I'm sorry to say that it did not click with me at all. I had a really hard time getting past the sexual relationship between the cousins. While the larger part of the book was taken up with war stuff, it was still a love story involving two characters in an incestuous relationship that I just do not find acceptable or enjoyable to read about.
The war aspects were not that great, either. I did not like the characters so I hoped the other parts of the book would be enjoyable, but you find out absolutely nothing about the war. No idea exactly why it started, who were the enemies, what led to the end, etc. That vagueness could probably work in other books, but this one did not have enough going for it be to coy with those details.
The only positive about the book for me is that it was a quick read.
This is a story about Daisy and her cousins just living when a war breaks out in the UK. What makes this different than so many teens in war books is that it is not about them being spies, or running secret messages, or anyway being connected to the geopolitical intrigue or the war effort. It's about surviving. About day-to-day living as it slowly changes from what you knew and how you keep adapting. How mundane it can be sometimes as you deal with rationing and quarantines and knowing there are bombs and battles in distance, but it's almost hard to relate to. Basically, reading this in the beginning of 2021 during Covid and watching an almost coup via twitter updates while having to finish your day out work... it hits different. In a meaningful way. Because sometimes you are living a very mundane life when giant political intrigues are going on. Because sometimes you keep adapting in small ways over and over and over again until they become normal. Those themes really got to me and I definitely think young people in the small political climate may find meaning there, just like I did. However, there were a few choices that hold me back from giving a higher star count.
- Plot- or character-driven? Plot
- Strong character development? Yes
- Loveable characters? No
- Diverse cast of characters? No
- Flaws of characters a main focus? No
Despite a solid premise, I had a lot of trouble with this book. The main character came off as being very unlikeable, and it was hard to be stuck in her first-person perspective the whole time. Additionally, I didn’t believe the romantic relationship in this book at all. It was based on a lot of telling me about how in love she was and very little showing (unnecessary weirdness of that relationship aside). These two factors were so distracting that I couldn’t find it in me to get invested in the larger story of it all.
Now that I'm finished, though, I'm left feeling frustrated. This book was so vague, you never find out who the enemy is or really what happening in the US, you only get glimpses into Daisy's past where you have to just make assumptions. There was some finality to the story where you learn about what happens to Aunt Dee, Edmond, and Piper. You do at least learn that the occupation is over.
Also, the author used no quotation marks and randomly capitalized words in nearly every sentence. Once I got into the book, I almost didn't notice, but it was a bit tedious.
balibee146's review against another edition
- Some awkward and incorrect sentence constructions, but likely due to the narrator rather than the writer.
+ Setting and tone appeal to me, as does the journey...bleak as it all is.
+ Teen fans of this book may graduate to The Road.
(Perhaps I'm enjoying the current market fixation on dystopias and apocalyptic tales too much. Keep them coming, publishers!)