From the Series The Ashes Trilogy

  • Interest Level: Grade 9 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 9

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. When it happens, Alex was hiking in the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

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Interest Level Grade 9 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 9
Genre Young Adult
Copyright 2011
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 480
Publication Date 2011-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 5.5
Reading Counts! Points 25.0
Text Type Fiction—Science Fiction/Fantasy
BISACS YAF001020, YAF015000, YAF026000
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.25
Lexile 730
ATOS Reading Level 5.0
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 146122
Accelerated Reader® Points 16.0
Features Awards and Reviewed

Author: Ilsa J. Bick

Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, as well as a film scholar, surgeon wannabe, former Air Force major, and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, e-books, and novels. She has written extensively in the Star Trek, Battletech, Mechwarrior: Dark Age, and Shadowrun universes. Her original stories have been featured in numerous anthologies, magazines and online venues. Ilsa's YA paranormal, Draw the Dark, was also a semifinalist for the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (as Stalag Winter). Ilsa currently lives with her family and other furry creatures in rural Wisconsin and across the street from the local Hebrew cemetery. One thing she loves about the neighbors: They're very quiet and come around for sugar only once in a blue moon.


  • Sequoyah Book Award Nominee, Nominated, 2015
  • Gateway Readers Award Nominee, Nominated, 2015
  • Tayshas Reading List, Winner, 2011
  • Booklist Top 10 SciFi/Fantasy for Youth, Winner, 2011
  • YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, Winner, 2011
  • South Dakota Young Adult Reading Program Nominee, Nominated, 2011
  • Arkansas Teen Book Award Nominee, Nominated, 2011


Library Media Connection

“Bick has a winner with this series and your students, including reluctant readers, will love it.” —starred review, Library Media Connection

School Library Journal

“The novel is equal parts horrifying and riveting, and many teens will be compelled to devour it in one sitting.” —School Library Journal

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“[A]n impeccable sci-fi/horror balance, quick pace, and risky storytelling all live up to the jacket’s promise.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


“Bick takes the best of post-apocalyptic, zombie fiction and adds…the exact thing that has been sorely lacking from those genres: girl power, and in a heaping dose.” —starred, VOYA


“This is an affecting postapocalyptic tale that divides its time between survival story and horror, as when readers encounter the vividly described results of the EMPs and zombie attacks.” —Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Splendidly paced apocalyptic zombie horror ends with a thrilling, terrifying cliffhanger and a number of unresolved mysteries.” —Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

“Bick delivers an action-packed tale of an apocalypse unfolding, launching a trilogy with flair.” —Publishers Weekly