Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 5, 2019
Source: Publisher, Netgalley
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Diversity, LGBT, Dystopian, Action & Adventure
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A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack—perfect for fans of The 5th Wave
Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn't among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.
When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she's shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they're all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she's greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.
Only they aren't the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn't know what to believe…or who to trust.
My abeulo says that there are people who belong to the earth, and others, like us Martinezes, belong to the sky.
The Last 8 is a dazzling, sky-soaring debut from Laura Pohl. Featuring a Latina main character who is bisexual and aromatic (like me!!), it promises a fast-paced, stand-alone sci-fi adventure where eight teens are left standing in the middle of an alien invasion. I believe this book is also #ownvoices, but I’m not sure to which aspects of Clover’s character. While the suspension of belief is needed for this apocalyptic storyline, Pohl delivers with a tight explanation for the events and a satisfying answer to the mysteries surrounding the aliens. With character development from fierce characters and a wonderful exploration of friendship and survival, The Last 8 was fun from start to finish.
Clover was left at her grandparents’ door when she was an infant and grew up in kind of a rural area in Montana. She gained a love of piloting from her grandfather, and sees herself exploring a lack of romantic feelings for her ex-boyfriend, who likes her. In the midst of the introduction, however, we see an amalgam of alien spaceships land on Earth. The race is on.
While her town is left in ashes by these mysterious, impenetrable aliens, Clover somehow is not noticed and escapes. (There’s a good reason for her not being noticed later.) Cue a time skip that’s more than a bit jarring, and we get road-trip Clover, who picked up a dog and hears a radio call to Area 51, where survivors have gathered. Survival story? Check. Now to meet the rest of the gang…
… a team of seven teens who somehow found their way together, and are content to live in the safety of the Area 51 bunker. Clover – an active resistor – is not happy with that and starts picking apart the story the team gives. Soon enough, our path to resistance begins.
On our own, we are nothing. Together, we’re the Last Teenagers on Earth. Together, we are Earth itself.
Quick tip: I love how most (if not all?) the survivors were LGBTQ+. I also appreciate the POC representation. It’s subtle, but there. In regards to Clover being bisexual and aromantic, I personally thought the representation was pretty solid, although it was quite light and not a big part of the story (I believe there were two or three distinct scenes with Clover talking about it). Her experiences and feelings were super valid though, I felt. It’s definitely possible to have sexual feelings about people without having romantic attraction, although I do think Clover’s lack of romantic attraction stems to other parts of her personality. (Example: sometimes she comes off as emotionally detached, which only adds to her character being full of purpose.)
While The Last 8 deals with some intense action scenes and revelations, it ultimately reads like a sci-fi movie. The Vine references, as well as the homage to various alien invasion movies, make The Last 8 relatable and laugh-out-loud. I really enjoyed Clover’s personality and her willingness to step up and take action against the mysterious aliens. It’s fast-paced and on the shorter side, making The Last 9 and pretty light story despite the (almost) non-stop action. Sci-fi readers will like this one! Fun, quick, and satisfying, this stand-alone debut will grip your attention from start to finish.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Content/Trigger Warnings: suicide ideation, suicide, murder/violence/gore, alcohol usage
Thank you SourceBooks Fire and Netgalley for the review copy!