1st I would like everyone to know that I had not realized this book was so controversial before I read it.
2nd I would like to formally apologize, here in writing, to Laurie Frost and Harlequin Teen for all the backlash and mudslinging that occurred. I do this on behalf of any of the people who never read the book and rated it poorly, or slammed it.
3rd I LOVED this book! I mean to say that YES YES YES- I loved this book!
Now I will tell you why.
You can read the blurb to get the premise of the story. You can read blogs and reviews with spoilers to know the exact plot, characters, etc. So I’ll let you do that.
The reason I loved this book is because I WAS Elloren. Laurie, (may I call you Laurie?)- do you know me somehow?
Did we ever meet and I told you about my life and you turned it into a fantasy YA novel? Seriously. This book blew me away with its accuracy.
I grew up in the rural South. I am sure you can imagine what I was indoctrinated into believing about other races, cultures, religions, and belief systems. Then my mom married my step dad and I became what’s known as a “military brat.” We lived on base. Not just on base but a base that had other bases on it. From OTHER countries even! Oh my heck- was my mother infuriated. I was being exposed to Latinos, African Americans, Asians, Israelites, Indians… not to mention Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and any other religious sect you can think of. I was being tainted you know. I mean, I had to go to SCHOOL with those people!
Then started the “teenage rebellion.” I was acclimating to this new life. I WAS being exposed and I WAS realizing we are ALL human. Real people with real feelings and real lives. And their lives were not really too different from my own. They mattered. Then came the worst. I actually started having crushes on some of those boys who weren’t good enough for me. I was literally put into a behavioral health center for “acting out.” No, really. This is not fiction. This was my real life, I swear.
Fast forward to now, where I have a completely opposing belief system than my mother. She is slowly coming around to these modern times of awareness, acceptance, and support of people who are different than her. I am SO glad my Dad joined the Army. I cringe to think of who I might be now and how I would think. But I digress. You get the point by now I am certain.
So…on to the “review.”
As you can imagine, this book resonated with me. I loved the plotline, character development, the writing style…just all of it. The author wrote with such vivid detail, I got lost in her magical world. The characters were engaging and came to life for me BECAUSE of their flaws. I cheered for their growth and resistance to perpetuate the dogma that had been ingrained into them since their birth.
This book was symbolic to me. It brims with hope for a future that is free of the prejudice and fascism that permeate not only this fictional world, but our society as well. It speaks to the capacity of our nature to develop and form new ideas based on our life experiences. It opens up for discussion all of the things people found disturbing about it. The first thing one must do to eradicate such offensive opinions, behaviors, and beliefs- is to ACKNOWLEDGE that they do exist!
Sorry for the rant…
To make a long story short, as they say, I found this to be a brilliant work of fiction and I give it 10/5 stars!!!
This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This review or portions thereof, will be posted (when able) on Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, Litsy, IG, B&N, Pinterest, Facebook, BAM, and my own blog. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide all links at this time, as I am using my phone.