Part 2, Section 2 Summary

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12) Jacqui

Jacqui refuses to tell Alyssa and the others what happened at the beach because she believes the truth is too harsh for them to handle. That day, she’d stood in line for water just like everyone else when two of the six desalination machines started to malfunction. People rioted until the police came and started detaining them. In the end, most of the crowd ended up either severely injured or dead.

Jacqui, Alyssa, Garrett, and Kelton eventually find the BMW parked in a back lot. Jacqui finds a bottle of water in the car, which she claims for herself. She sits in the driver’s seat and elects for Kelton to sit shotgun, as she believes that Kelton is easier to manage than Alyssa.

13) Alyssa

There is tension between Alyssa and Jacqui, as the two don’t trust each other. Kelton and Alyssa learn that Jacqui is nineteen and that she was a student at their high school, Mission Viejo High, before she dropped out. Kelton is awed to learn that Jacqui is the same Jacqui Costa who had achieved a near perfect score on the SATs.

Jacqui drops Alyssa and Garrett off at their house, and the two are surprised to find their front door open. Their house has been ransacked, and their pet dog, Kingston, appears to have invited two feral-looking dogs inside. One of them, a Doberman Pinscher, moves to attack Alyssa and Garrett. The two siblings are forced to run back to the car.

14) Kelton

Kelton leads the others to his house. His parents meet him at the door, and Marybeth berates him for worrying her. Richard is angered to learn that Kelton promised Jacqui antibiotics, as he isn’t willing to share theirs. Kelton throws a fake tantrum to convince Richard to take in Alyssa, Garrett, and Jacqui for the time being.

Kelton gives the group a tour of his home. As promised, he gives Jacqui two bottles of antibiotics. He then goes to the garage to apologize to his father. Richard tells him that they will be leaving for their bug-out—an emergency shelter—tomorrow. The two then share a heartfelt moment, and Kelton manages to convince Richard to let Alyssa, Garrett, and Jacqui stay in their house while they’re gone.

15) Alyssa

Alyssa plans to go to the neighborhood community meeting, the one advertised on the pink flyer posted on the McCrackens’ front door. She steals bottles of water from the McCrackens’ safe room and stuffs them inside Kelton’s backpack. Marybeth catches her in the act but encourages her to continue.

At the meeting, the adults are stunned to discover that Alyssa has water. However, they immediately begin fighting over the bottles and end up taking them from her. After Alyssa leaves, she realizes that Kelton’s name was stenciled on the backpack.

At dinner, Richard announces that he, Marybeth, and Kelton will be leaving for their bug-out. He then tells Alyssa that he’ll be leaving her in charge of the house. All of them then receive a text alert saying that the state of California has been placed under martial law.

16) Kelton

That night, Kelton is awakened by their motion detector alarms. His parents stand in the living room, fearful of the pounding at the door. Dozens of people with flashlights are outside their home. An intruder is able to unlock their front door, and Richard immediately shoots him. They realize too late that it is Brady, their eldest son.

The mob outside infiltrates the house. Stunned at his brother’s death, Kelton picks up his father’s shotgun and resolves to kill them all.

(This entire section contains 979 words.)

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The mob outside infiltrates the house. Stunned at his brother’s death, Kelton picks up his father’s shotgun and resolves to kill them all.

17) Jacqui

Alyssa knocks Kelton unconscious with a picture frame. She then tries to convince Richard and Marybeth to leave with them, but the two are too grief-stricken to even move. Jacqui and Garrett carry the unconscious Kelton to the BMW.

Jacqui and Garrett drive around, not knowing where to go. They wake Kelton up, and he demands to go back and save his parents. Garrett reassures him that the mob only wants water—they won’t hurt Richard and Marybeth. They eventually learn from Kelton that the McCrackens’ bug-out is located in the Angeles National Forest, and they would need a car with an elevated four-wheel drive to get there. The group decides to visit Uncle Basil and borrow his pickup truck.


The latter half of part 2 is the culmination of all of the novel’s foreshadowing concerning the McCrackens. In part 1, two different neighbors come to Richard to ask for help, but Richard turns them down. Additionally, he neither turns off nor dims his lights despite the neighborhood-wide blackout, parading his resources in the middle of extreme scarcity. Marybeth tells him that she doesn’t “want to flaunt our electricity to the neighbors any more than we already have,” but Richard lacks her tact and sensitivity. It is clear that he refuses to think of anyone but himself and his family. This is something that even Jacqui notices, as she thinks to herself that the raiding of the McCrackens’ house is “inevitable.” As someone who has been living alone for years, she recognizes that one must keep a low profile in order to avoid being targeted.

When Kelton goes to apologize to Richard for pressuring him to take in Alyssa, Garrett, and Jacqui, he witnesses his father in a rare moment of vulnerability. Although Richard does not open up to him, Kelton sees for the first time the amount of fear in his father’s eyes. He realizes that his father’s paranoia and overpreparedness is his way of trying to protect himself and his family from what he believes to be a ruthless world. However, this overt fear eventually leads to disastrous results, as Richard ends up accidentally hurting the people he loves—such as Brady, his eldest son.


Part 2, Section 1 Summary


Part 3, Section 1 Summary