The Last 8

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I had originally DNF shelved this book back in 2019 because I just could NOT get into it. Over a few snow days, I decided to give it another try. Perhaps part of my experience was the previous one. I was able to finish the book but there was always a kind of sense that I wasn't fully enjoying the experience. I like the main character (Clover). I love the representation supplied by a mere 8 humans. I was all on board for the government and their dang experiments. Somehow, it never really came together for me. I am waiting to see if people say the second book does that because it's just how the story goes sometimes. So, this review is better than my previous one of not being able to finish the book. However, I could not shake the odd feeling as I read it that it was okay but I wasn't in love.
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The Last 8 was a thrilling science fiction novel. Clover made a compelling protagonist with her passion for flight and space and her willingness to take initiative and risks and cling to hope in the face of seemingly impossible odds and an uncertain future. The diverse supporting cast members were distinctive and created interesting dynamics. The pacing and suspense of the story kept me turning pages, and the twists were not only mindblowing but also lent themselves to thought-provoking thematic explorations. I was ready to jump straight into the sequel when I finished.
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The last 8 was very different from what I expected and I am not certain how I feel about it. The story is narrated by Clover, a very smart girl who ends up watching everything she knows and loves be annihilated by an alien invasion. There was no warning or clear reasoning, the aliens showed up and evaporated everyone, until for some unknown reason Clover is left alive- by herself. What seemed like a potentially action packed story turned into a really sad, introverted battle with depression and lots of contemplation of suicide (even a few almost attempts that didn't follow through), the darkness only saved by the antics of a cute dog companion. Most of the story in general was very dark, way more than I anticipated for an alien story- I expected hope and gumption but instead I got angst and sorrow (which may have been more realistic to be fair, just not what I was looking for).

There were some very nice plot twists that I appreciated and a couple of awesome battle scenes but overall I could not connect to Clover who seemed a little too unemotional and the choices that were made at the end of the story made no sense at all with too easy a resolution. This is the first book in a series and while it was completely unique and had some interesting components, I don't believe I will be reading the next one. Keep in mind that I am sure other people will love this story, it was just not what I was looking for.
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This book was definitely interesting to say the least. It was really interesting learning about the different characters throughout the book and how they interacted. It definitely had a lot of different emotions throughout the book as well. This was also the first book by Laura that I have read so I am glad I was able to read a good one first by her!
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I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded interesting. But after starting and stopping a thousand times, I just gave up. There was something about the world described in the story that I just didn't care about. And didn't care much for the characters either.
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One day, Clover Martinez is a teenager in her school science fair, dreaming of flying in the sky, like her abuelo. And then, strange spaceships arrive on Earth and everything goes downhill. Suddenly, she finds herself all alone, surviving as best as she can, hiding from the aliens who took everyone she loves. Clover spends months traveling without course, until the day she hears a voice on the radio: she isn’t the last teenager on Earth.

It’s a gripping story about aliens, an honest depiction of trauma, a raw survival story. The book starts with a content warning for depression, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Clover carries grief and fear with herself, and it’s quite heartbreaking to read. The pacing, sadly, was all over the place. Although the first part had me intrigued, flying through the pages, the rest of the book was a disappointment after the other.

The thing is, as I was writing this review, I realized that The Last 8 is not a book for me. There’s nothing wrong happening here, this is just not my genre. So be aware that my review reflects my very personal feelings.

Read my full review on my blog, Latinx Magic.
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I really could not get into this. Cool idea, however it just felt... juvenile. The main character was interesting, but I found her to be slightly irritating and just, yeah no. Not for me.
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The last 8 blends suspense and adventure into this auctioned packed story. This book  was amazing! I couldn’t stop reading it. I would highly recommend this to anyone seeking a thrill.
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This one is a "did not finish" . I could not get into it. I tried many times but Something about the world it is taking place in did not interest me.
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Another excellent addition to YA dystopian lit.  The story was just different enough from other dystopian stories to make it stand out and not be boring, and you are immediately drawn to the characters. Clover was such an amazing character, as were all the other survivors, so you really feel for them as the book unfolds. It's a heavier book then it might look from the cover, but definitely worth the read.
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The Last 8 is a fantastic dystopian fiction that kept me guessing. The main character was unique and relatable. YA readers will love this book as it satisfies the constant demand for books to fill the void left by The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. The fact that Pohl does this while presenting diverse characters makes it all the better. I can't wait to read the sequel. Highly recommended.
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This title was purchased for our library collections.  A great read for all ages, particularly fans of Stranger Things and The X-Files!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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!
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