Book Reviews, YA book reviews

After the Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson



My Rating ~ Five stars


RELEASED: 30 July 2018

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Format: Paperback

Pages: 330

RRP:  AU$19.99

Source: Received from Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review


What happens when the lights go off after what might truly be an end-of-the-world event? How do you stay alive? Who do you trust? How much do you have to sacrifice?
‘After the Lights Go Out is a terrifying yet hope-filled story of disaster, deceit, love, sacrifice and survival.’ – Fleur Ferris

Seventeen-year-old Pru Palmer lives with her twin sisters, Grace and Blythe, and their father, Rick, on the outskirts of an isolated mining community. The Palmers are doomsday preppers. They have a bunker filled with non-perishable food and a year’s worth of water. Each of the girls has a ‘bug out bag’, packed with water purification tablets, protein bars, paracord bracelets and epipens for Pru’s anaphylaxis.

One day while Rick is at the mine, the power goes out. At the Palmers’ house, and in the town. No one knows why. All communication is cut. It doesn’t take long for everything to unravel. In town, supplies run out and people get desperate. The sisters decide to keep their bunker a secret. The world is different; the rules are different. Survival is everything, and family comes first.




Thank you so much to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When Pru, Grace and Blythe’s mother left, their father moved them into a remote town in the Australian outback, where he built an underground bunker and spent every day preparing his daughters for an apocalyptic event.  He is a fanatical doomsday prepper and is determined to keep his family safe when ‘the big one’ hits.  Then it does.  While their father is working at a mine-site, several hundred kilometres away, all the electricity suddenly disappears.  No phones, no cars, no water or petrol pumps, no pacemakers.  It’s all fried.

Mateo doesn’t belong in outback Australia.  He lives in America with his mums and he’s only here with one of them because she’s running a safety seminar at a local mine site.  He’s having enough trouble dealing with the bad internet reception, when suddenly the power goes out.  Now nothing works and there’s still the Australian snakes, spiders and other such creatures to worry about.

Pru and Mateo seem to have nothing in common, but now they’re stuck in this town together, and they’ll need to find out where their parents are, what is going on and how they’re going to survive.  All while Pru and her sisters hide the fact that they have an entire bunker worth of supplies – because their dad has drilled it into them for so long – never tell anyone.  Never share the supplies.  Only the family matters.

This book blew me away,  It was absolutely fantastic.  Usually apocalyptic type stories are set in big cities and everything turns to violence in five second flat and it all comes down to some guy who’s going to ‘fix the world’.  This book being set in outback Australia was such a different viewpoint and much more realistic to me.  And that made it so much scarier.  There are moral questions that have you wondering what you’d do yourself, themes of parental control and when love and protection steps over the line into obsession and paranoia, and such multifaceted characters.  There are also some wonderful diverse representations: A Puerto Rican main character, a bisexual main character, queer parents and a character with HIV.  I also LOVED that there were discussions about societal ideology surrounding virginity and teen sex not having to be tied up in a pretty ‘true love’ bow.

There were parts of this book that had me seriously concerned for my own lack of abilities should an electromagnetic event occur, there were parts that had me dying inside for Pru and her sisters and parts where I was furiously angry with various people in the book.  It was a rollercoaster of emotions and I would highly recommend it!





after the lights go out photo by

Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s