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“Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…”

I love post-apocalyptic novels and I love romance novels, why not combine them? The answer is The Farm. While I really wanted to like this book it was really bad. This may be because I expected this book to be a stand alone novel so when it took forever for the kids to break out of the farm, I got bored. It might be because none of the characters are likeable. It might be because the way the author handled autism really riled me up since it was really problematic. It is probably all of those things, but add in an abusive, power structure in yet another YA romance novel and you got most of the reasons I don’t like this book. I will go through a few of these reasons more in depth.

None of the characters are likable: the characters are really flat. One is a military brat, one is a stoner, one is a pregnant popular girl, one has autism (literally her only character trait), one is a strong girl who listens to no one. None of them really break out of that. The closest characters to having depth are the stoner and the pregnant popular girl. Everyone else is lucky to be called 2-D.

Autism: So one of the main characters has autism, but parts of the story are told from her perspective. Not only does the author make the character so offensive that I almost stopped reading, she also makes autism something that should be pitied. Many people with autism are living successful lives and can function well. However, of course the character has to be low enough functioning that she is a hindrance to all the characters. SPOILER: she gets turned into a vampire. So now you have a character with little to no impulse control as a vampire. I am literally too afraid to read the next book in the series.

Abusive, power structures: So the main girl is almost raped by a male guard in the farm. Why is female rape a plot driving event in so many media outlets? There is no reason for her to be almost raped. The entire idea that the teen girls would get pregnant on purpose to save themselves was problematic in so many ways. I can’t even get into how angry that plot line got me. Add in the main romance plot has a guy who is using the girl to save the world and is using a girl with autism to get with her sister. It is not cool how much the male is seen as a hero when he is literally lying and trying to control the girl he supposedly loves (of course, this is against his will because she has powers of emotional control).

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2 out of 5 stars. I would not recommend this book.

You can buy this book here.

~Isaiah

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