Review: Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien



Ann Burden has been living alone in a valley for over a year – until Loomis, a scientist in a radiation-proof suit, arrives. She hopes they will be companions but his behaviour towards her becomes increasingly threatening as he attacks her and then cuts off her food supply and tries to bring her under his control. Although there may be no one else alive, Ann steals his suit and leaves the valley in search of humanity


This is my first ever reread of a book, and I think I made a good choice. I originally read this book back in school when I was around 13, but since then had forgotten what it was mostly about. What I mainly remembered was that it was quite dark and there was one particular scene that was definitly a shock for me as a young teenager. With all this combined, I thought this book would be the perfect reread. It was only when I looked it up on Goodreads before going on holiday that I realised it was a YA novel, however, and this is a big deal!!!, that definitely didn’t make me enjoy this book any less.

Due to the fact I had a vague recollection of what happened in this story, as I progressed through the novel, certain things that were happening rang a bell with me and I knew where they were leading. I think, much like with Rosemary’s Baby, this actually made the book a little more enjoyable for me. Being able to see where things were going made the actions of Mr Loomis all the more sinister and nerve-wracking. I had forgotten just how intense and uncomfortable this novel becomes towards the end. I was actually doing the cliche of holding my breath without realising.

The writing in this book is simple, due to the YA label I suppose, but it’s still brilliant at building tension and I never felt it was childish. Characterisation was also superb. Just like Ann, you never really get to know Mr Loomis very well and that invisible wall between him and us leaves us feeling uneasy about his presence. Ann, on the otherhand, is a wonderful character, both adult and childlike at the same time, she’s incredibly endearing. She’s strong, determined, and kind hearted all the way through the novel, there’s never any doubt who is in the right and who is in the wrong.

I also love the progression the characters take throughout this novel. From meeting Mr Loomis right at the start and seeing his speedy progression into what he becomes. And then with Ann, seeing her quick mind working and being able to learn from her mistakes in order to outwit and outsmart Mr Loomis when necessary.

I absolutely loved this book. It’s about survival, the good and bad of human kind, and making hard decisions. At the end of the day, I think this is a bit of a feminist novel… I don’t want to say much more incase you haven’t read it and want to, but let’s just say it’s about a young teenage girl overcoming more than just the aftermath of nuclear war. I think it’s a must read even for adults, sure it’s YA, but it’s dark and doesn’t come across as juvenile. Highly recommended for any dystopian lovers.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*Buy it here: Amazon UK | Book Depository | Wordery

Note: I am on holiday for 2 weeks! I have access to WiFi but I probably won’t be checking my blog or social media too often, so please excuse my late responses to your comments!

Also, I’ve written this on my tablet, so if the formatting looks a little off, that’s why! I’ll sort it out and get a banner image made when I get back home.

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9 Replies to “Review: Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien”

    1. I personally don’t get the point if rereading… if I already know what happens…
      With this one I remembered very little, hence why I picked it up again. Each to their own tho! I just like always picking up something new 😄


      1. I do like picking up new books, but there are times when I like revisiting “old friends” too. Though, I do find that the re-reads I enjoy are almost never thrillers or mysteries. I wonder if our preferred genre plays a part in whether or not re-reads are enjoyable?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s a good point, you’re probably right! I suppose the appeal of a thriller is the twist, so once you know it, it’s not as fun to read. Although, saying that, I love to rewatch my favourite thriller movies!


    1. I know!! Insane!!
      I’m going to check out the other books in this collection of “Penguin Originals”, I’ve already seen a few more I like the look of and they’re all YA, so maybe! I think maybe I need to read older YA fiction? This didn’t seem very YA whereas newer stuff I’ve read has felt a little more “childish” – who knows!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I really love this book! It is written in such a straight-forward way that is absolutely terrifying. I love the ending. It’s one that I’ve reread multiple times and will read again someday.

    Liked by 1 person

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