After reading this novel I realised that I do sometimes live in a bubble. A quick internet search shows that California had the ‘Colbert Bump’ which both skyrocketed sales and brought the story under scrutiny from dystopian purists who are always going to be a hard crowd to please.
In the near future Los Angeles is in ruins. Like all other cities, gangs run wild and the residents live in poverty.
Frida and Cal decide to risk everything and move to the wilderness. They keep to themselves and eke out a difficult living until they discover a secret community who can keep them safe.
First Impressions: The dystopian setting was believable and I liked the two main characters. There was something about their story that drew me in.
Highlights: I really liked the authors writing style. They mystery about the secret community was good although I would have liked even more intrigue! I was upset by the way the community ‘managed’ its children and although this detail isn’t necessarily a highlight per se (!) it did affect me. I liked the way the story ended too although it was far from a neat and satisfying resolution.
If I was an editor: The references to the (Utopian) Plank College attended by Cal were a good part of the story but maybe there were too many. I also thought the deterioration of Frida and Cal’s relationship was expected but a little out of character as their strength was that they were always open and honest with each other.
Overall: There was something I just really liked about this novel and the author’s writing style.
California: 4 stars
Thank you to Little, Brown for a copy of the ARC