Razor Girl
Marianne Mancusi
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Razor Girl
Marianne Mancusi
308 pages
August 2008
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Razor Girl consists of two narrative threads, separated by six years, in alternating chapters. One of these threads shows Molly Anderson as a fifteen-year-old getting to know her neighbor Chris Griffin, a slightly nerdy and intense boy; the two of them suspect that something dangerous is beginning to happen. Molly's conspiracy-theorist father consistently warns of the forthcoming apocalypse, but Molly has never believed him - until the evidence starts to point his way. Molly and Chris want to escape together, but Molly may find that family ties are more important.

The second thread unfolds post-apocalypse when Molly finally emerges from the shelter in which she has lived with her mother for six years. Her mother is now dead, and Molly's only option is to head for Disneyland where her father said to meet. Apparently her father and other scientists would have worked on an antidote to the flu that caused so much devastation, but the flu's DNA-altering effects mean that Molly is in danger from 'The Others', zombie-like mutants who try to kill and eat people and whose disease is catching. When Molly bumps into Chris Griffin again, she finds a very changed man, one who seems withdrawn and at once helpless and self-sufficient. As they set off together for Disneyland, they will learn more about each other and about the cause of the pandemic.

Mancusi's post-apocalyptic world provides much food for thought. The twin narrative threads work well, although the post-event storyline is more interesting than that of Molly and Chris before the plague strikes. Characterization is generally good and Molly's self-image (her father has given her various bionic enhancements) well written. Some slight plot holes/improbabilities don't always quite work, but overall this is a really good read.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Helen Hancox, 2009

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