Opening: “I’d try to hold on to my stass dreams as long as I could. It’s a game I would play, struggling to keep track of those misty images that were always so easily lost.”
Rose–Rosalinda Fitzroy–wakes from stass to find that sixty-two years have passed while she slept. There’s been an apocalyptic event, and everyone she knew has died. But the corporation her parents headed has survived and she is now the heir.
Oddly enough, this book was sort of what Beth Revis was trying to do with Across the Universe and what I was trying to do with a short story I wrote a couple of months ago. However, I think Sheehan really pulls it off here. It’s a combination of a post apocalyptic story (not dystopian, hallelujah!) and a psychological exploration, with Rose’s reactions to the world she finds herself in, and the past she left behind, as important as the actions that take place. In general, this suits me just fine.
I did pretty much call the major twist, but I could also see why Rose wouldn’t. So it didn’t bother me that I knew what was going on and she didn’t.
So I appreciated this book and I liked it–it had, at the same time, a kind of old-fashioned simplicity and a lot of originality, both of which set it apart from the crowd. And while there is a bit of insta-attraction romance, there’s also a lot of complexity there and the ending is not at all what you might expect. However, I didn’t ever quite fall in completely love with it. Obviously, this is something that’s incredibly subjective, and I’ve read SUPER positive reactions. In fact, I don’t really know why I didn’t love it–it has me written all over it (character-centric, fairy tale retelling, with SECRETS), and it may be a book that requires a re-read. To sum up: please don’t let this keep you from reading it.
All in all, it’s a quiet book. The scale is small–Rose isn’t saving the world, or freeing her society. She’s not a Heroine, in that sense. But in the deeper sense of someone trying to overcome the past, trying to become more fully themselves, she certainly is. And while Rose is the center of the book and the heart of it, it’s not self-absorbed either. She cares about people, both in the abstract and the specific, and not simply as they relate to her.
And now I may have talked myself into something pretty close to love.
Book source: public library
Book information: Candlewick, 2011; YA
Book recommendation: The Book Smugglers (Thea loved it)