Publication Date: 11/12/19
Don’t miss the exhilarating new novel from the author of Fat Girl on a Plane, featuring a fierce, bold heroine who will fight for her family and do whatever it takes to survive. Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It series and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series will cheer for this fast-paced, near-future thrill ride.
If you’re going through hell…keep going.
Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.
But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.
In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?
Doomsday’s Guide to Ultimate Survival
One: Always be prepared.
I exhale in relief when MacKenna pulls the car into the
Halliwell’s Market parking lot. The store is one of the only places in town
with Extra Jolt soda, and I have to buy it myself because Mom won’t keep any in
She thinks too much caffeine rots your brain or something.
Halliwell’s is a low squat brown building that sits across the street from the
mall and is next door to the town’s only skyscraper.
The First Federal Building was supposed to be the first piece of
a suburban business district designed to rival the hip boroughs of New York.
The mayor announced the construction of a movie theater, an apartment complex
and an indoor aquarium. But the New Depression hit and the other buildings
The First Federal Building alone soars toward the clouds, an
ugly glass rectangle visible from every neighborhood, surrounded by the old
town shops that have been there forever. Most of the stores are empty.
We park in front of the market.
Our car nestles in the long shadow of the giant bank building.
Charles gets out and stands on the sidewalk in front of the car. MacKenna opens
her door. She hesitates again. “Listen, I know you might not want to hear this
or believe it. But my book report wasn’t about hurting you or getting revenge.
I’m trying to get you to see what’s really happening here. That Carver’s
election is the start of something really bad. We could use you at the rally.
You’re one of the few people who understands Dr. Doomsday’s work. You could
explain what he did. How he helped Carver cheat to win.”
“I’ve been planning this raid for months,” I say. My stomach
churns, sending uncomfortable flutters through my in-sides. I don’t know what
it would mean to talk about my father’s work. What I really want to do is
pretend it doesn’t exist. Pretend the world is normal and whole.
I reassure myself with the reminder that there’s no way MacKenna
is going to the rally either.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Charles give us a small wave.
Before MacKenna can say anything else, I get out and grab my backpack.
Inside Halliwell’s, I pick up a blue basket from the stack near
the door. The small market is busy and full of other people shopping after
school or work. The smell of pine cleaner hits me as we pass the checkout
stations. They are super serious about germs and always cleaning between
We come to the produce section, and I leave MacKenna and Charles
at the Click N’Go rack checking out the seed packets that my brother collects.
Dad got Charles hooked on this computerized gardening that uses an e-tablet and
a series of tiny indoor lights to create the ideal indoor planter box. Each
week, they release a new set of exclusive seeds. Their genetic
modifications are controversial.
All the soda is in large coolers that line one of the walls of
the market. They keep the strange stuff in the corner. Expensive root beers.
Ramune imported from Japan. And! Extra! Jolt!
I put a few bottles of strawberry in my basket. I snag some
grape too. For a second, I consider buying a couple of bottles of doughnut
flavor. But that sounds like too much, even for me. The chips are in the next
aisle. I load up on cheese puffs and spicy nacho crisps.
They keep the Click N’Grow kiosk in the store’s tiny produce
section between small tables of apples and bananas. Charles has selected
several handfuls of seed packets. My brother dumps them in my basket.
MacKenna grimaces at the top packet. “I still don’t like that
first one. It’s pretty. But still. It’s…carnivorous.”
Charles smiles. “It’s a new kind of pitcher plant. Like the
Cobra Lily.” He points to the picture on the front of the seed packet. “Look at
the blue flowers. That’s new.”
“It eats other
plants,” MacKenna says.
“But I don’t eat people,” MacKenna says. “There’s got to be some
kind of natural law that says you shouldn’t eat your own kind.”
My brother’s gaze lands on my selection of soda and chips. “Can
I get some snacks too?”
I usually don’t buy unhealthy snacks when I’m with my brother. I
smuggle them in my backpack and have a special hiding space in my desk.
“What’s your number?” I ask him.
My brother has type 1 diabetes, and he’s supposed to check his
blood sugar after meals. He can have starchy or sugary snacks only when his
glucose level is good, and usually only on special occasions.
Charles pretends he can’t hear me. That’s not a good sign.
“Charles, what’s your number?”
He still doesn’t look at me. “I forgot my monitor today.” “Well,
I have mine.” I kneel down and dig around for the spare glucometer I keep in
the front pocket of my backpack. By the time I get it out, MacKenna has already
pulled Charles out of his blazer and rolled up the sleeve of his blue dress
shirt. I wave the device over the small white sensor disk attached to my
brother’s upper arm.
After a few seconds, the glucometer beeps and a number displays
on the screen.
“Charles! What did you eat today?”
My brother’s face turns red. “They were having
breakfast-for-lunch day at school. Everyone else was having pancakes. Why can’t
I have pancakes?”
I sigh. Something about his puckered up little face keeps me
from reminding him that if he eats too much sugar he could die. “You know what
Mom said. If you eat something you’re not supposed to, you have to get a pass
and go to the nurse for your meds.”
My brother’s shoulders slump. “No one else has to go to the
Charles is on the verge of tears and frowns even more deeply at
the sight of my basket full of junk food.
“Look,” I say. “There are plenty of healthy snacks we can eat.
I’ll put this stuff back.”
“That’s right,” MacKenna says, giving Charles’s hand a squeeze.
“We can get some popcorn. Yogurt. Um, I saw some really delicious-looking fresh
pears back there.”
“And they have the cheese cubes you like,” I add.
We go around the store replacing the cheese puffs and soda with
healthy stuff. I hesitate when I have to put back the Extra Jolt but I really
don’t want to have to make my brother feel bad because I can drink sugary stuff
and he can’t. We pay for the healthy snacks and the seed packets.
I grab the bags and move toward the market’s sliding doors. I
end up ahead of them, waiting outside by the car and facing the store. The
shopping center behind Halliwell’s is mostly empty. The shoe store went out of
business last year. Strauss Stationers, where everyone used to buy their fancy
wedding invitations, closed the two years before that. The fish ’n’chips
drive-through is doing okay and has a little crowd in front of the take-out
window. Way off in the distance, Saba’s is still open, because in Arizona,
cowboy boots and hats aren’t considered optional.
I watch MacKenna and Charles step out of the double doors and
into the parking lot. Two little dimples appear on MacKenna’s cheeks when she
smiles. Her long braids bounce up and down. Charles has a looseness to his
walk. His arms dangle.
There’s a low rumble, like thunder from a storm that couldn’t
possibly exist on this perfectly sunny day.
In the reflection of the market’s high, shiny windows, I see
something happening in the bank building next door. Some kind of fire burning
in the lower levels. A pain builds in my chest and I force air into my lungs.
My vision blurs at the edges. It’s panic, and there isn’t much time before it
The muscles in my legs tense and I take off at a sprint,
grabbing MacKenna and Charles as I pass. I haul them along with me twenty feet
or so into the store. We clear the door and run past a man and a woman frozen
at the sight of what’s going on across the street.
I desperately want to look back.
The lights in the store go off.
I’ve got MacKenna by the strap of her maxidress and Charles by
the neck. We feel our way in the dim light. The three of us crouch and huddle
together behind a cash counter. A few feet in front of us, the cashier who
checked us out two minutes ago is sitting on the floor hugging her knees.
Charles’s mouth is wide-open. His lips move. He pulls at the
sleeve of my T-shirt.
It takes everything I’ve got to force myself to move.
Leaning forward. Pressing my face into the plywood of the store
counter, I peek around the corner using one eye to see out the glass door. My
eyelashes brush against the rough wood, and I grip the edge to steady myself. I
take in the smell of wood glue with each breath.
Hail falls in the parking lot. I realize it’s glass.
My stomach twists into a hard knot.
That’s the last thing I see before a wave of dust rolls over the
from Day Zero by Kelly deVos, Copyright © 2019 by Kelly deVos. Published by
I think it would be really, like really cool if there was an actual Dr. Doomsday’s Guide to Ultimate Survival to go along with this story!! I would buy it for sure!!
Who is Dr. Doomsday? That would be Max Marshall, Jinx's Dad...he has trained Jinx and her little brother Charles to be prepared for Doomsday. While a regular family might go out for fun or vacations, they would go on drills...learning survival tips and tricks...Some people may think Dr. Doomsday is a little crazy, however he is a genius...and people don't take him seriously.
Jinx, is far from a typical teenage girl...besides the training, she loves gaming and is pretty good with coding. Her parents are divorced, with her mother remarried and she is learning to deal with a step sister. And the Step sister MacKenna thinks Jinx dad is a little crazy, and pokes fun at him when she does a school project on him.
But then, THEN....the story starts to get real, and the prospect of doomsday becomes a reality. Jinx never dreamed that her skills would be needed...and she proves to be a kick butt character!
This story IS a fast paced read....no dull moment...no procrastination in sight with this story....I plowed through this story so fast...you have to, to keep up with all the excitement!! It has some doosey twists and turns, so the climax of the story just keeps rising to great heights!!
This type of apocalyptic genre is my FAVORITE type to read, and I am so excited to learn that this series will continue!! It has suspense, heartbreaking moments and is just the total package for a great read. The characters are so easy to fall for, and the imagination is brilliant!!
So Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your imagination.
Author Bio: KELLY DEVOS is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high
school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She
holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not
reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing
the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection. Her
debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the "50 Best Summer Reads
of All Time" by Reader's Digest magazine, is available now from
Kelly's work has been featured in the New York
Times as well as on Salon, Vulture and Bustle.