Official Rating: 1/5
“Five go by Land – Five go by Sea
A group of teens on a class trip to Disneyland are left stranded. An EMP over North America has destroyed everything electronic. No cars, no planes, no phones, no electricity. Refusing to wait for someone else to help them, ten courageous young people take charge of their future and choose to begin the long journey home. 1500 miles of adventure and lawless country await. Will their determination be enough?
Alex, Quinn, Josh, Cooper and Dara – setting out on foot with nothing more than some soon to be worthless cash and a little advice from a trusted teacher, they walk through a burning city that has come to a halt. The devastation they see as they make their way out of the city is a small part of the horror that the nation will become. As the days go by with no food deliveries and no water flowing from taps, civilization will start to crumble and it will be survival of the fittest. With five States and half a Province to cross they will need to plan well, count on each other and pray for a little luck. Even with that, chances are slim of getting home when you are Stranded.”
This book was the epitome of ridiculous. A bunch of teens go to Disneyland from Canada and a nuclear bomb is dropped which causes an EMP. That’s not the ridiculous part. The ridiculous part is that in three seconds everyone starts freaking out. One of the teachers DIES, the teachers left start calling students expletives, the teachers are telling each other to shut up, all the adults somehow have thousands of dollars on their person, and the teachers calmly let a bunch of kids go off on their own because they’re “leaders.” Everyone is convinced that a group of sixteen year olds can make it from Disneyland to Canada on their own. What? Why? The whole scenario was absolutely ludicrous and it was painful to read. It takes one day before everyone just starts looting and gangs start to rise and all manner of order is one-hundred percent gone. Also, “five go by land, five go by sea.” If two groups are mentioned, why doesn’t the book ever follow the group that goes by sea? I would have liked to know what happened to them. (Further research shows that we find out in the next book.) (spoiler) At the end, all we are told is that “the other kids are dead” by a “former” bad guy that was friends with Cooper’s dad.
The characters. Each one of the characters were bland and annoying stereotypes. And almost all of them had alcoholic parents. Why? There was the goth girl (Dara), “Mr. Responsibility” (Quinn) (yes, they said that), the bad boy (Cooper), and the class clown/jokester (Josh). They even managed to create a love triangle. You know how in a lot of teenaged movies, adults play the teenagers? That’s what it was like. Only the adults are in clothes that are too small and they have stereotypical voices and sometimes forget that they’re teens and use their natural adult tone.
The character development didn’t exist. Well, that’s not true. Ah, actually wait, yes it is. The teens went from regular sixteen year olds to bad-to-the-bone killing machines that didn’t mind seeing dead people or killing. Their train of thought was: “YIKES! Someone’s dead. Oh well. We’re going to see tons of dead people, might as well get used to it eh?” or “WOW! I just killed someone. BUT THAT’S OKAY. WE HAVE TO SURVIVE.” Not a single teen’s hand shook whenever they killed their first person. Instead it was almost like “I’m a man/woman now.” and they were ready to shake hands and throw a party. Is this what we expect from our teens?
Their journey was completely unrealistic. They’re given a huge sum of money, I’m talking at least three thousand dollars. Then they manage to get a bunch of supplies and buy themselves bikes. While they’re buying bikes, the owner of the store is like “Okay kids, lock up when you’re done. I’m going home. I trust you.” What? Haha okay. The amount of just-in-the-nick-of-time coincidences they were given was crazy. Eventually they get (spoiler) meet an old guy that’s dying who gives them everything he owns, including working trucks. Not to mention, the bad guys they encounter were like this: “HELLO. THERE ARE WOMEN HERE? WOW. IT’S TIME FOR RAPE. MY NAME IS…UH…SKULL. YEAH. I’M THE LEADER. TAKE ‘EM HOME, SNAKE AND RAT.” (First of all, the names, seriously? Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of men than to encounter a man named Rat, am I right?) Oh no! Will they escape? (spoiler) Alex “Bendy Girl” (yes, that’s what they called her) will managed to use her amazing gymnastic “skillz” to get them out, don’t worry. Oh and let’s burn their place down. That’ll make sure they know we mean business. (spoiler) Yikes! One of our buds got shot. What will we do? (spoiler) Alex watches Grey’s Anatomy, she can take the bullets out! Is this book serious? Every issue they ever faced was quickly taken care of and I was never worried.
I think the worst part was the ending. They somehow get across the border by threatening a guard (who, let’s be honest, didn’t have much going for him anyway) and the other guards are totally chill that Alex yelled at and put a gun between their comrade’s eyes. Then the guards listen to them on how to make sure “no hungry Americans get across the border” because they only want Canadians to cross. What’s their mighty foolproof plan? Ask them Canadian trivia questions: “What party did you vote for in the last election?” “Democrat.” “Wrong, not in Canada, back of the line.” (Yes, that actually happened.)
Somehow by the end of the book, they were celebrities going by the name (that Josh had provided) “The Maple Leaf Mafia.” Yeah okay.