The Last 8

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

This title was purchased for our library collections.  A great read for all ages, particularly fans of Stranger Things and The X-Files!
Was this review helpful?
3.5 An alien apocalypse begins this YA sci-fi as we follow one girl who survives and finds seven more teenagers all holed up appropriately in Area 51. What she discovers there changes everything. It was a fun, fast read and one I didn't want to think too hard about, as there was some suspension of disbelief needed.
Was this review helpful?
The begining of this story is all about the mundane and the normal life of a sixteen year old or as normal as Clover can be when you consider that she can pilot war planes and wants to work for NASA. When the second chapter begins you know that that part of her life is over and nothing will ever be the same. The constrast between the before and after of the alien invasion was a brilliant artistic choice, I think. It makes you share her Clover’s pain. 

I liked Clover a lot, and my favourite part of the book were the six months in which she was completely alone because even though that was the darkest part of her life, that was when I got to truly know Clover’s strenght without having to bother myself with the other character’s problems. I especially loved how well she knew herself, her strenghts and weaknesses and how she was able to use that to her advantage. Even after she met the other seven survivers, she never turned off her brain, she always knew what she wanted and made sure she would get it by cunning or force.

This is an extremely diverse book with Clover being latina and the other characters being part of several different races. There is no white majority here and there is a space for lgbtq charcaters too with Clover herself being aromantic and the only couple in the book was a lesbian one. This is not a romace book. maybe because the main character is not able to feel that for other characters so it focuses instead on other types of love that are just as important.

The majority of female characters was another strong point for me, long gone the days in which we had to read about a group of boys having all the fun and one girl whose only job was being the love interest of one of the male characters. This is a book that is at the same time heartbreaking and fun with amazing plot twists and a lot of science and imagination and that mantained me on the edge of my chair from beginning to end.

Laura Pohl just became one of the authors I will be following and the fact that she is brazilian just add points to her cooleness.

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I’m a sucker for a good alien story, particularly those told by and about marginalized people. I was especially excited about The Last 8 because it featured an aromantic main character.

A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack—perfect for fans of The 5th Wave 
The Last 8 CoverClover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust. (Goodreads)

I received an eARC of The Last 8 via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Last 8 needs trigger warnings for suicide and suicide ideation, car accidents, family deaths, and mass extinction.

I liked Clover as a protagonist. She was witty and she loved everyone around her so much. She was unapologetic about being aromantic, aside from one moment where she felt like a bad person because she didn’t love her ex-boyfriend romantically.

I almost put this book aside several times because of the intensity of the suicidal ideations and suicidal thoughts. It was fairly constant and exhausting to read. It was also incredibly character driven, so The Last 8 moves incredibly slowly. Almost too slowly for me, but it may work better for you.

The ending was almost hopeful in a book that was incredibly hopeless, but I almost wish there was a chance for humanity in the end.
Was this review helpful?
The Last 8 was a fast paced, unique read you won't soon forget. It had a fantastic cast of characters on a level above most writers can create. You felt each and every emotion and situation Laura Pohl wrote.
Was this review helpful?
Well, this was interesting. It took me a little bit to gather my thoughts but I settled on the following:

First, I really liked this book for its diversity. At the center is Clover Martinez, a Latina brought up by her abuelo and abuela, which I can most definitely relate because I'm also a Latina. I don't think I've ever read a sci-fi novel with a main character that was anything other than white or male. (If I'm missing out on something, please let me know.)

I hadn't realized until now how much I like reading character-driven stories that have some apocalyptic event happening. I know that if it happened in real life, I'd most likely have a hard time dealing, but it's something that's riveting to me in fiction. Right away, we learn that aliens come and wipe everyone off the earth, except Clover survives. We don't know exactly why and a time jump into six months later, a distress call on the radio beckons her to Area 51. When she arrives, she encounters 7 other survivors.

Another thing I enjoy in books is group friendships and their dynamics. Here, we have different personalities. I found them to be unlike each other just enough that I went between knowing who was who and then becoming confused. Clover finds 7 other people who have become complacent - as if the world isn't over. They pass the time playing video games and cards and no one seems intent on finding out what's happening outside of the Area 51 cocoon. Except Clover won't have any of it. 

One of my favorite aspects is that Clover actually takes agency over her situation and in some ways, steps in as a leader of the group, helping to change the perspective of everyone. As they dig to figure out why earth and what do the aliens what, the aide of clues and the technology surrounding them, the book starts making its way towards a final conclusion - an ending that's not exactly a cliffhanger, but was baffling.

Unfortunately, there were so many things that were outlandish to the point of unbelievable, that it was easy to spot a couple of plot holes. It wasn't exactly detrimental to my reading experience but it is the reason for my lower rating. I really wanted to like this one more than I did but unfortunately, it missed the mark in some respects but yet in others, I was completely satisfied. I'm not sure if I'll continue with this series but I think it was a good effort for a debut novel.

As always, happy reading! And thank you so much to Sourcebooks for providing the ARC through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This being Pohl's debut novel, I was willing to give it leeway if it was a little clunky. But it wasn't and I found myself drawn in, only to have to put it down because university assignments loomed and I had procrastinated. Fast forward to yesterday and I was determined to leave the world behind for a few hours. It was worth it (may have even been worth a bad grade but my brain noped hardcore at that thought ^_^).

Clover is a teenager with a lot on her mind; she is hopefully headed to MIT, her boyfriend is kinda weird and clingy and her abuela is determined she gets a good education. Until people start dying and suddenly MIT doesn't seem so important anymore. The Last 8 is the story of he journey across the country endeavouring to find another living soul because I mean, noone wants to be alone when they die right? She is smart and gritty, a little clumsy when it comes to successfully driving a car - she can fly a plane so who needs vehicles right? - and just outright resilient. Basically she is flawed heroine goals and I loved her for the most part

The other 7 survivors of the apocalypse (this is not a spoiler, it literally tells you in the title) are equally resilient, comprised of some who have fought their way across the country and others who have simply stayed put but had amazing luck in not being discovered. They all have their histories, one is a medical genius, another is a hardcore mechanic who can fix anything and everything that is broken. They have all existed in relative harmony through it all - until Clover arrives and everything goes to the proverbial, meaning they need to take action.

My favourite character in the whole piece however is Sputnik, a mangy dog left without an owner who seems to attach herself to Clover while she quests across the country. This dog is pet goals to be honest - she is a loyal guardian who wold never let anything happen to her owner. Except maybe if you give her food because her stomach is the boss. I'm not sure if Sputnik was originally meant to be a character which endured through the whole novel but she appears at all the best moments and I just want to hug her, call her a good pupper and feed her all the treats. But I digress...

When I started TL8, I was expecting a kind of cliched 'oh no, there be aliens *faint*' kind of narrative like a high proportion of books involving extraterrestrials seem to be lately. Instead I got a punchy, fast paced tale, full of twists and turns that felt believable. When reading earlier chapters, I could feel Clover's desolation, her fear as she ran from her pursuers. Once she found others at *redacted*, I too wondered about the others motivations.

And let me tell you about THAT twist. As a whole, the novel was well paced but then when *redacted* happened, i literally looked at my fiance, yelled an expletive and then had to put my kindle down before I dropped it in surprise (it was SO FREAKING GOOD). By the end, I not only WANTED more, I NEED more. Not to say it isn't tied up in a neat bow (or as best as it could be under the circumstances) but I feel like there is a hole in my soul that needs filling by another of Pohl's works... But there are none yet... Excuse me while I hibernate in a corner until the next one releases.
Was this review helpful?
I love survival stories, post-apocalyptic worlds, and anything to do with space, so requesting The Last 8 was a no-brainer. The book delivered almost immediately by exterminating the entire human race within the first few chapters, which was really cool! (Not a spoiler, it's in the blurb.) I immediately drew a connection to the Themis Files series, which I recently read and enjoyed.

Despite the very strong start, there wasn't a lot after that that I really loved, though, and I had a hard time telling the side characters apart. I do give bonus points for the diverse rep - aro, Latinx, suicidal, among others. As the author says herself, pretty much everyone in this book is queer. I also loved all the nerdy references which will please many a geeky reader. Hitchhiking by towel, anyone?

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy
Was this review helpful?
4 stars

I sped through this way faster than I expected, especially given that 

(1) I was not in a sci-fi mood (I want to read more romance right now) 
(2) I read 50% while sitting in direct sunlight, sweating sunblock and sweat profusely 
(3) Did I mention that I really wanted to read a romance novel? 

BUT. I actually really enjoyed this. As much as I love romance-focused books, I greatly dislike books with other main plots that decide to pick up romance too, and I wholeheartedly stand by the idea that a traditional YA romance would have deteriorated the experience of reading The Last 8. 

Before I get into this though, let me start by saying that this book was great and action-packed and really pulled through in being enjoyable. 

I loved the action and the level-headedness Clover kept all throughout the story, which made it really focused on the plot, and let the reader think a lot about the mystery and the aliens and why these teens managed to survive on Earth when everyone else did not. 

The action was there, it was present, and even though sometimes it was just Clover driving at the beginning of the story, it was still engaging as there’s a lot of things that had happened with everyone being killed by aliens, and I really enjoyed that engagement Pohl wrote into the story. 

This was the book’s strongest point in my mind–I really enjoyed all the entertainment value in it, and that’s what made me keep on reading this novel. 

As for the romance, there wasn’t really anything grand or sweeping that took up page time or made me want to tear my hair out, which I greatly enjoyed. None of that “we’re about to die let’s kiss at the WORST POSSIBLE MOMENT” stuff going on, thank goodness. 

Plus, this book features a really diverse cast of characters, which was great to see. 

What ultimately made me drop a star was how I felt like the characters weren’t dynamic enough. I didn’t think Clover really grew a lot as a character? She didn’t get that YA growth arc, and I personally wish she learned more in the duration of the story. 

She’s smart at the beginning, smart at the middle, smart at the end. She knows what to do. And as much as it was nice getting to read a competent main character, I did feel like The Last 8 was missing a bit of the “teens are growing and learning” portion of the equation.

I wanted Clover to be more dynamic–I wanted her to really get that nice growth arc. So ultimately, although I think The Last 8 really pulled through with the plot arc, it was a bit lacking in the character portion. 

But I still love the characters, especially the scene where we got to see Clover and some of her almost self-destructive thoughts, already deciding that the other teens didn’t like her and preemptively cutting herself out of the group. 

That scene really resonated with me, because I think that sort of destructive behavior is something a lot of people experience and go through with, despite the varying levels of rationality of their conclusion. 

Overall, The Last 8 was a super fun read that somehow made me enjoy and speed through sci-fi when I was in a very much Not Sci-Fi mood. I’d recommend to anyone looking for an action-packed story feat. aliens and the last teens on Earth!
Was this review helpful?
I loved how this book grabbed my attention from the very beginning and kept my interest throughout. Imagine earth as you know it being over, and taken over by aliens. Humanity dying off one by one until you find yourself alone in the world and fearing for your safety, unsure of how many survivors are left in the world and where you can turn to. Scary situation to be in for sure. Especially for young Clover Martinez.
I enjoyed reading about Clover’s character. She was determined to fight for what she believed in, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She wasn’t afraid of anything and was a fighter. I enjoyed her character development throughout the book and reading about her character.
We are introduced to a wide variety of characters in this book, as we are introduced to 7 other survivors at the former Area 51. Events unfold here where the last teenagers on earth devise a plan to fight back the aliens and reclaim what is left of their world as they knew it. And what is with this mysterious hidden spaceship that the teenagers find? Why is it there, and why was it hidden?
Will the teenagers succeed in reclaiming the earth and keep it safe from harm of these aliens? You’ll have to read this book to find out!
Was this review helpful?
A great book with greatest characters and scenarios, 
If you love sci-fi and aliens this book is for you!! I recommend it :)
Was this review helpful?
The Last 8 is such a super interesting take on the sci-fi, aliens come to Earth and take over trope. The beginning of the book begins like a YA contemporary. Clover is a high school junior with big career aspirations to work for NASA. She lives with her grandmother and grandfather and the book opens with her flying a plane with her grandfather. When they land they have to leave for a science fair where Clover is meeting a college scout who is impressed with her project. All seems pretty normal right?

When Clover and her family return home however, they turn on the news to find out alien spaceships have been landing all over Earth and people are advised to stay in their homes. Living out in the country leaves their family a bit isolated, so Clover and a friend venture into town one morning and find everyone gone with a strange misty haze over the entire town. They eventually encounter the terrifying aliens and Clover’s friend is killed.

The book then fast-forwards six months later to when Clover has been traveling the country on her own and has not seen a single soul the entire time. She chances upon a radio station directing anyone still out in the world to make their way to Area 51. When Clover arrives she finds a group of people calling themselves the Last Teenagers on Earth. The only thing is, they aren’t doing anything. Clover has been alone and searching for people and answers for six months while her new found group hasn’t done anything. She has to decide whether to leave and start out on her own again, or stay and convince everyone to fight back.

There are lots of twists to this story! And if you’re looking for an action-packed sci-fi read, know going in that the most action takes place toward the end of the book with likely more in the sequel. It was a wild ride and once the story line picked up, it didn’t stop delivering the punches. I enjoyed the read and will definitely be looking for book 2 when it releases!

Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire & NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book!
Was this review helpful?
Ooh, how I wanted to love this book. An apocalyptic/dystopian/young adult thriller involving aliens and otherworldly problems. I was so excited. And yet, when I began reading, I was sorely disappointed. The plot hooked me quickly, but just as quickly, the narrator changed in a dramatic and unrealistic way. There were lapses in time and shifts in personality that were too strong to be logically followed.
As a high school librarian, I was really excited by this book, but sadly, cannot give it a favorable review because it was an inconsistent and hardly enjoyable book.
Was this review helpful?
*I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

To be honest, this was an impulse pick up for me. Although I enjoy Young Adult reads, this is the first that was mainly teen driven without a romantic element. And I REALLY enjoyed this!!!

Clover is a teenage Latina living on a farm in a small town in the heart of America. She's been raised by her Grandparents, one of which was a pilot for the military. This is where her love of flying comes in to play. She loves the sky. Not just the sky. She wants to join NASA one day. An engineer even expressed interest. But that all comes crashing down as soon as there's an alien invasion, destroying everyone and everything around her. But why was she spared?  

After roaming the Earth for over six months, Clover finally finds out that she's not alone. Turns out, there are seven others who have been hiding safely for as long as she's been roaming.

I'm not going to spoil the story, but this is definitely where this book takes off. We learn more about the survivors, aliens and what's next in life. This was literally a mystery read in the sense that puzzle pieces slowing get pieced together, revealing all of the answers we've been curious to know.

I will admit that I was completely SHOCKED to see that this is in fact a duo series. Especially after that ending. Now I'm totally hooked and can't wait to get my hands on the next one.
Was this review helpful?
Laura Pohl’s debut, The Last 8, is an edge-of-your-seat, sci-fi adventure that will delight readers with its likable cast. Clover Martinez was dreaming about MIT and working for NASA the day the aliens arrived on earth. It takes less than a week for the aliens to decimate her town, leaving Clover as the only survivor. With no way to contact other survivors, Clover embarks on a cross-country road trip. But with each passing day, Clover begins to believe she might be the only one left on earth and it gets harder and harder to keep going. Then everything changes when she hears a voice on the radio, calling for anyone who might still be alive to come join them. Clover is not alone. When she makes it to Area 51, she find a group of teens hiding out, oblivious to just how dire their circumstances are. Clover isn’t one to just give up and so she makes it her mission to convince them to fight back. When the group discovers what the aliens are really after, they have a chance to stop the destruction of their planet but at a great cost to the tight-knit family they’ve created for themselves. No matter what they decides to do, nothing will ever go back to normal.

Clover is my kind of protagonist. When disaster strikes, she’s calm and calculating. She doesn’t let her emotions get the best of her and I loved that despite the losses she suffers, there’s that part of her that still wants a chance to live and thrive. Clover is also one of the few aromantic lead characters I’ve come across. There is a really important secondary storyline where Clover talks about learning that she isn’t romantically attracted to anyone. I loved that an aro character got to be MC in a science-fiction novel as most aro and/or ace characters appear in contemporary novels. Though Clover is a self-sufficient kind of character, the kind I’m immediately drawn to, I loved seeing her discover that the bonds she makes with the other survivors are also important when it comes to facing the end of the world. She goes from “I don’t need anyone” (which is probably true) to “I don’t need anyone, but these people have become my friends and I’d rather face the apocalypse with them by my side.”

The supporting cast of The Last 8 is one of the highlights of the novel and my only criticism is that we don’t get a chance to spend more time with them. Brooklyn runs the Apocalypse Radio Station and is an absolute ray of sunshine. She brings a level of humor that is vital in any end of the world scenario. I really wanted to see more of her relationship with Avani, the group’s genius scientist. There is a lot of romantic tension between the two and I really wanted to know what happened or didn’t happen between them in the past. Flint is incredibly nerdy and would have loved more scenes with him. Rayen is the epitome of badass and is probably the one character besides Clover that I’d want on my apocalypse team. Adam reminds Clover of her ex-boyfriend and is the first person she opens up to when she arrives. Violet is the official leader of the group. She’s hard and defensive because she believes she has to be in order to keep this group alive. I really liked her interactions with Clover as the two are really mirror images of one another. Andy has been by Violet’s side from the beginning and her hacker skills have come in handy with all the information Area 51 carries.

The Last 8 is at its core a novel about friendship and how strong these bonds can be. It’s about teens making mistakes and just trying to survive in a world that counted them out. If you like fun, end-of-the-world kind of stories, Laura Pohl’s debut needs to be on your radar. TW: suicidal thoughts, suicide.
Was this review helpful?
I gave this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I was very excited for this book but while it was a enjoyable read, it still had it's flaws. I feel like the character development was lacking. While I like the main character, I just couldn't connect with the side characters. Also felt like the plot got to a stand still once I got to the middle of the book since the first and last part of the book held my attention while the middle didn't. I do think the author handles Clover's ptsd, depression and suicide ideations really well.
Was this review helpful?
If you like aliens, you’ll like this one. I’m not a big fan, but it seemed good, so I wanted to read it... It was somewhat an enjoyable read, with the right amount of action or emotional scenes, but at the same time... many things are unbelievable and left me sceptical. In the end, the sceptical feeling was the strongest, so I’m giving it 2 stars. But like I said, if you like aliens, you’ll like this one. 

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Clovers struggle with the alien invasion was more authentic than most Ive read. I liked her determination to fight back when odds were against them. It was interesting to see a character who is way more logical than emotional. She knows chances are she will die, but she wants to go down fighting. I loved seeing Clover opening up and developping genuine friendships for the first time. Theres a touching moment between her an Violet that was really sweet. Some of my favorite side characters were Brooklyn and Adam, but their leader Violet also started to grow on me. I thought this would have more of a female/female romance, but its with two side characters and we see very little of it. Thankfully the plot was gripping all on its own without any romance and we still got some ace representation.

With the threat of aliens finding them at any moment the story is filled with tension. I liked how all my questions kept me turning the pages. I read the whole thing in less than two days which I havent done in a while. The reveals really took me by surprise, but it does require some suspension of disbelief which is not uncommon in alien invasion books so it wasnt a big deal to me. I dont know why the crew were all fine with Avani not sharing the alien data she was collecting. I liked the books message that we are stronger together.  I was surprised by how easily I understood the spanish being used. I think the context the author gave really helped. Another reason I was able to read it so quickly was the writing. It didnt have too many descriptions and it flowed easily from one sentence to the next.

Since we dont get that many details I was left wanting more information on the aliens and their technology. We get enough world building for the story to work, but I still have some questions Id like answered like why the aliens didnt attack moving cars and why the weather was getting hotter. Ive never read anything set in area 51 and its always intrigued me because I love a good conspiracy theory so I thought that was exciting. I have a major weakness for animal companions so I was delighted to find out Clover had a dog following her everywhere. I also really appreciated a diverse cast with the main character being Mexican American. We get an intense ending that wrapped up the storyline nicely so Im not sure what the sequel will be like, but Im excited to see what they find on their journey.

Review just went live afternoon of March 6th.
Was this review helpful?
Imagine War of the Worlds meets a psychological examination of the survivors of the alien invasion. Imagine the survivors are eight teens. This is the premise Laura Pohl brings us with The Last 8. A young Mexican-American teen named Clover Martínez is coming back from her school’s science fair when an alien invasion commences. No one knows what they are or why they’re on Earth, until the aliens start attacking the population. Slowly, but surely, Clover’s friends and family all die, leaving her to her own devices. 
Dealing with survivor’s guilt, trauma, and suicidal ideation, Clover travels around the US in an attempt to find any more human survivors. With only a dog by her side, she accidentally comes across a radio transmission from some survivors who are hiding in what was Area 51. She hastily makes her way there, literally crashing her car into the base. As Clover starts recuperating, she realizes all the survivors in the base, including her, are teens: 8 in total. She also begins to realize that none of the kids know how devastating the invasion was, with their fearless leader, Violet, doing everything in her power to prevent Clover from exposing this. The teens are surviving, but not fighting back, which makes Clover incredibly frustrated and leads her to becoming more reckless in order to find out how to defeat the aliens. 
There are secrets, deaths, and plot twists that perhaps you won’t see coming, all while still finding pockets of light in a text that could be heavy for some. Mental health is a major theme of the book, especially in terms of trauma and suicidal tendencies. Pohl doesn’t shy away from the realities of the topic, especially how depression tends to be depicted as an individual thing that people suffer from but it affects everyone around you as well. That’s also another major theme in the book: how the decision of one person can affect a collective. 
And the collective is stronger together than they are individually, it’s made clear time and time again. Though all of them have individual strengths (for example, Clover is a great pilot/engineer while Avani is great at biology), whenever they try to go their separate ways they seem to be drawn to each other, to seeking each other’s help. 
However, because they go they act like such a collective most times, it was kind of hard to discern each character’s personalities. At times they could be so one-dimensional, but it wasn’t until they got one-on-one face time with Clover that we can actually see their differences (I will never forgive Laura for making me read about r*ylo in a published book). Even still, those one-on-ones were my favorite moments of the book: like when Rayen and Clover do the interrogation, or any time Clover and Violet confront each other. The character death in the book is, while unnecessary, necessary in that… the character was just boring. For me, at least. 
At some point the book turns from dystopian sci-fi to space opera, which is where the author’s Star Wars influence may have come into play. I have no idea what the second book in the duology will be about, seeing as the ending of the book tied up the narrative quite neatly, even while leaving a lot in the air in terms of the logistics of their escape (I’m being purposefully vague here, I don’t wanna give too much away). 
Still, The Last 8 is an enjoyable ride full of twists that leave you with whiplash, while reiterating that though teens are susceptible to live with trauma, they are able to have fun. They go on joyrides and have parties and listen to Hamilton and play videogames. It’s a book that’s chockful of the recklessness and defiance that comes with being a teenager, all brought to the forefront in a world that’s been overrun by aliens. All of this is brought with a diverse cast (I’ll list them at the end), a well-paced storyline that kept me guessing, and harsh realness that has me interested in the next installment of the series.
Was this review helpful?
Sometimes I like to read something O normally wouldn't read so I picked this book and I wasn't disappointed at all. I know we have all wondered about aliens and whether they exist or not. It's a great escapism book so if you're looking for something completely different to loose yourself in pick this up. Happy reading!
Was this review helpful?