I first encountered this one through an engaging review posted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reader blog and put it on my list, but then I got the opportunity to snag it up. I’ve come to enjoy YA Dystopians with government conspiracies, independent characters hunting for the truth, slow build thriller excitement and a dash of character and romance development for good measure. This book had all that in spades. I think I only set the book down once and now I am anxious to find out what happens next.
The story opens with young Sylvia Wood working as a mortuary intern to an eccentric man who is her only friend. She is stable and content, but her widowed mother wants more for her. Eight years before, Sylvia’s dad died in an industrial fire and Sylvia went to pieces which marked her as unstable so she wasn’t assigned to the botany job she wanted and her friends fell away.
After WWIII, a New World Order government took over and regulated everything and watched over everything so that ordinary citizens have no privacy and no say. Most people seem to be content and have drank the Kool-Aid because the government cares for all their needs and protects them from all the scary world outside the safety of the cities. But Sylvia isn’t like most. She privately observes and questions. There are things that don’t make sense and unlike many, she has been harassed by her so-called protectors as they tried to shake her down for info on her dad after he died.
Sylvia learns of a foot race from a young guy at her gym and the benefits of participating in the race will allow her extra rations, time outside, and potential advancement and glory. While her new running buddy is into the advancement and glory part, Sylvia is only interested in doing something to make her mother proud. Plus, Liam is nice and it gives her contact with his mysterious brooding cousin who warns them that all is not as it seems. Entering this race might be a huge mistake for a girl who doesn’t want to draw attention from the government ever again.
Alright, so this one was engaging from page one. I enjoyed the slow introduction to the dystopian world and the colorful deft descriptions of setting and backstory. The main character is Sylvia and she narrates in first person point of view which kept me right in close to her thoughts and the action. She’s a great heroine and I enjoyed following along with her story.
The pace is steady and I enjoyed how the author infused a tone that had me as the reader well aware that things are getting more ominous and dangerous by the minute even as Sylvia engages in daily activities and interactions with the people around her. She has to keep up the facade 24/7 and knows that she is always watched. She has had to grow up fast after her dad’s death.
The relationships were also a strong element and not just her romance interest. Refreshingly, Sylvia is no lovestruck girl and the focus of the story was broader than that. Sylvia interacts with her mom, her friend at work who is probably my favorite character, her new relationships with Liam and finally with his cousin to whom she is drawn, but also is wary of.
The ending brought answers in a stunning finish, but also did the job of opening up more questions for what is to come. I was left eager to continue on with Sylvia and her quest.
All in all, this was one fantastic read that I can gladly recommend to others who enjoy a blend of thriller and dystopian with their YA and a mild romance.
My thanks to Curiosity Quills for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #77 YA
Literary Pickers #75 Dystopian
Mt. TBR #37
New to Me #31 author/series
Books N Tunes #12 The Doors’ Light My Fire
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