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Z for Zachariah  By  cover art

Z for Zachariah

By: Robert C. O'Brien
Narrated by: Christina Moore
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Publisher's Summary

Something terrible has finally happened. A nuclear holocaust has destroyed civilization. For one whole year, 16-year-old Ann Burden has lived alone on her family’s farm, somehow sheltered from the radiation in the valley. As she hears the final radio station going off the air, she believes she is the only person left alive. But when Ann sees smoke from a faraway campfire, she knows there is at least one other survivor. Soon an incredible figure wearing a green suit and carrying an oxygen tank appears on the road. With the intruder in her valley, she makes a chilling discovery: There are worse things than being alone.

Newbery Award-winning author Robert C. O’Brien won an Edgar Award for this suspense-filled science fiction tale of a young woman determined to survive on her own terms. Narrator Christina Moore places you on the scene with Ann in a strange world with an unknown future.

©1974 Sally Conly (P)1999 Recorded Books, LLC

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What listeners say about Z for Zachariah

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Loved it when I was 13, not so much 30 years later

After seeing the movie recently (much changed from the book), I thought I'd reread a book I had loved as teenager. I'm not sure why I loved it then. Didn't I think it strange that a 15-yr-old was thinking about marrying Mr. Loomis (she never calls him by his first name), a 30-something MAN she didn't even know? Wasn't I freaked out by his actions (including trying to rape her)? Didn't I find her actions somewhat ridiculous? Apparently I didn't.

Maybe some books one should not revisit.

As for the audio narrator, initially she sounded like a 60-yr-old to me. I got used to her and she began to seem a little younger sounding but I didn't like her voice or performance.

16 people found this helpful

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Interesting but a bit troubling

This is an interesting though somewhat depressing story, though it tries to end on a hopeful note. The main character is very compelling, and easy to care for. But the scenario is strangely bleak and the situations she finds herself in are painful to experience. It is a survival story, a story of perserverance despite miserable, hopeless situation, and a strange comment on human nature in some ways.

It is odd to class this as a kid story. I think older teens might be appropriate but I don't know if I would say it is right for anyone 13 or under. It deals with some troubling stuff - attempted rape of a young teen, a murder attempt on the same teen by an older man, etc. Not to say that kids can't take it, but it just seems a bit mature in some of its material for children, in my opinion, so parents are warned and may want to listen first.

THe main character feels very real and human and well developed and it is easy to care about her. That said, the other main character, the man who comes into her valley is a bit dispicable and frustrating and her reaction to him is at times frustrating. She has more patience and goodness and strength in her than many would, I think, though it is hard to say as we don't live in a post apocolyptic world where almost no people are left.

Overall, it was a sad but interesting story, and her plight was engaging and she was very likable so easy to follow... But as I said, the material is too mature for kids I think, some of the relationship is odd and frustrating and hard to understand and despite its hopeful note at the end, overall it is a bleak and sad story... Still it was entertaining and I think worth a listen.

8 people found this helpful

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A great dark book with an optimistic protagonist

I first listened to this book in 6th grade. It may not be appropriate for all adolescents with out parental guidance.

As an adult experiencing this story with many more years of perspective. I admire this well crafted story, excellent writing, and the hope evoked with the words of this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Well Done!

It's a lot different than the movie! It's better. The plot differences may be spoilers. The narration's great too, and you actually learn the reason for the title. Check it out!

2 people found this helpful

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Post-apocalyptic Story of Survival

If you could sum up Z for Zachariah in three words, what would they be?

Invader ruins survivor's utopia.

What other book might you compare Z for Zachariah to and why?

Many post-apocalyptic stories of survival involve large groups of zombies, which ruins the stories for me. The conflict in this book, in contrast, is a single, human invader -- making the story more interesting.

Which scene was your favorite?

How the girl lives peacefully on her own before the invader arrives.

Any additional comments?

I read this book as a kid and loved it. Recently, I listened to it with my own kids during a long road trip. We all were riveted, while also frustrated that the invader had to shatter the girl's post-apocalyptic utopia.

2 people found this helpful

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powerful Story

A classic post apocalyptic story, published in the 1970s. Teenager Ann survives a nuclear winter living in a valley that shielded her and the family farm from radioactive waves. The last one alive, her world turns into a nightmare when Dr. Loomis arrives in a protective suit. Driven by power, a cat and mouse game erupts as Loomis tries to capture Ann, who evades him. YA fiction with a chilling sense of realism and potential horror of humanity.

1 person found this helpful

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Diary format reading just like The Martian.

I highly recommend this book as the narrator guides you through her point of view on a series of events. The novel takes place during post apocalyptic times. A harrowing tale of loneliness and desperation. Diary style reading is amazing, really good story.

1 person found this helpful

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Sad

This book made me sat and think about not having paerents and getting ingered to much so I hated this book

1 person found this helpful

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Apologize Apocalypse

I love a good Apocalypse story, this isn't it. I kept waiting for it to take off but it didn't. A the elements where there. Not enough characters depth.

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Very Interesting

I read this book in high school, and liked it. I watched the movie and felt they had changed almost all of it. After reading it again I see for sure they changed too much for the movie. I still thoroughly enjoyed the beginning, but became rather frustrated towards the end. It ended up being fairly poetic, but I struggle to imagine that I would have handled the situation in the same way.

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  • Dean Grice
  • 11-22-22

Revisiting a childhood classic

Blast from the past, excellent narration to a childhood classic, thought provoking and moving especially in today’s climate

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  • James Shannon
  • 11-03-22

fantastic

I loved hearing this book. I read it in school 35 years ago although I had forgotten the ending. I love the angst that's conveyed in the telling and slipped back into my 13 year old self thinking about what it must have felt like to be that young and afraid in that kind of setting. I can immediately remember the English lessons where we read and discussed the book and the following essays I wrote.
it has such a dark side that for the majority is left to the reader to conjure.
Highly recommended and I would recommend you listen with your kids if you can tear them away from technology and video games for a few hours.

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  • Anduko101
  • 07-18-22

Great tale

I remember the 1980s BBC version (back in the day when they made watchable programs). Having heard the original it's amazing how faithful the BBC stuck to the original, except the setting was Wales. The 2015 Hollywppd version was awful, total train wreck, but then no supprised there. I'd highly recommend this audio book, well written and well read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-27-22

an oldy but a goodie

I first read this book 20 years ago so here it on audible awesome it's a good book for early readers highly recommended for all ages too