sturgeonslawyer (sturgeonslawyer ) wrote,

Read: Viral Nation, by Shaunta Grimes (2013-92)

"First in a new series." Teenagers in a dystopic future, check. The beginnings of a rebellion, check. Ambiguous but hopeful ending, check.

And yet...

...this clearly isn't a ripoff. While the similarities to The Hunger Games may have influenced the publisher's decision to publish, the book is written with too much, well, sincerity to be a cynical attempt to cash in on an apparent trend.

So. Clover Donovan was an infant when the viral plague destroyed 99+% of the world's population. She has grown up in walled Reno, one of the fifty walled cities that are all that remains of the United States. Her mother died in the plague; her father and brother barely made it to the invention of the serum that saved them all. And the Company makes sure that everyone gets their dose of the serum, every day.

Somehow all this has to do with a portal in Lake Tahoe that lets some people visit the future -- exactly two years into the future -- for a limited period of time. Clover is brilliant but autistic, and, despite high test scores, is rejected from the Academy and sent instead to become one of the Time Mariners who make that trip.

In her own future, then, she learns something which starts a domino chain changing everything in her life. As you might expect, it leads to rebellion, desperate escapes, the gamut of dramatic and melodramatic stuff. But it works, largely because (a) Clover is very likable and (b) Grimes writes well.
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