This is a really unique dystopia, sci-fi, contemporary romance slice of life fusion… it’s odd and everyday plus quite compelling… read more to find out why…
by Kathryn Berla
Published July 11th 2017
by Amberjack Publishing
Babe is yet again the new girl, her dad and mom moving her to Florida as the newest golf pro at the Sugar Dunes country club. It’s nothing new and at least she gets to be by the beach for her last year of school. Zat is the mysterious boy that invades her dreams from the distant future. Risking his life on the uncertain technology that projects his consciousness through time to past earth, he chooses Babe’s dreams to occupy. As the summer comes to a close Babe finds her life taking some left turns…will Zat survive all the changes?
I love stories about dreams and post-apocalyptic earth so it was a no brainer to request this fusion love story. And I totally loved it! To be fair if you are not looking for romance this book is not for you. While Babe goes through all sorts of changes in her life she is unwaveringly bound to Zat. Okay warning is over, you have been forewarned!
Some might claim there is a startlingly strong insta-love between Babe and Zat. While I admit it appears like that I don’t agree… Zat has vetted dreamers to choose who he wants to occupy and he chose Babe after falling for her through her dreams. To some it may seem creepy like a stalker (and in a way it is) but its not about the physical it’s totally what he knows about Babe’s mind and dreams. In essence he got to know her intimately more than most couples know and feel about one another. Since he come from an earth so at odds with our own I can see how this intimacy bridges differences that may be too extreme without it. From Babe’s side of it she does say (very early on) she feels love while not understanding it. I believe this was to signify that her unconscious (basically her mind) had been aware of Zat and fallen for him too. This is probably a stretch for some readers. I however bought it and felt that the story followed this line of thought very well.
As for Zat’s distant earth, there were enough details that I bought his world. The body’s adaptations to the environment, their reliance on insects to eat and cactus to drink, the community society working together and pairing up due to practical matters were all touched on well enough that I could see his world. I loved meeting his uncle briefly and his talk about the other family members choosing the only other options besides the dream technology and death on earth – space travel with no known location in mind. In a way this background caused Zat to be a more accepting and loving human being for Babe.
While I felt this sci-fi aspect to Babe’s very regular life was intriguing and a great element that worked well it wasn’t the entire story and I liked that fusion nature to the book! We also have Mai, a Vietnamese girl Babe befriends at her family’s fish market and LeGrand, the rich boy, golden child that lounges at the country club his father is on the board of directors for. These two add such a richness to her day to day life. She is able to talk to Mai as a best friend and LeGrand is able to confide about his own struggles to Babe. They both add a tiny bit of diversity. (I didn’t mind the part about Mai’s name, she called her Nuggins due to the conversation she and Mai had to show they were friends. I’ve actually heard from my Asian friends that this happens particularly to the more difficult names.) The book covers the summer before her senior year and the ups and downs of her new sleepy town plus the addicting meetings with Zat that she feels she must rush back to each night.
The plot is not the be all to end all. If you HATE books with really light plot I still think you should give this book a chance but be aware that it is not about the plot even though there is some real life stuff that constitutes plot and acts as markers for the passing of time. I liked this about the book! I liked the difficulties that she had to tackle. The other minor characters weren’t there to add drama for drama’s sake but made you wonder (Alonso, Maddy Lynn, Bing, Kay and Clyde). I really appreciated the secret island, the sexual harassment and the Friends Across the Bay tennis class.
Babe has such a natural and engaging narrative style that I was willing to just go along for the ride as her life totally changes due to her move to Sugar Dunes.
“So much for Skyping with Perry if I couldn’t fix it myself. I would’ve texted him but I’d already tried my cell phone and we were out of the service area. Just great. In the middle of a pine forest on a street named after a fish and I couldn’t even send a text.”
Zat’s POV while more limited was a nice compliment to Babe even though it dropped off at the end abruptly. I loved Babe’s blog journal posts and the comments at the end. The formatting of the book worked well and kept us from dwelling on potentially more boring parts of Babe’s life.
The ending was fantastical but it was a satisfying conclusion to the entire dream experience. The real life drama was a nice balance to the romance climax. I liked how Babe realized what had happened, I thought it was executed well and her reactions were spot on. And her moment with Mai saying what needed to be said even if it was hard… now that is friendship. Really this book was all about the details. If I listed all of them then there wouldn’t be incredible little nuggets of gold for you to run across… while the book had light plot in places this was a really creative melding of genres that I really enjoyed.
BOTTOM LINE: A fantastical sci-fi contemporary romance, slice of life fusion.
Fusion is quite a difficult element to balance when it comes to the genres in a story. It isn’t highly recommended to beginner writers either as readers generally aren’t big fans of it. Many say that it is trying to be too many things at once and aren’t successful totally at any of them. This is a case of a successful fusion to me! It’s successful because there was enough detail in each of the genre elements that the story felt full while not being exaggerated. The scope of the story was intimate rather than grandiose so there was enough page space to explore each element. BUT when it comes to fusion suspending disbelief is essential. There will be some fantastical elements that aren’t based on reality.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
“NetGalley delivers digital galleys, often called advance reading copies, or ARCs, to professional readers and helps promote new and upcoming titles. Professional readers–reviewers, media, journalists, bloggers, librarians, booksellers and educators–can join and use NetGalley at no cost.” Netgalley is a special section of my book discussions where I post reviews of the digital books I read through this service. It’s quite amazing the gems you can find. I’ve yet to regret reading a book, even if I don’t like it…