Louisa May Alcott may as well have been writing about me when she wrote "She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain!" But I am a staunch believer that there is no such thing.
Let’s face it; self-published novels are hit or miss. And we all know they’re usually far more miss than hit. But Gretchen Powell has hit this one clear out of the park.
Terra is responsible for providing for her little brother and herself. In the world she lives in, there aren’t many options for a poor, orphaned grounddweller – but she found that she has a knack for scavenging – digging outside the gates of the district for bits of metal or plastic to turn in for currency. She ventures further outside of the gates than anyone else and finds an odd metal machine that nets her an obscene amount of credits – not life changing money but a solid amount that will last for months. Suddenly, her world is turned upside down. Her neighbors and acquaintances turn on her because she is no longer one of them. Her brother doesn’t understand why they can’t spend it all now. And Terra understands how quickly it can all turn around again. So she picks a day when no one else will be out and decides to go scav again – hoping to find more bits of machinery. Little does she know, she’s about to meet someone who will turn her life inside out. Adam saves her from Raiders – men who would kill you to take anything of value you might possess. Terra believes Adam is from one of the sky cities because of his blue eyes and fair skin. Adam has lost his own research team and goes with Terra back to her district hoping to find out what may have happened to them. And then… well THINGS HAPPEN. That blurb up there? It tells you nothing of these THINGS.
Some of the things (okay, only one) were predictable. I have to admit that – but honestly, it’s hard to write any YA dystopian novel that doesn’t have some element of predictability in it. I mean really – there’s nothing new under the sun. What bothered me was that while it was so predictable to me it was so very not predictable to Terra. But then – in her world, she hasn’t read hundreds of YA novels, so it’s probably unfair for me to expect her to know what I know. So I will give this one a pass.
One of my very favorite things about this novel was the way it was written. I was in the dark as much as Terra was about almost all of the THINGS. Except for that one really predictable thing. I found out what was going on with her government and everything right alongside her – and you know, with dystopian novels that is really hard to pull off. I mean sure – I knew that the government was going to be evil – they always are (and no – that’s not the predictable thing, that’s just a given). But I could feel things clicking into place in my head as they clicked into place in hers. I love it when that happens. I hate it when I can see the future in a book – it takes all of the fun out. Or, most of it, anyway.
The writing style of the book was simple and pure and elegant. That doesn’t surprise me, as I’ve been following Gretchen’s personal blog for quite some time. She’s always been someone who uses her writing to relate to people – no matter who is reading. And that writing is easy to see on every page.
Overall, I really loved this book. I hope Gretchen has already started the sequel – I really don’t want to wait an entire year for it to come out.