So Much Misery – Maybe Something for the Holidays?

If you like dystopian YA there is a box set for you, What Tomorrow May Bring. For a small sum of money you get eleven novels, all dealing, in one way or another, with teenagers living in a future that has gone very wrong. I cannot say I liked all of them, but a few are definitely worthwhile to read and I have already mentioned a couple here. 

Open Minds, by Susan Kaye Quinn

Kira is 16 and one of the few at her school that cannot read other people’s minds. In the future this makes her the weird outcast and she is losing her last friends as she is increasingly ostracised.

One day she realises she is not the only one who cannot share mind reading; instead she belongs to a small group of people who can control the minds of those around her– for good or for evil. As Kira is drawn into this other, subversive, world that the authorities try to stamp out while keeping it secret from the citizens, she is drawn away from her best friend Raf and to the far more sinister school friend Simon.

 

This made for compelling reading and my favourite in the box set. The plot makes sense and the characters, and especially Kira, are credible and mulit-faceted. She grows and changes in the face of reality, which grows increasingly dark, in a way that makes her feel genuine. The future world Susan Kaye Quinn paints is one where good people and bad people are found on all sides and there are no simple solutions.

Stitch, by Samantha Durante

Alessa loses her parents and her foothold on reality and misses her chance to get into her college of choice. Making do with a lesser institution she struggles with the social demands that her sorority is laying on her and things do not get better as she feels this presence that cannot be anything but a ghost. It turns out the ghost is probably the least of Alessa’s problems as the mysteries around her start to unravel and a much more sinister reality is revealed. 

This is the first of a planned trilogy and it definitely fits into the dystopian genre despite its element of a ghost story. Actually, it was the ghost story that drew me into reading it in the first place.

Alessa lives in a world not too alien to the one we live in and it gives the story the credence necessary to make my imagination go in the right direction. Unfortunately, as this is a novel targeted at teenagers and YA readers the characters, as they evolve, fall slightly outside what I would expect.

Despite my misgivings about the main characters I enjoyed the book, which was well written with a plot full of twists and turns.

 

Sometimes I feel slightly  cheated at the end of a book when I realise I have to get the second and even the third in order to make sense of the first one. With Open Minds this could not be more wrong as you can easily stop reading after the first instalment. Yes, the story continues in the sequel but you have a complete story with a beginning, a middle and an ending  – as I think it should be.