by Amy Plum
(Somewhat Spoilery) Publisher's Blurb:
She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.
World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.
At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.
When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.
Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
My Reaction (with SPOILERS):
I think I'm just a little burned out on paranormal YA as a genre. That's not to say I won't read it again, but come on! It sometimes seems that's almost the only type of YA being written, these days. (Well... That and dystopian YA.) I understand why authors gravitate toward it. It's popular (and sometimes translates into movie deals); authors want to attract readers and make money. I just wonder when the next "big thing" will come along...
Maybe part of the problem, this time, was that I wasn't expecting a paranormal element. The blurb sounded like something different, so it came as an unpleasant surprise that Juneau can "do magic". After a certain point, I was sick of Yara this, Yara that-- and I found myself rolling my eyes at every "Oh, Gaia!" (Oh, please!)
To be honest, I was also put off by a quotation at the beginning of the book. The collective unconscious? Um, no thanks. The professor of the creative writing class I took in college had his students buy and read a book on that subject. I've had my fill.
The book seemed to improve toward the very end (or maybe I was just excited because I knew it was almost over, ha!), but good grief, what a cliff-hanger of an ending! Since I'm not sure I care enough to bother with the second book (of how many?), I'm not thrilled about the cliff-hanger. But who are we kidding? We know what's going to happen. Miles will pull through, and now he'll have the same abilities that Juneau has (though probably not immediately at the same level, since she's special). They'll eventually find her clan and blah blah blah, happily ever after. The rest of the story is up in the air, but there's never a second of doubt that Miles will survive that gunshot wound.
...I just didn't care for it, and once I knew it wasn't my style and that it was the first in a series, I didn't invest in the characters, because I'm probably never going to finish the series. (The second book is due out next month-- May 2015-- I think.)
I wouldn't mind knowing what exactly was going on with Juneau's clan. Did her mentor betray them? (And did they kill their own dogs when they bugged out?) Is their special connection to the Yara due to the "medicine" they've taken? (What kind of scientists test that sort of thing on themselves, anyway?) Will they share the fountain of youth with the rest of the world? How is that going to work out? (Just imagine the population explosion if people don't die from disease or old age. If people continue to have children at the usual rate...) But the alternative-- keeping their virtually eternal youth a secret for themselves...
However, I still don't know that I care enough to slog through another two (or more?) books to learn the answers.
Final note: I listened to the audiobook version. Rarely do I like books as well in audio format as I do in text-- but every now and then I do like having something other than music to listen to and think about while I'm cooking, cleaning, or crafting. Sometimes the audio format is just fine (though still, I repeat, never as good as reading the words with my own eyes). Other times... This was one of those other times. I didn't like the way the female narrator emphasized things. It did nothing to help me like Juneau.