“I have been dying for an ARC of PODs since I first discovered it's existence months ago on Spencer Hill Press' website. You wouldn't believe the volume at which I squealed when the mail man knocked on my door and handed me a parcel directly from Michelle Pickett. I tore the parcel open and discovered that not only was there one ARC but actually there were two signed copies. One for me and one to give away. Plus, there was a little swag bag set up for me and one for give away. The final amazing item was a tote bag with a picture of the PODs and Milayna covers on. I was speechless and so very happy.
I had just finished with a book and so I was ready to read PODs the day it arrived. I dived in straight away and boy oh boy was I in for one hell of a ride. I didn't realise at the start that I should have buckled up my seatbelt and braced for the energetic, lightning paced story that would ensue.
Evangelina Evans is a normal 17 year old girl with a normal life, until the day an incurable virus comes to town. If contracted, this virus will mean a painful death within just days of the symptoms emerging.
The government decide that they need to move people to the PODs that they built underground in case of any such pandemic. And that's exactly what this is. The virus will wipe out anyone living above ground when it hits.
The government say that there is room for only 70,000 people in the PODs and that 20,000 of those spaces are reserved for members of the government themselves. So that means that out of the entire population, only 50,000 people will be saved. How do they decide who should be saved and who shouldn't? Well that comes in the form of a Social Security Number Raffle. Basically, everyone's social security number is entered into the raffle and those that get drawn out will have a space in the PODs. Anyone else will be left to fend for themselves topside until the virus inevitably wipes them out.
Eva and her family desperately wait for the phone call to say that they have been selected. Time goes by and the phone call doesn't come.
Eva's cell phone rings and she is told that her number has been drawn. She must pack no more than two suitcases of things that she will need. She must say goodbye to her parents as their numbers weren't drawn.
Eva is scared as Hell and doesn't want to leave without her parents. She keeps hoping that their numbers will be drawn. She keeps that hope up right up until the day that she is driven to the checkpoint and she must say a final goodbye.
Once past the checkpoint, Eva must go through Quarantine. They put her in a glass room and they draw her blood every day to make sure she is showing no signs of having the virus.
She sits in her glass box that feels like a prison cell, she has books that she's read cover to cover. There's a television but all it shows is news reports of what's happening topside and Eva doesn't want to know what will happen to those that have been left behind. She doesn't want to accept the fate that her parents have been dealt. Her room is surrounded by others that contain people the same as her. Everyone must go through this quarantine before being allowed into the PODs. The government need to know that no-one will have the virus and spread it once underground with the others.
Once quarantine is over, people are moved into sub-PODs that branch off from the main POD. There are ten people to one sub-POD; five of which are male and five female.
Eva moves in with five boys and three other girls, one of whom is pregnant.
Adjusting to life underground in a small sub-POD is difficult. Not everyone is pleasant to live with. There's one young girl in the group and Eva thinks she can't be younger than 12, there's one girl who doesn't speak English very well and then there's the boys. David, George, Josh, Seth and Aiden. David is good looking, sweet, charming and funny. George is nice and seems more welcoming than some. Josh is an A-hole. There's no other word for it. He is always down on everybody else. He makes fun of everyone, he's arrogant and rude. No-one in the POD likes him, but they know they have to live with him for a year.
Eva has a theory about who got selected and who got left topside. She believes that it's only people between the ages of about 12 and 25 and they are all smart, with a four-point-oh grade average.
The residents of each sub-POD are sent textbooks through a chute and are told they need to complete coursework and modules online via the intranet. They are also to partake in blood tests to make sure they are still fit and healthy.
A year is how long the government believe it will be before the virus has worked it's way through topside and then they say it will be gone and people can move back up there.
Eva doesn't want a romance within the POD but every time David passes her by, he sends shivers down her spine. His touch elicits butterflies in her stomach. She can't help but notice how handsome he is. How kind, charming, funny, caring he is. It seems they both feel the same way but they avoid doing anything about it. If they had a relationship and it turned sour, they'd still have to live together in the confines of the POD until the year is over.
There's nothing that can be done to stop the inevitable though. David and Eva embark on a relationship. They are such a good match for each other. Everyone can see how much they obviously care for each other after months underground together. But Eva wonders whether the relationship will still thrive once they are allowed back topside. Is it just the confines of the POD that make them feel this drawn to each other?
There's no mistaking the chemistry they have together though.
Tiffany's baby is born in the POD. The group help her when she goes into labour and they can't make contact with the main POD. Eva remains collected and talks everyone through their roles and the baby is born safely.
Once the year is up, once the government believe the virus has died out topside, the people underground are allowed to move to camps that have been set up for them up there.
Before they are set up in homes and are been assigned jobs in the sector that the government chose for them, Eva realises that her and David won't be put together. The numbers they have been assigned don't match. To say she is upset is the understatement of the century. Yet she must do as she has been told. She has been given a house of her own and she must attend the job she has been assigned as a teacher. Gone are the days when she saw David 24/7, when she could see his sweet smile, smell the unique smell of his skin, when she could kiss him and hold him, be held by him at night and fall asleep on the settee in the POD.
What does the future hold for Eva? For David? For any of the friends she made down in the POD? Is the virus really gone? Will a mutated version of the virus ravage the small camps/compounds that have been set up for the residents protection?
These are questions you will only get answers to by reading the book for yourself.
This book was an energetic, tumultuous roller coaster ride that had me on the edge of my seat and biting my nails constantly. I never knew what was coming. There were the bitter-sweet moments that I lived through when Eva and David were alone together. Then there were the moments that had me laughing and sometimes wanting to punch the snot out of someone (Josh). There were also times when I got so emotional. I felt all the feelings Eva was feeling. I fought battles with my tear ducts, they wanted to overflow and I didn't want to let them. But there were a few moments when it felt like a tap had been turned on and no-one could stop the warm salty tears that raced their way down my cheeks.,
You know when Goodreads says "Meet Your Next Favourite Book"? Well this is it! This is my favourite book of 2013. I can only compare the feelings I have for PODs by looking back at my favourite book of 2012, Divergent by Veronica Roth. Anyone that knows me, knows how much love I have for that book (and how many tattoos I have related to that book and the sequel, Insurgent).
I have booked to have a PODs tattoo of the symbol that we see at the beginning of the book and on the Chapter pages.
In my honest opinion, Michelle Pickett is best-selling author material. She has a talent beyond anything I had imagined upon starting this book. She writes with such emotion, such passion and tenacity. It is obvious that she poured her heart and soul into this book and you can tell that she would have been sat at her computer probably crying her eyes out at some of what she was writing. To have produced a book as good as PODs, this author must be overflowing with talent. It doesn't feel like a debut book, her writing style speaks of someone who has been writing and publishing books for years.
I live for books that keep me on my toes and keep me guessing all the way through. I like it when I have no idea how it will turn out. This is one of those books! I honestly had no idea what would come next. There is so much I could say about both this book and this author, but if I did, you'd get mad at me for spoiling some of the things that should be discovered first-hand when you pick up the book yourself.
Trust me when I say, you really need to be purchasing this book from anywhere it's available on June 4th 2013. That's not far away, perhaps you should go and pre-order it now. If my review hasn't incensed you to go and pick up a copy, then I haven't really done my job properly.”