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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
When the Light Goes Out is an apocalyptic thriller novel written by Shawn Bartek. Ami’s life had changed forever when her dad died. It had been several months now since that awful evening, and her mom’s apparent break with reality had, if anything, worsened. Ami was now, to all intents and purposes, the “Replacement Mom” for her little sister, Dana, while their mom went on vacations with her friends. Ami also had to deal with the awkwardness of her breakup with Scott, who seemed to have replaced her with some ease. Only Marc, who shared art class with her, seemed to be able to make her laugh and forget for a few moments the confused and guilt-ridden place that had become her mind. Marc was trying to get up enough courage to ask her to the prom, but Ami seemed almost impossible to approach on that subject. They were carefully skirting around the issue when suddenly the lights started going on and off in the room. There was an emergency. Not a drill. An emergency that was life-threatening. The town was being evacuated, but Dana was alone at home. Ami had to get to her somehow.
Shawn Bartek’s apocalyptic thriller, When the Light Goes Out, is a taut and suspenseful story about a disaster waiting to happen and the impact it has on a small town. The author’s characters respond in ways that are often predictable but sometimes totally surprising. One schoolmate steals Ami’s car after getting the attention of some very frightening predators and Marc finally gets to show Ami who he really is. The disaster is one that could easily happen, and the plot of this story is terrifyingly real. When the Light Goes Out is well-written and fast-paced. It’s most highly recommended.