Post-apocalyptic novel with smart teenage girl who survived in a bomb shelter built by her father. She thinks she's the only one left, but isn't. Probably from the 1970s. I liked it then, curious what I'd think now.

  • Can you remember any actual events from the book, any description of the girl, her name, what kind of shelter it was, was it a nuclear attack or something elese?
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 1:40
  • There are way too many possible answers for us to get this through any method but random guesses unless we get more information. Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 2:58
  • 2
    Was there a parrot? Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 17:28
  • Thanks for the suggestions; i'll look for "Z for Zachariah" and "Emergence" and update this after i'v read them. As for additional details, my memory is not reliable and tends to mix up various stuff that i've read. But no parrot.
    – garicao
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 0:14
  • I found a copy of "Z for Zachariah" and that's not it. Will look for "Emergence".
    – garicao
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 4:24

2 Answers 2


Emergence, by David Palmer?

It fits each of the points you provide:

  • The main character is teenage girl (actually 11yo, but close enough)
  • She has a super high IQ
  • Survives in a bomb shelter under her home
  • Ends up finding other people who are left

It's not from the 1970's though (1984)

  • It's worthwhile highlighting why you think this is the right answer in the event that your link stops working or changes
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 1:06
  • Please explain how this book "fits each of the points" the OP lists. In particular, this books was published in 1984, and the OP remembers 1970s, so it seems it doesn't fit at least one point the OP provides.
    – Martha
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 2:36
  • 2
    Apparently the novel is an expansion of David R. Palmer's novelette of the same title, which was first published in 1981 Analog. I haven't read the novel, but the novelette is what the OP's description reminded me of.
    – user14111
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 10:59
  • Emergence had an interesting, condensed, writing style - like shorthand. This should be memorable to whoever has read it.
    – user71418
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 14:53

Possibly Z for Zachariah by Robert O'Brian. "Nuclear war has devastated America, except for the valley where Ann Burden has been living alone for over a year - until Loomis, a scientist in a radiation-proof suit, arrives." Published in 1976.

  • Good book, but it's the guy who survives in a bomb shelter. The girl just happens to live in a valley that is unaffected by the nuclear stuff.
    – Bobo
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 23:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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