friends. Her other big problem was the sweet but geeky neighbor boy, Chris Griffin, who has had a very obvious crush on her since the first grade. She didn't know which was more embarrassing, her lack of sexual experience, her doomsday spouting father, or her lovesick stalker.

Still when Chris calls on Molly to help him with a sick elderly neighbor, she capitulates starting as strange sequence of events. Instead of an ambulance being sent, men with respirators take the woman away in a government van and she is not heard from again. In the meantime Drew does what one has learned to expect from the popular boy who's girlfriend is not putting out and is caught cheating by Molly. Chris does some illegal computer searches and discovers people all over the world are becoming ill and believes an epidemic or plague could be responsible. He convinces Molly to introduce him to her scientist father, but rather than embrace Chris' conspiracy theory as one might expect, Ian is close mouthed and later tells his daughter to stay away from Chris. More angry than heartbroken over the betrayal by her shallow boyfriend, Molly continues to see Chris to try to uncover the mystery.

Things get much worse when they discover the hospitals truly are filled to capacity with many patients dying and the ones who didn't were becoming mindless infectious zombies who fed on the rest of humanity. Molly's dad insists he has safeguards against the viral apocalypse and forbids her to leave the house unless she submits to cybernetic enhancements. Molly refuses and sneaks out to make her own escape plans with her friends. But when she finds herself pitted against a zombie herself she realizes what she must do.

The year 2036: The timer Ian that had rigged to the family survival shelter had at long last opened its doors. Molly's mom had popped the last handful of meds, taking the easy way out leaving Molly to face what is outside alone. Ian had not joined the women in their seclusion but had given them the directive to find him beneath the security laden underground of the Magic Kingdom (that's right Disney World) to begin a new society. A new cybernetically enhanced Molly emerges to do just that. She is stunned as everyone's images of an apocalypse had been a totally devastated earth instead, free of human influence, the world had blossomed into an unruly jungle. Molly is on a deadline because her enhancements are breaking down and she must reach her father before she is completely disabled. The last thing she expected to find were survivors right there in her own little town. The first she meets is Chase who she eventually realizes is a 21 year old, to die for, Chris Griffin. A hot but very hurt and angry Chris Griffin whom she'd once loved and then abandoned in favor of her father's plan. Humans had not been the only survivors. Unlike Molly - Chris, his older brother and a small band of other children had spent the last six years following their own survival plan, battling the infected creatures while holed up in an abandoned WalMart, losing members one by one.

Chase convinces Molly to spend the night at the WalMart where she meets the rest of the survivors led by Tank, a.k.a. Trey Griffin, Chase's older brother. There she discovers that a member of the band is under quarantine after the latest zombie attack. It is Chase's turn to guard him but he lingers to speak to Molly and the next thing they know their friend has turned, escaped and killed Tank. In his dying breath Tank passes the mantle of leadership to Chase.

Chase feels ill equipped to take over the responsibility. Like Molly's mother, Chase has fallen prey to prescription pain killers in order to cope. Still there are the children to protect and Molly, who though she is physically equipped to fight has had no experience battling the "Others". Though they can only slow her down, Chase convinces Molly that they must all set forth together. What perils will they face along the way? Will Molly and Chase's love survive and what indeed will they find when they finally arrive at the "Happiest place on Earth?"

Though the SHOMI imprint is supposedly geared to the younger generation, as a member of the baby boomer generation, I have loved every one of them. With RAZOR GIRL however I truly feel for the first time that the story has really empowered the young. RAZOR GIRL showcased their potential for strength and courage, under the direst of circumstances while dealing with the everyday problems that face their generation - sex, drugs, over protective parents. Marianne Mancusi is known for writing both adult romance and young adult novels. Here she has combined both genres with a touch of horror to create a poignant and thrilling coming of age adventure that has appeal for both age groups. Having grown up in the "Burg," the setting for the George Romero movies referenced in this tale, I feel that Ms. Mancusi and RAZOR GIRL have done the "Living Dead" genre proud. Kudos!

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 18, 2008

SUMMARY

**A PNR Staff & Reviewer Recommended Read**

THE WORLD HAS ENDED, MOLLY.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?

Molly Anderson is not your average twenty-one-year-old. It's been six years since she and her family escaped into a bunker, led by her conspiracy theorist father and his foreknowledge of a plot to bring about the apocalypse. But her father's precautions didn't stop there. Molly is now built to survive.

Yes, Ian Anderson's favorite book gave him ideas on how to 'improve' his daughter. Molly is faster, stronger, and her ocular implants and razor-tipped nails set her apart. Apart, when venturing alone out of the bunker and into a plague ravaged, monster-ridden wilderness -- what Molly needs most is togetherness. Chase Griffin, a friend from her past, is her best bet. But while he and others have miraculously survived, the kind boy has become a tormented man. Together, these remnants of humanity must struggle toward trusting each other and journey to the one place Molly's father believed all civilization would be reborn: a magic kingdom, where everyone knows it's a small world after all.

Read an Excerpt

 

Razor Girl
by Marianne Mancusi

Love Spell (Shomi)
August 1, 2008
Available: August 26, 2008
ISBN #0505527804
EAN #9780505527806
336 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Marianne Mancusi

My Zombie Valentine
These Boots Were Made for Stomping
Moongazer
A Hoboken Hipster in Sherwood Forest
What, No Roses?
A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court


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