By Bailey Vaughn
I tried really hard to be open minded about this book - like with every book I set out to read. I'm kinda like a HSC examiner or marker - I'm looking to give the student as many marks as I can, but I can only mark what they give me. This book was like a coal mine. There were plenty gold nuggets...they were just hidden deep within it. They weren't mined and given the chance to shine.
The storyline was jumpy - skipping months between chapters. It was very like a fanfiction in composition, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. However, the main protagonist was very hard to like. She was (for lack of a better word) loud, frank and slightly hysterical at times.
The events that made up the plot didn't flow together. It was almost like they appeared out of thin air - jigsaw pieces from different puzzles trying to fit together. From visiting missionaries and cute guys, to secret parties, to secret relationships (love at first sight is promoted - relationships happen out of nowhere!), shootings, takeovers and people finding out they're...pregnant.
Again; there were times when we reached a crossroads and I thought "It would be so cool if the opportunity was taken to let the story go differently, or take that path." But that option was never chosen. The story just kept wandering a little aimlessly, to be honest, which made it difficult to engage with.
I look forward to seeing more works from this author in the future - ones that hopefully keep up the powerful narrative voice and connect with the reader a little more. This is a good book for a light read - that explores several ethical, as well as common dystopian, issues.