Now that it is officially summer, my friends and I like to go to the mall a lot. And I know that this isn’t just us being weird; a lot of people actually do go to the mall. Shocker. But what would happen if the mall were under lockdown—and you were in it?
This is the plot of No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz. And the mall isn’t just on lockdown; there is actually a biological bomb in the parking garage. Now, no one in the mall knows about it at the beginning, except Marco, who found the bomb; the people who have been called in to investigate; and the senator, who was at the mall with her family. Eventually, other people start to find out, but by then it’s too late. Cue horror movie music.
The prospect of a bomb is enough to make you not want to go to the mall, but this mall is nothing like the University Park Mall here. Lorentz’s mall has an ice-skating rink, a Pancake Palace, and many more department stores with beds, pillows, etc. than we do. I’m impressed with how Dayna Lorentz has created a mall that I want to go to and, yet, want to stay as far away from as humanly possible. Well done, Ms. Lorentz.
Each chapter is written from the point of view of one of the four teenagers trapped inside the mall: Shay, the poetry lover; Ryan, the popular boy’s little brother; Lexi, the senator’s daughter; and Marco, who you remember from the second paragraph. Yes, this writing format is confusing at first, but halfway into the book, you should understand what’s going on. Each character develops his or her storyline just slowly enough that you want to keep reading and find out how they’re going to get out of the mall, because you really do like them.
The development of the story keeps the same pace, moving along at a speed that Goldilocks would appreciate. And the developments themselves? Well, they have just enough science fiction in them that they aren’t recognized as anything near to truth, but they are completely believable within the limits of the story.
I don’t want to spoil any part of this book, so I’m just going to borrow some words from my friend Abi, who recommended this book to me: “At the end, you’re expecting it to happen, but it happens differently, and you don’t want it to happen.”
There. That should be vague enough that you’ll want to read the book. It worked on me.
Enjoy your summer, and have fun at the mall.