YA science fiction book: a Doper recommended it

(I think it was a Doper anyway)

Now I can’t remember it. I got it, read it, but now I can’t remember what it was - I’ve searched, but can’t seem to find the right thread.

A war (or maybe a disease) has killed off most of the population. A teenage girl (I think her name was Candy, but I’m not sure) was in her father’s secret(?) lab. Her ‘brother’ is also there - but he’s actually a parrot. Oh, the girl was adopted and the book is supposed to be her journal, and I think it was written in some type of shorthand. Turns out she was some type of mutant (maybe genetically engineered) and she heads out to find the others like her.
For some reason I think the primary setting (where her house was at least) was in West Virginia, although at some point in the book or its sequel she takes off on a trip cross country to find more people like her.
Vague enough? Yeah, I thought so too. Title or author would be incredibly helpful.

Emergence, by David R. Palmer. One of my favorite books. Try it… if you can get past the semi-shorthand prose, it’s a good yarn.

Warning: this isn’t a happy story.

David Palmer is sort of a cult author. He wrote only two novels, Emergence in 1984 and Threshold in 1985. Both attracted a small but devoted fan base. Then Palmer wrote that he was a slow writer and it was not possible for him to make a living as a fulltime writer. He said he had been writing in his spare time from his job (as I recall he was a mailman) but he now needed to get a second job and couldn’t write anymore at all. And then he stopped writing. As far as I know, he’s still working in the post office and has never written another word.

I was, to say the least, very depressing when I read this. I’ve always been a SF fan and dreamed of being an author. And here was a guy with genuine talent who had acheived my dream and had to give it up because of the daily struggles of life. Somewhere in Florida there’s a small town mailman who could have been a major author.

Thanks!

Now I can order it from the library, re-read it and maybe the plot won’t stay stuck in my head like a catchy tune. :slight_smile: