I do not give out 5 stars to all of the books I read, but after a really horrible day, when I thought about what to write about on my blog tonight, I thought that maybe I'd better go with something that made me happy, rather than something that would make me any crankier.What a lead in. Yikes.I loved Madeleine and her friends! I am so glad I took a chance on reading this. I am a little leery of self-published books, not that a traditionally published book is guaranteed to be good, but at least it goes through a few more stages than self-published books might...No worries, here though. This is a well-written (i.e. good grammar! lovely, clear sentences!), interesting story, that kept me up nice and late when I should have been sleeping. Um, yeah, like now, when I'm writing this review and ought to be in bed...I'm going to avoid writing too much, so I don't inadvertently spoil anything. The story is unusual, and deserves to be discovered as you read, not in a spoiler.One small quibble is that the cast was overly large for me: I had a bit of trouble keeping track of some of the characters, they seemed to overlap in my mind a bit. Most of them, though, are fleshed out enough to be interesting, and I really loved the fact that the group was very diverse. And the diversity didn't feel forced (i.e. I didn't feel like the author was trying to check off certain ethnic and sexual orientation categories on a list).I very much want to visit Australia some day, so it was especially fun to read something set in Sydney. A lot of the dystopian /post-apocalyptic fiction I've read lately has "felt" US-centric, so reading something set somewhere that was completely foreign to me was a nice change. It makes me want to go there even more than I did before!And of course, this is not post-apocalyptic: this is happening during the apocalypse itself. I found myself sitting back several times thinking about how much I agreed with the author about how certain things would probably go if an actual apocalyptic event took place.Bottom line: highly recommended if you are looking for a fast-paced, unique adventure with some nice humor (humour?) and a sweet (and well-done) romance.