Author: Julianna Baggott
Publisher: Grand Central Pub
Genre: Apocalyptic fiction; Science fiction
Number of Pages: 416
Available Formats: Hardback, Paper back, E-book, Audio
Rating: 4Q, 4P
Links to Author’s Websites and Interviews
The world has been torn apart by detonations. The lucky ones are inside the dome while the rest must brave the outside.
This post-apocalyptic novel centers on Pressia, a teenage girl who lives with her grandfather out in the ruined landscape of America after the world is destroyed by bombs. The survivors are deformed and have been fused with whatever object, person or animal they were next to when the detonations went off. Pressia, who was a child at the time, has been fused with a doll head on her right arm. She has just turned 16 and is worried about a military faction that rules the landscape and takes teens to serve the militia when they turn 16. The novel is also about Partridge, a 16-year-old boy who lives in the dome. The dome protects a large society of people who don’t suffer from deformity, as they were able to get to it before the bombs went off. Partridge is the son of the dome’s leader and accidentally finds out that his mother, who he thought was killed by the bombs, may still be alive on the outside. Partridge ends up meeting with Pressia and they team up to find his mom.
I thought this book was very well done. It had a slow start, but once Pressia and Partridge meet, it really takes off and becomes very entertaining. It’s also very well written, with a lot of character depth and development thrown in. It’s really unlike any other post-apocalyptic book I’ve read. While there is action, the book is more concerned with the characters’ journey. The fusing aspect is also really unique and interesting. It’s not just thrown in to be different. It has a large impact on the story and really becomes a big part of the characters and how they deal with it. The character motivations and actions are all very realistic and understandable. The book also features several interesting side characters that could have been one-note but were luckily elevated to important roles. A great example of this is El Capitan. At the start, I thought he would end up being a one-dimensional villain. However, his growth into a better person was one of the most surprising and enjoyable parts of the book.
Atmospheric, bleak, YA appeal
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield
Awards & Lists
Alex Award: 2013
Booklist Editors’ Choice – Adult Fiction for Young Adults: 2012
New York Times Notable Books – Fiction and Poetry: 2012
• Discuss how Pressia changes throughout the book.
• Discuss El Capitan and his relationship with his brother.
• Gender roles in the novel.
Justification of Selection
This was one of the read-alikes on NoveList for my Science Fiction group book. Once I read the summary I was immediately intrigued. It sounded different from any other dystopian or post-apocalyptic book out there, so I just had to check it out.