Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Half Lives ~ Sara Grant (earc) review

Half Lives
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
July 6, 2013
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Present day: Icie is a typical high school teenager - until disaster strikes and her parents send her to find shelter inside a mountain near Las Vegas.

The future: Beckett lives on The Mountain - a sacred place devoted to the Great I AM. He must soon become the leader of his people. But Beckett is forced to break one of the sacred laws, and when the Great I AM does not strike him down, Beckett finds himself starting to question his beliefs.

As Beckett investigates The Mountain's history, Icie's story is revealed - along with the terrifying truth of what lies at the heart of The Mountain.

Sara Grant's HALF LIVES is a dystopian chronicle of the journeys of two unlikely heroes in their race against time to save future generations.

Sara Grant's second YA novel, after 2011's Dark Parties is a sort of apocalyptic novel, following a present-day teen and a teen of the future. At first it's a little confusing trying to figure out just how the two teens lives -- and worlds -- intersect, or if they do at all. As the story unfolds, however we catch glimpses of how Icie's life may have affected Beckett's life.

It also starts to become clear just what the state of Beckett's world means for Icie's likely future.

The company Icie has in her journey are far from the expected characters. They each have something unique that they bring to the perilous situation. They each also impact how Icie views her new situation -- and future.

Beckett's world felt more about the circumstances and situation than the characters, than Icie's did. It was more difficult to feel a connection with those characters. Despite the alternating points-of-view, Icie's story felt like the main story with Beckett's almost supplementing it, giving us the view of the future.

I did, though, really enjoy the way that the different points-of-view gave readers an interesting perspective on the opposite time and its narrator. We were able to see and know things about Beckett's world that wouldn't have made sense without Icie's tale. The future we knew about in Beckett's tale added a bit of drama to Icie's tale and some potential fear for her future.

Around the middle to the end, there were a few places where the plot seemed to be be, or at least want to be, something more mature than what the content was. As if the thing(s) mentioned would have been more appropriate for an older audience had they been fully discussed, explored or integrated into the plot so instead they just sort of were. It was a bit odd, not exactly bad but not weird.

This is definitely an interesting way to tell a story and to get us readers a more complete look at both characters' lives and worlds.

Rating: 8/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this title for review

Aug 1: edited to add the penultimate paragraph ("Around the middle...") was copy & pasting this while away and it got lost, my apologies

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