Dear Internets: I forgot the name of this book
October 3, 2007 3:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a book: read this at least 13 years ago. (in paperback) A teenage boy and girl are making their way through a postapocalyptic America. It was a trilogy, I believe, and I only recall reading two books in the series.

I'm fuzzy on the plot details, but I think they were looking for someone's parents? or, in the grand tradition of postapocalyptic fiction, heading to safety in some miraculously untouched area? Can't recall if there had been a nuclear war or not. I'm actually considering going back to the library where I originally found it (8 hours away) to look. If there are great ways to search for books (tried abebooks and amazon), please let me know, and spare me the drive.
posted by dubold to Writing & Language (36 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Isn't it something by Stephen King?
posted by bluefrog at 4:00 PM on October 3, 2007

Response by poster: nope, not stephen king.
posted by dubold at 4:06 PM on October 3, 2007

was everybody killed by a plague that aged them?

It might be John Christophers (Samuel Youd) Empty World, mentioned in this thread
posted by Megafly at 4:09 PM on October 3, 2007

Did you try this Wikipedia link? Not snarking, just asking.
posted by scrump at 4:10 PM on October 3, 2007

Was it The Tripods?
posted by suedehead at 4:20 PM on October 3, 2007

the tripod trilogy by john christopher?

Wikipedia Article
posted by baserunner73 at 4:33 PM on October 3, 2007

The Tripods is what instantly came to my mind, too, but that series left such an impression on me that "The Tripods!" is the first thing I think of in answer to, well, most questions.
posted by katillathehun at 4:35 PM on October 3, 2007

Response by poster: thanks for all these suggestions:

it's not the tripods series. it's not the empty world. it's not one of the links hmsbeagle suggested.

and i've gone through the wikipedia entry on apocalyptic fiction, checking out anything that was linked.

I'm also doubtful of some other "clues" that i remember, since they may be false memories from other books... they had a survival knife, they were trying to make a raft to get across a river, the cover was green and flames, the author was a man... i'd know it if I saw it, i'm pretty sure.
posted by dubold at 4:40 PM on October 3, 2007

Have you gone through this list of books at
posted by chrominance at 5:00 PM on October 3, 2007

Unfortunately, I can't offer any ideas about the book you're seeking, but I'm sure glad you asked. The suggestions about Tripods seemed interesting, and as it turns out the info at Wikipedia reminded me that I'd greatly enjoyed the stories in Boys Life in the early '80s. Gotta go buy that series now I guess!
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:03 PM on October 3, 2007

Sort of an outside guess, but could it have been by Octavia Butler?
posted by gimonca at 5:13 PM on October 3, 2007

Mara and Dann doesn't really fit your description, but I thought I'd throw it in as an remote possibility.
posted by DarkForest at 5:14 PM on October 3, 2007

Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials has some parallel. It wasn't set in America rather Oxford, and it wasn't a post-apocalyptic world but rather a fantasy world. I mention this on the off chance that it might be the one, but I wouldn't think that anyone who read this would forget the title.
posted by Neiltupper at 5:27 PM on October 3, 2007

Possibly something by Terry Brooks - he's written several trilogies and some of them deal with post-apocalypse America.
posted by iconomy at 5:28 PM on October 3, 2007

Random suggestion, Tomorrow when the war began.
posted by teststrip at 5:44 PM on October 3, 2007

Not mixing up The Chrysalids with some other things?
posted by merocet at 6:20 PM on October 3, 2007

Nick Sagan's Idlewild?
posted by winna at 6:25 PM on October 3, 2007

After the Bomb by Gloria Miklowitz
Sequel which has plot summary, etc...

Is this the one where they escape on a motorcycle and fend off the bad guys with a watergun filled with bleach?
posted by enfa at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2007

Sounds like Queen City Jazz and its sequels to me (the river being the Mississippi).
posted by languagehat at 6:46 PM on October 3, 2007

Your public library likely has web access to NoveList, which is the best database for looking up books with "Describe a plot" searching.
posted by mgogol at 8:12 PM on October 3, 2007

The Fiction-L list is great for this sort of thing, too, with lots of librarians aboard. Just subscribe and ask your question.
posted by mediareport at 8:33 PM on October 3, 2007

This won't be helpful, but I totally read the book you're describing. I only remember a teenage girl, and there was a nuclear winter; I remember that this book was the time I'd ever seen that phrase. I also can't think of the name, and it isn't any of the ones previous posters have mentioned. Can you please post back here if/when you figure it out? Because my curiosity is piqued now. If I remember it, I'll post.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 8:51 PM on October 3, 2007

Ooh ooh! Is it Z for Zachariah? Not a trilogy, but it was the one I referred to in my last comment.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 8:57 PM on October 3, 2007

The scenario rings a bell, but it would be common to a lot of SF. Something by Andre Norton perhaps?
posted by Coaticass at 9:03 PM on October 3, 2007

The Crystal Drop?
posted by arcticwoman at 9:04 PM on October 3, 2007

Best answer: Yo Yo. I believe you're talking about the Firebrats series, by Scott and Barbara Siegel:

Book 1, Complete list. It's about two teenagers who survive a nuclear strike, then make their way across the US, trying to find 'Thunder Mountain'. My 11 year old brain says they're ace.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:13 PM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

I read The Tripods in first run when I was a kid; I keep meaning to reread them but never quite get around to it...
posted by Doohickie at 6:31 AM on October 4, 2007

My first thought was Emergence but it was not a trilogy.
posted by phearlez at 6:48 AM on October 4, 2007

Best answer: On the Firebrats series, here's

Book 1 - The Burning Land
Book 2 - Survivors
Book 3 - Thunder Mountain
Book 4 - Shockwave

These books were marketed with different covers in the UK, much cheesier.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:17 AM on October 4, 2007

I thought of the Stand, by Stephen King, but that's prbably just because it's been on TV recently.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 7:37 AM on October 4, 2007

Come back, dubold. I have a couple more ideas but don't want to expend the energy or time if someone else (Happy Dave, probably) has already found the books.
posted by iconomy at 12:53 PM on October 4, 2007

Swan Song?
posted by Mr. Ugh at 1:36 PM on October 4, 2007

Seconding iconomy. I know you've got other things to do, dubold, but we'd appreciate a follow-up here.
posted by languagehat at 11:42 AM on October 5, 2007

Dubold emailed me to say he thought I'd got it, and needed to investigate. I'm assuming we'll get an update at some point.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:49 AM on October 7, 2007

Response by poster: apologies for not coming back to this sooner. I was making my way across a post-apocalyptic America... well, not really. As I said to Happy Dave in an email, I'm unreasonably surprised to learn that someone else read these books.

now i'm wondering if I actually should re-read these books and spoil the memory of how awesome they were.
posted by dubold at 6:01 AM on November 1, 2007

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