Friday, March 22, 2013

ARC Review: Wasteland by Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: March 26th, 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Pages: 352 pgs
ISBN: 9780062118516
Source: ARC provided by publisher for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.

My Review: 

I literally put this book down after reading it and said hmmm.  I just wasn't quite sure what I thought of the whole thing.  There were times in this dystopian novel where I was really into and I wanted to know what was going on and there were other times where I found myself thinking that I didn't really care about certain things.  I hate that!  I was pretty excited for this novel as I love reading about dystopian societies.  The book was marketed as a book where everyone dies at the age of 19 and they have children at 17.  While this is mentioned throughout the novel I found that the novel really focuses on the division between the citizens of Prin and the genetically altered people who are referred to as variants and mutants.  The division between the two groups is based in fear but the main character, Esther doesn't understand why her people are afraid of the variants.  Her best friend is a variant and she honestly sees no reason to treat these people differently. 
Everyone is really trying to live off of what little they have and in the end sometimes they do some less than savory things to get ahead.  Without giving too much away, the political system in Prin has become corrupted by the leader Levi.  Levi is a master manipulator with all the inhabitants of Prin and even by the end of the novel I wasn't exactly sure what his end goal was. 
One thing that really bugged me about this novel is that some of the elements of the book that are highlighted in the summary seemed to just be blips in the story.  One example of this is the fact that the variants are hermaphroditic.  This was mentioned once in the book and then not really mentioned much after this.  I was confused as to why this was a necessary plot point.  The book could have been done without this and I think that this was put in the summary because it's a bit sensationalized and they think it will draw in readers. 
Anyhow, overall the story line was just okay for me but I did really like Esther as a character. She was stubborn and didn't like to take any advice from anyone.  She stood by what she believed in even if it wasn't the popular opinion.  I think I admire that because I oftentimes worry too much about what others think of me so I find it noble to do what you want without worrying about others.  Anyhow, this review is a little all over the place but overall it was just okay for me.  I think the summary sells the book as something a little different than what you actually get.  That's not to say that the novel is bad because it's not.  It is an entertaining story but it just raises a few questions for me.  

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