I received a free review copy of this book from author Shannon A Thompson* – thanks, Shannon! I’ve been in a reading rut for the past few weeks and I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this story or not, but, I must say, I was impressed.
Here’s the blurb:
Two years after the massacre, the State enforces stricter rules and harsher punishments on anyone rumored to support tomo – the clairvoyant drug that caused a regional uprising.
But sixteen-year-old Sophia Gray has other problems.
Between her father’s illegal forgery and her friend’s troubling history, the last thing Sophia needs is an unexpected encounter with a boy.
He’s wild, determined, and one step ahead of her. But when his involvement with tomo threatens her friends and family, Sophia has to make a decision: fight for a future she cannot see or sacrifice her loved ones to the world of tomorrow.
As the blurb says, a key part of this YA dystopian is tomo, an illegal drug that enables you to see the future. It is a touchy subject and I appreciate that the author tackled it. The story presents a fair view of drugs, showing both the good points and the bad ones. I have never thought of this in detail before. This novel made me think, all while the motif was naturally interweaved in the story.
The protagonist is Sophia, who is courageous, determined, and relatable. She made for a good narrator. I like the side characters very much. There’s Lyn, who takes the place of mother to Sophia. She cares deeply for Sophia but is willing to let her into danger when necessary. There are Sophia’s childhood friends, Lily and Miles, twins, and Broden. There’s Noah; his complexities are fascinating. Anthony is another interesting character.
I loved the various relationships – Sophia with her Dad and Lyn, Miles and Lily as twins, and Sophia, Broden, the twins, and Noah, as a tight knit, tumultuous group.
This brings me to another point. I feel the story would have benefitted from some extra character development. Sophia has three male teenage friends and while they do have differences, their personalities are similar enough that they become enmeshed. And there are other characters who would have benefitted from extra air time, like her father and Phelps. I do love the characters. I just want to know them better.
There is romance in this story, but it makes for a minor subplot. I enjoyed the romance. It was natural and it was sweet. I wasn’t happy with how Sophia’s crush treated her for much of the story. But I came to think they would make a good couple. 🙂
The pacing is excellent. About twenty pages in, I was absolutely hooked. I could not stop thinking about the story. I could not stop turning the pages. I mentioned a reading rut earlier. It was impossible to be in a rut with this. At the same time, the story was not so fast paced as to be choppy. I know how hard it is to get pacing right. It’s one of the marks of a good writer to do it well. 🙂
The plot was not predictable – and that’s the way I like it. There were a lot of untold secrets, a clever trick of the trade; that was part of what had me turning the pages obsessively. “What is this all about?” “Why is everyone doing this?” And I love it. I love the mystery and suspense.
I can’t say too much about the world because I don’t know it well enough. The story is short – an extra fifty pages of worldbuilding and character development would have been nice. What I know of the world feels quite believable but I can’t form a very clear picture of it. I especially want to know more about the government. There’s a curfew and knives have been outlawed. What else? Phelps employs criminals. Fascinating. I want to know more. There’s a lot of potential with the world.
The story finishes open ended so a sequel is quite possible. If ever one is released, I will certainly read it.
If you enjoy dystopian novels, or are looking for a suspenseful, thought provoking YA read, you should definitely give this one a go.
*Shannon blogs at http://shannonathompson.com/