I am really excited to share this week’s Book of the Week with you guys today.
I first met Jennifer Bosworth at the Ontario Teen Book Fest in May and I was really impressed by her. One, she’s absolutely gorgeous and tall and totally stood out but in a totally good way. But she made a mention, while talking about her book, about her beliefs (or nonbeliefs) and how they came across in her novel.
And that really intrigued me, it made me think that her book was going to be good, and that it was going to be different from anything else that I’ve read recently in the young adult genre.
I was very happy when it did just that for me. It was a good book, that made me think, that left be with a full brain. It wasn’t like any other book that I’ve read in this genre so far.
So that’s why its this week’s Book of The Week, because its a book that’s begging to be reviewed and begging to be read and begging to be discussed and I’m ready for it.
young adult, dystopian-ish?
Part of a Series?:
nope, single novel
You May Like if You Liked:
I’m not really sure. This novel really stands alone to me. Not to say that none of you would like it based on your book tastes, its just hard to pick a book that feels similar to it.
In this story, you meet Mia Price, her mother and her brother, Parker. Mia Price lives in Los Angeles, after leaving her home in Lake Havasu City, because of her addiction to lightning and the consequences that come along with that.
Its been four weeks since the Puente Hills earthquake shattered through California and leveled Los Angeles. The city is in disarray, people are starving and living in tents on the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice. Mia is struggling to keep her family together, fed and safe, when her mom checks out after the earthquake.
Then Mia starts to learn she has powers, powers she wasn’t acutely aware of that come from the lightning shocks that hit her so often. And she’s wanted. There’s the Prophet, a religious figure, who predicted the earthquake minutes before it happened, and has an insane following. Then there’s the Seekers, another cult group, comprised of those who were struck by lightning in the freak earthquake/storm and suddenly had powers they didn’t have before.
Then there’s Jeremy, a boy sworn to protect her, from both the Seekers and the Prophet, but Mia doesn’t know if she can trust him either. While she’s trying to help her family, and decide what’s the best thing to do, the Prophet predicts another storm, and she can feel it brewing under her skin. She has to make a decision on who and what is important, and how she can save her family and herself.
Mia and Jeremy’s relationship seems…I don’t know, it didn’t flow as well as the rest of the book did. I liked them together, I would “ship” them, so to speak but it didn’t kind of have that smoothness that most book relationships had. I honestly didn’t expect them to work out and when they did, I was surprised. Pleasantly so, because I did like Jeremy a lot. It just wasn’t the main focal point of the novel (which I’ll get to in the good part of this post) so it didn’t feel as natural. I think the novel probably would have been just fine without the love story, but that was okay, because it was NOT a romance story. But that’s all I can really think of.
I want to give some major props to Jennifer Bosworth for this book. She may have issues with people reading her book with the kind of material that is brought forward in her story, the kind of questions it asks, the morals and ideals it tests, but I loved it. There aren’t a lot of young adult books out there that are going to push the boundaries and talk about things that are risque or topics that we tend to avoid. She brings in religion and politics and all sorts of squirmy topics that would make most people go nuts.
Because here’s the thing: I’m a nonbeliever. I am an atheist. I have a respect for any and all beliefs because you have the freedom to believe or not believe as you choose. I don’t judge anyone, because that is what I’ve always been taught and that is one that has always stuck with me my whole life. But I do find that people tend to stray away from these topics in young adult novels because it might challenge their beliefs or make them feel uncomfortable.
But I loved it. The kind of things that were going on this book, with Prophet and his followers and then the Seekers, it just challenges us to explore a different part of religion that I think we sometimes like to ignore, the hidden parts or the ugly parts that we tend to sweep under the rug. Jennifer Bosworth creates a story that makes you think, really think. So many books today are all about entertainment, and I don’t want to sit here and tell you that I’m high and mighty and I don’t like books for entertainment because that would be a lie. I love to read everything. But I do like a book that leaves me reeling, that leaves me with a thousand different jumbles in my head and all I want to do is sit and tackle each and every thought in my head…but in a good way. I like books that challenge me to think outside the box and that challenge me to think about my own morals and values. If an occasional book doesn’t do that for you once in awhile, you aren’t getting as much out of your reading as you could be.
I won’t go too much into the sort of thinking that it brought from me because its based on my own experiences, values, morals, beliefs and non-beliefs but I will say that I liked how everything going around the Los Angeles area and affecting Mia made her think herself. Her own beliefs were challenged and her own belief in herself and what she was capable of was challenged. I liked that she becomes more aware of herself and less aware of others and what they want and expect from her. So much of it boiled down to what she was capable on her own and what she decided on her own, trusting her own thoughts and instincts. Without ruining the book, I realized that Mia made so many decisions on her own, without the direct influence of everyone else. Her mother, brother, Jeremy, Prophet, the Seekers all were there and taught her but it all boils down to her.
I don’t want to ignore the story either. Its not just about the challenging ideas she presents or the way she makes you think, but she does create a great story. It seemed so…real. Its OUR Los Angeles, its our world, and an earthquake, a BIG one like that is entirely possible, and us Californians know that so its a little scary as well. Its scary to think that this sort of thing could happen and what the aftermath would be like. You’re holding on for dear life as Mia tries to make all the right decisions for herself and for her mother and brother, while still trying to avoid
I also really like that this takes place in Los Angeles. California, you are my home. I have lived here my entire life and I love it here. I want to explore the world, and live in other places but I know one day I’ll return to Los Angeles because I just love it. And I loved having this sort of dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, weird but amazing novel take place in a city I was so familiar with. Its why I’m getting so crazy excited about reading The Dark Artifices, a Shadowhunter series taking place in Los Angeles. I liked that I was able to recognize different places that Mia was going to, different landmarks. It makes the book that much more fun.
But really, this book may not be something that you’re entirely comfortable with, if you’re one of closed mind or someone who is very 100% firm in your beliefs. If you’re looking for a book that has a great story
4 out of 5 stars
Recommended or Not?:
Yeah, definitely! Honestly, I really recommend it, more than I may recommend other books. The reason I say this is because its a book that may force you to think outside of the box, may force you to look at things a different way or even just read something that makes you a little uncomfortable. But really good books do that and I think this book accomplishes that. I think teens really could do with a book like this, that can bring about a discussion and can get some cognitive thinking going. So definitely pick up this book if you’re ready for that.
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I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Book of the Week!
And tune in next week for more!