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Evergreen

Evergreen, Book 1
Narrated by: Jean Ann Douglass
Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Harper Cody used to worry about the SATs or a getting a new laptop for Christmas...but now, she only wants to keep her little sister alive.

At 5:59 a.m. early in September, life as she knew it came to an end with a nuclear flash ninety miles away in Colorado Springs. For two months, her family sheltered in the basement of their home, surviving on whatever canned goods Dad could scavenge. Passing evacuees told of a safe haven in the mountains, but her father refused to leave. He thought their home was safe...until a gang of looters kicked in the door.

Four years ago at 13, Harper won trophies for competition shooting, but killing a man pointing a gun at her is nothing like nailing targets at a range. Hesitation cost her parents’ lives. With no other options, she grabbed her little sister and ran away from the only home she’d ever known into a world she no longer recognized.

The promise of safety in Evergreen gives her hope, but unless the girl voted sweetest in her class can find the nerve to kill, Harper - and her kid sister - are as good as dead.

©2018 Matthew S. Cox (P)2019 Matthew S. Cox

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I wasn't a fan.

This story had potential. I wouldn’t say it was horrible or bad really, but it just didn’t do it for me. I was bored.

I wasn’t a fan of this narrator. I could see her becoming better as time went on (maybe), but with this story, there were a lot of times when she annoyed me. I feel like that is going to be a common theme for this review: annoyance. Whether it was her taking a break and then obviously starting up again (tone difference), moving further away or closer to the microphone, or randomly whispering, it was just too much for me. The lack of changing her voice (besides from male to female characters) was lacking as well. I’ve never listened to this narrator before so I don’t know if she was doing something different (all the whispering), something she felt would fit with this story/characters better or what, but the fact she constantly had Harper talking in this whisper voice didn’t work for me. I get Harper was traumatized (but Madison was moreso), and there were often times when she needed to be quiet, even though everyone else spoke in a normal tone. It didn’t make sense though, and I’m honestly surprised I finished this story. It always goes back to the saying of how a narrator can make or break a story.

The constant talk about Harper winning shooting competitions, being only seventeen, her parents dying, her father being disappointed with her, the blue guys grabbing her sister, not killing bugs, and being “just a kid” were just a few topics that I felt were overdone/brought up way too many times.

I noticed a lot of issues surrounding the lack of using the correct tense (past and past perfect, specifically). For example, there was a part of the story when Harper was thinking back to when a man had pulled a gun on her. The story was already written in past tense, so her looking back to the man that pulled a gun on her should have been written in past perfect. Instead of “a man pulled a gun on her,” it should have been: “a man had pulled a gun on her.” Simple fix, yet examples like this could be found throughout the story.

Questions/Comments:

I highly doubt a couple would be able to have two children with opposite hair colors, specifically ones that are so drastically different as opposed to more muted tones. Harper’s is supposed to be a very red color, while Madison’s is black.

How mistakes like the following get looked over always baffle me. So, Madison and Harper are inside a building (before they reach the mall) and Madison crawled out from under her comforter and started doing leg stretches. The two start talking, and Madison asked if their mother was going to drive her to dance class. The story then says that: “Madison crawled out from under the comforter…” Yeah. Hadn’t she already done that?

There were a couple of things that annoyed me throughout the story; is anyone surprised? Minus the stuff that’s already been mentioned, there was Madison’s behavior (how she acted and what she said). Maybe it’s just me and that whole notion that kids are good at handling stuff kept popping into my brain, but her constantly asking about dance class, wondering why no one was calling her, etc. annoyed me. Finding out that she just wanted to continue as though everything were still normal, hence, she hadn’t “lost it” wasn’t believable, especially when after telling Harper this, she goes right back to her weird behavior. I had figured that was a breakthrough moment for the two of them, meaning Madison would act normal, but that wasn’t the case. Then there was the fact Harper never corrected Madison or set her straight sooner. Harper was angry with herself for not telling Madison the truth as though the world (US) were still normal and they had simply just not heard from their parents. That was another annoyance. Madison had already mentioned her father being dead (don’t remember the exact part), and this scene was Harper considering the fact she needed to tell Madison their parents were dead.

There was the part when everyone was getting ready to leave the mall. Harper headed to the toilet and realized it was still without water. It was a very random thing, or so I thought, for her to take notice of when there hadn’t been water in the toilets beforehand. So why had she re-noticed this fact?

Then there was the time when Harper thought Madison was going to have a mental break because of how calm she was and had been for a good while. Um… if she were acting like everything was pretty much fine still (waiting for parents and friends to call, needing to go to school and dance class, etc.), I’m pretty sure she already had the mental break. She was so worried about Madison’s behavior that when she was finally able to talk to a healthcare professional, the first thing she brought up was how Madison took her clothes off in front of a stranger with no problem. Yes, because that was the most important. The second most important thing was how Madison was still carrying around her phone even though it was dead and would never work again. Yup.


While at the mall when they were looting, after the fighting, Marcy ends up with blood on her face. Instead of picking one of the thousands of clean pieces of clothing around her, she uses one of the dead guy’s shirts to wipe her face…

Maybe it was poorly described but I found it questionable that the school the kids went to was outside of the “protected area” of the town. Harper is described as walking passed some militia and runs into the one lawyer guy sitting on the side of the road (who hadn’t gotten to the town yet). THEN she came to the school. The fact kids were allowed to walk home by themselves was what really got me. Given random strangers could be on that part of the road, why would there not have been a person stationed closer to the school. Even more questionable, again the school is outside of town, yet there are no guards anywhere around the school grounds.

Madison wonders away from school and a sentry ends up telling Harper that she’d seen a child earlier in the day down the road from them. Did none of the “guards” think it strange a child would be out wandering around by herself, especially given school wasn’t finished?

I think the strangest part was at the end when Harper is asked why she didn’t kill Tyler. She responds with something like how she had liked him, but now since he’d kidnapped her sister and punched her brother, she no longer likes him. What?


  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful on all counts

This book was absolutely wonderful. Instead of the main character (or any of the characters really) being a complete badass, killing without remorse or reluctance we had what would be far more likely in the effects of what people would go through after the apocalypse as the old morals wage war with the requirements of survival.

The performance helped draw the listener in as well. This was a story I couldn't stop listening to, and while I normally listen on 3x speed, I slowed down to 1.5 both to savor the performance, and because I didn't want the story to end. I'm definitely going to be watching for more in this series.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jayde
  • Nampa, ID
  • 06-30-19

WOW – this one is for real

This is a story that draws you in from the beginning. Everything that happens is there for a reason, just like in real life. The SHTF genre has a reputation of un-believability. This one will fix that. If a strike were to happen in real life, I could see this story happening just as easily. There are a lot of good people out there. And not all of them are who you might expect them to be. Unfortunately, many that you might expect to be bad people in a SHTF scenario, probably will be. But there are those that have truly fallen in with the wrong crowd and will find themselves standing for what is right at some point in their lives. Even if it is truly the last thing they do. There are always consequences. Some we choose to live with simply by the choices we make. Those choices are what make us who we really are. Who do you choose to be?

This book was very well written and very well read. A rare combination of story and narrator that will suck you in and not let you go till the end of the story. This one ends well and is a complete story in itself. There is also room to follow this story with a sequel. I hope they do.

This is my second book by Matthew S. Cox. I loved the other one as well and I will certainly be looking at more of his books.

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • S. M. Wong
  • 07-06-19

was expecting teen book from cover,but its not

was expecting a teen book,glad it wasn't,reader good and shockingly i likes this book,would have like to know a bit more on how and why the emp happened,but overall a good listen
this book was given free in exchange for a honest review