POD, by Stephen Wallenfels; science fiction, survival, young adult; 214 pages
I picked this up because one review compared it to Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. That's one of my favorite books, so I was eager to read this one. The plot is pretty cool: one day, a group of strange spheres (one character calls them "pearls of death" or "PODs") appear all over the world, and anyone who is out of doors vanishes. For the next weeks, anyone who leaves the shelter of their home is taken or killed by the vessels, and those that are trapped inside are slowly dying of thirst and starvation. The story is told from two points of view: Josh, a teen trapped in his home with his increasingly compulsive father, and Megs, a 12-year-old hiding out in the parking garage of a hotel that's been taken over by a power-crazy security guard. It's a dark, suspenseful read (and it doesn't pull any punches), but it provides a lot to think about. There's an environmental message that runs throughout, but it's subtle enough that I didn't find it preachy or annoying (it's mostly coming from one character, and it fits with his personality). To top it off, my favorite character turned out to be a librarian! I recommend this to people who love a good post-apocalyptic story.