Summary:When She Woke tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed―their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crimes―and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder.
In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.
Genre: science fiction, dystopia Rating: ★★★
When She Woke was an eerily realistic dystopian story that had me hooked from the very first page; I was rooting for the protagonist to escape the harsh reality she faced; I was excited to see where this story could possibly go – until the last 100 pages where it suddenly took a nosedive that left me feeling confused and unsure of what this story was really trying to say.
Summary: Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.
In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. It’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.
Genre: science fiction, young adult, fantasy, dystopia Rating: ★★★★
The Ones We’re Meant to Find has been on my tbr for a while, and I’m admittedly kicking myself a little bit for waiting until now to read it, but I’m so happy I finally did.
In regards to the 2022 Asian Readathon, it checks off multiple boxes: a book by an Asian author, a book that has a cover worthy of googly eyes (seriously, forever swooning over this cover art, it’s g o r g e o u s), and a book that was highly recommended. I had multiple friends who read this book last year, and I heard nothing but good things about it. I was genuinely shocked to see a lower rating than I expected on Goodreads, because this story blew me away.
Summary: One day Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty-single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders.
In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and donate their organs until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable.
Genre: science fiction, dystopia Rating: ★★★★★
The Unit was one of the last books I read in 2021, and, two months later, it’s still a story I think of often. It’s easily one of the saddest dystopian stories I’ve ever read, and I found myself strangely attached to and empathetic toward Dorrit as the story progressed despite feeling little emotions toward her in the beginning. Dystopian stories are very rarely happy, so even though the ending was not necessarily predictable but expected for the genre, I still felt such a heavy heart when I set this book down.
Last month, one of my coworkers and I agreed to swap books that we love. Mine to her was The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Hers to me was the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. We all know young adult trilogies are generally not my favorite, especially when they have some type of dystopian world included, but I figured if my coworker genuinely loved this series, I would give it a shot for her.
The truth is, now that I’m finally finished reading it, I have so many mixed emotions about this series. I’m glad to have read it, mostly because the series holds such a big place in my coworker’s heart. And I do think I would have enjoyed this more if I had read it when it initially came out, when dystopian YA was at its biggest.
I adored the writing style in most of the books, and that’s ultimately what kept me invested in the series. There were characters I couldn’t stand that everyone else loved, and it took me most of the series to finally understand the hype around those characters. The books all have their own strengths and weaknesses, so I felt it was fair to review them individually. As a heads up, this post will be long.