Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

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It could happen tomorrow . . .
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

Gripped me from beginning to end – dark, creepy and suspenseful.  James Dashner,
New York Times Best-Selling author of The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials       
A haunting and epic story of survival in a shattered world, ASHES is a must read.  
Michael Grant, New York Times Best-Selling author of Gone


About Ilsa J. Bick

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Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, film scholar, former Air Force major, and now a full-time author. Her critically acclaimed, award-winning YA novels include Draw the Dark, Drowning Instinct, and Ashes (a 2011 VOYA Perfect Ten). Ilsa currently lives in rural Wisconsin, near a Hebrew cemetery. One thing she loves about the neighbors: they're very quiet and only come around for sugar once in a blue moon. Visit her online at or and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Published September 6, 2011 by EgmontUSA. 481 pages
Genres: Horror, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ashes

Kirkus Reviews

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Wild dogs in the area seem to have run mad, and did Alex actually see two teenagers eating an old woman?

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The Guardian

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Ashes by Ilsa Bick, the first book in the Ashes trilogy, takes place in the present, when 17-year-old Alex hikes up a mountain to try and clear her head, but is brought to a sickening stop by a crushing force that wipes out anyone over 60 and leaves the survivors with either a supernatural sense…...

Nov 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Ashes

Publishers Weekly

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Miles from nowhere, she hikes with new companions—an obstinate eight-year-old orphan named Ellie and a young soldier named Tom—as they try to make sense of things.

Jul 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Ashes


She does this many times throughout the book, and the reader quickly begins to read faster to find out what Alex was responding to.

Sep 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Ashes


If the book had stayed at the same pace as it was in the beginning this book would have been an easy ‘A.’ Ashes is still worth a reader, but beware that the first half of the book is by far the best part.

Feb 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Ashes

RT Book Reviews

The Changed don’t just change.

Sep 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Ashes

The Bookbag

She is enjoying - as much as she could enjoy anything - the solitude and her memories, cruelly truncated by the cancer, which come in tiny, sparkling, precious moments.

Oct 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Ashes

Deseret News

Ashes is a unique take on the zombie mythos, tying in scientific possibility and probability for what would cause such a change in personal behavior and the use of EMP technology to end the world as we currently know it.

Sep 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Ashes

The British Fantasy Society

But not to despair: it picked back up again and Alex, the main character, was plunged head-first into an entirely new bizarre situation upon her arrival in a town named Rule, a place mainly occupied by the elderly and the ‘Spared’ ‘ those not in want of living human flesh and, in some cases, the ...

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WAPL Teens

It's when she's talking to them that it happens, Jack (the old man) is dead, and while Alex felt an immense pain she is mostly okay, and Ellie comes running back.

Feb 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Ashes


The emotional journey in this book is astounding and you' re with Alex every step of the way.

Apr 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Ashes

Your Entertainment Corner

The other characters in the novel, various older adults who survived the Zap (what Alex labels the EMP incident), weigh time differently since time is already at a minimum for them.

Sep 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Ashes

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