"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remorse and had withdrawn from his government projects.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
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
**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.