I'm looking for a book I read as a teenager (a long time ago!) but I forgot the name. What I can remember is that for some reason everyone older than 12 was dead and those 12 and under were left on their own to get by. If anyone knows this book could you please tell me the title and author? Thanks!!!

  • 1
    That's not much to go on. Can you remember any other details? When were you a teenager? Was it a children's book? Was there cover art?
    – Izkata
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 1:59
  • 2
    Hi Melissa. Welcome to StackExchange. I am confident we can help you find your book. What will help us is if you can provide any additional information. E.g. you mention you read it as a teenager (a long time ago). When was "a long time ago? :-) Too, as the story line of adults dying and leaving only children is a very common science fiction trope, are there any additional details you can provide on the plot, storyline, etc. Perhaps a recollection of what the cover looked like. Juvenile fiction or adult? Any little detail can make the difference in someone remembering it. Thx and welcome.
    – beichst
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 2:00
  • Jeremiah was originally a comic book. Is it possible that this wasn't a novel?
    – John O
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 4:05
  • There is also a Star Trek TOS episode where everybody dies upon entering puberty. But I'm sure you didn't mean that.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 14:02
  • 3
    This is an entire trope
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 10 at 4:16

3 Answers 3


Is it *The Girl Who Owned a City? From the summary:

A deadly virus has swept the world, killing off everyone over the age of twelve in the span of a month or so. In suburban Chicago, ten-year-old Lisa Nelson and her younger brother Todd are surviving, like all the children in the story, by looting abandoned houses and shops. Although there are abandoned cars in every driveway and lining every street, Lisa is the first child to think of driving one. She is also the first to think of raiding a farm, and the first to look at the dwindling supplies in stores and deduce that groceries come from warehouses. She finds a supermarket warehouse and raids it, enlisting the help of a neighbor boy her own age, but makes sure that he does not tell anyone because she will use the supplies to create a militia.

The first edition cover, from Wikipedia:


A list of other cover art

  • 1
    For trivial knowledge, this premises is similar to the plot for the episode "Miri" in the first season of Star Trek: TOS.
    – RomaH
    Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 14:09

Sounds just a tiny little bit like Shade's Children by Garth Nix.

However this is a bit of a long shot. The kids aren't left alone, instead there's a bunch of 'overlords' who are playing a sort power game but using real life as the board. And here everyone over 14 just randomly disappears, instead of everyone over 12 dying. (It's also not particularly old being published 1997)


The Kindling by Jennifer Armstrong?

In the year 2002, a mysterious illness explodes through the world, spreading panic and killing adults with a horrible, incurable fever. Only children survive the initial outbreak. Most, having lost their protection and being too young to protect themselves, fall to wild animals or hunger. But in Lazarus, Florida, a small group of lucky (or not-so-lucky) children manages to find each other. They form a family, scavenging everything they need to live from the ruins of Lazarus for years, believing they are probably the last people alive.

After five years, their simple life begins to fall apart. Their town has been picked almost to the bone. Two small children suddenly appear on the streets, apparently with no one to take care of them. A teenage boy knocks on their door, saying things no one understands that may or may not be from the "before-time". He uproots the family, dragging them with him on a quest they don't understand, away from Lazarus, in a madman's search to find Washington and the enigmatic "President".

  • 1
    Hi. Could you edit this to explain how The Kindling matches the book described in the question? It'd help other users determine how likely it is to be the correct answer. Commented Apr 10 at 2:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.