|Levi Montgomery's Book-Selling Booth at the Birch Bay Market|
The book has a slick, well crafted cover. The significance of the picture featured on the cover is apparent only after getting to the end of the book.
As might be evident from the short blurb for the book (see above), the novel appeals most immediately to late teens who can readily identify with the travails and triumphs of its teenage protagonists. Nevertheless, because the book is well written, with an engaging plot and a touch of mystery that is not solved until the final pages, I enjoyed the story even though my teen years are a fading memory.
The novel is set in fictional Port Hale, described as a small place located on the Pacific Ocean between Bellingham and Blaine, Washington. The plot has two main characters, Lydia and Tanner who attend high school in Port Hale. Lydia and her father (an irresponsible pot-head) moved there from Los Angeles, and she is new to the school. Unknown to anyone other than Lydia and her father, they are fugitives from justice: several years earlier, he had abducted Lydia after a court had given his ex-wife custody of her.
Lydia is scarred, both literally and figuratively. One side of her face and one hand have been badly disfigured by acid. The disfigurement is accompanied by internal turmoil and by a hard persona that enables her to ignore the sideways looks she gets and the rejection she fears. She fends off those who would befriend her with a sharp tongue and standoffish behavior.
Tanner is a passionate photographer with an eye that immediately sees past Lydia's disfigurement. He is smitten. She rejects. He persists. With complications, young love develops, but Lydia's secrets threaten the future of the relationship. All of this unfolds in a deftly written story that includes a surprise at the end.
The story moves quickly, and the relationship between Lydia and Tanner develops in a plausible and charming way. The book ends with revelations answering the question of who had caused Lydia's acid scars and why.
When the aliens landed seventy-two years ago, the first thing they did was turn off the power.
Then they ran for the hills.
The aliens themselves killed very few people, but riots, looting, disease, natural disasters and the sheer brutality of a harsh life that no one had lived for generations have reduced the population of Earth to a few tiny handfuls, scattered among the abandoned ruins of a lost civilization. Now word has come to Amarylla’s father, the chief civil engineer of the Federal Republic of New York, that an unknown man in the far northern plains may hold the key to turning the lights back on.
But when Amarylla sets out with her father to find this mysterious man, she is a just young girl whose life has been filled with operas and riding lessons and needlework, a young girl schooled only in the history of fashion, classical philosophers, and the proper navigation of knives and forks at a state dinner. A young girl totally unprepared for the raw edges of life beyond the walls, totally unprepared for the closeness of a young guard named Marlowe, totally unprepared for danger.
Can she become what she needs to be? Can she learn what she needs to know? Can she grow up in time, or will this alien dystopia kill her?Sounds like this book could attract and hold my attention.
For more about Levi Montgomery and his work, you can visit his blog: http://www.levimontgomery.com .