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23 February 2010

Book Review and Tour: The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley

Title: The Things That Keep Us Here
Author: Carla Buckley
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: February 9, 2010
Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN: 978-0440245094
Genre: Apocalyptic


About the novel

How far would you go to protect your family?

Ann Brooks never thought she’d have to answer that question. Then she found her limits tested by a crisis no one could prevent. Now, as her neighborhood descends into panic, she must make tough choices to protect everyone she loves from a threat she cannot even see. In this chillingly urgent novel, Carla Buckley confronts us with the terrifying decisions we are forced to make when ordinary life changes overnight.

A year ago, Ann and Peter Brooks were just another unhappily married couple trying–and failing–to keep their relationship together while they raised two young daughters. Now the world around them is about to be shaken as Peter, a university researcher, comes to a startling realization: A virulent pandemic has made the terrible leap across the ocean to America’s heartland.

And it is killing fifty out of every hundred people it touches.

As their town goes into lockdown, Peter is forced to return home–with his beautiful graduate assistant. But the Brookses’ safe suburban world is no longer the refuge it once was. Food grows scarce, and neighbor turns against neighbor in grocery stores and at gas pumps. And then a winter storm strikes, and the community is left huddling in the dark.

Trapped inside the house she once called home, Ann Brooks must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where opening a door to a neighbor could threaten all the things she holds dear.

Carla Buckley’s poignant debut raises important questions to which there are no easy answers, in an emotionally riveting tale of one family facing unimaginable stress.

My Review:

The Things That Keep Us Here is a masterfully written novel tackling the topic of a pandemic to rival the flu pandemic of 1918. Rather than tackling this topic on a large scale or from the United States Capitol as many apocalyptic novels do, Carla Buckley chooses to look at it through the eyes of Ann and Peter Brooks, their young children. Prior to the Pandemic, Ann and Peter realize their marriage is not working and agree to a separation, and one year later, Ann has settled into a routine of teaching while her soon to be ex-husband is researching a variant strain of flu, known as H5N1. With little warning, changes quickly begin to take place and countries are placed on alert with the highest strike zones placed under quarantine. Ann finds herself housebound with her two girls, her husband Peter and his research assistant Shazia. With food supplies dwindling, no electricity and no means to learn what is happening in the world, let alone the state, will communities band together or will anarchy rule the streets? Suddenly, Ann is faced with the option to save a life knowing there is a 50% chance that the life she saves could very well be infected. Can Ann risk the lives of her children to save a life that may or may not already be infected? Carla Buckley expertly brings up the best and worst of humanity and begs the reader some rather serious questions as to what they would do. The Things That Keep Us Here is a deeply moving novel that will not only keep the reader engrossed in the lives of the Brooks' and their neighbours, but also beg questions of the reader. Sometimes the most obvious answers, when faced at such high sakes, are not so obvious especially with blurred lines. The Things That Keep Us Here is a brilliant novel and would make an excellent novel for a book discussion group.

About the Author:

Carla Buckley was born in Washington, D.C. She has worked in a variety of jobs, including a stint as an assistant press secretary for a U.S. senator, an analyst with the Smithsonian Institution, and a technical writer for a defense contractor. She currently lives in Ohio with her husband and children. The Things That Keep Us Here is her first novel. Bantam Dell will publish Buckley’s next novel in 2011. You can visit Carla Buckley’s website at

Join Carla Buckley, author of the apocalyptic novel, The Things That Keep You Here (Delacorte Press), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in February on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion! Carla Buckley’s THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘10 officially began on February 1st and will end on February 26th. You can visit Carla’s blog stops at during the month of February to find out more about this great book and talented author.

I received a complimentary copy of The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour. Receiving a copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.



Aths said...

Nice review. I have this one on my wishlist!

Cheryl said...

Thank you for an excellent review of Carla's novel. It has received many great reviews during the tour. This book is also in my TBR pile, and I can't wait to read it.

If your readers are interested, they can enter for a chance to win a copy of Carla's book at my blog, The Book Connection.

Thanks again for the great review.


Diane said...

EXCELLENT REVIEW;Looking forward to it.

Jenny Girl said...

Great review Jen! I'll be adding this to my tbr.