Title: The Last 8 by Laura Pohl
Two-sentence summary: Clover Martinez is among the few surviving after a deadly alien invasion that destroyed human civilization in a matter of days. But when she finds other survivors through an unexpected radio message, she tries to convince them to fight back instead of hide.
Portrayal of LGBTQ issues: Clover is a bisexual, aromantic woman of color who teams up with several other survivors (including a few other queer characters) to save the human race from extinction. The Last 8 is an #OwnVoices novel, with the author sharing the same sexual orientation of Clover. I think it’s always important to have #OwnVoices queer YA but especially for lesser known identities like the aromantic community.
What I loved: One of the best parts of The Last 8 is the writing style. I think that with intense genres like sci-fi and horror, the writing voice can really make the book. In this case, it keeps the plot moving at an engaging pace. I found myself both rooting and worried for the characters and the unbelievable situations that they found themselves in. Plus, since Clover is aromantic, there wasn’t an annoying love triangle to weigh the story down.
Plus, Clover herself is a fascinating protagonist. Sometimes with dystopian YA, the main character is bland enough that it’s hard to see why they survived the apocalypse in the first place. Not so here. Clover is a competent and strong person, and she offers a fresh perspective in a genre usually market by cisgender, heterosexual characters.
Recommended: The Last 8 reminded me a little of The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey, which is one of the few YA horror books that I enjoy. To me, this suggests that this is an excellent choice for both hardcore horror fans as well as those who are just looking for a unique queer YA book.
Note: I was given an ARC in exchange for a fair review.