Plus One by Elizabeth FamaPublished by Farrar Straus and Giroux on April 8th 2014
ARC from Blog Tour
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Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.
Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.
Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.
Let me start by saying that Plus One is a great addition to the many books in the young adult community and I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity to read it! This novel, I think, is really unique and pretty impressive once you give it a chance. It’s hard not to admire the way Elizabeth Fama has crafted her characters- you can’t help but grow attached to them.
Don’t forget you want me.
I won’t lie. I did have a few apprehensions. Several actually. The first was that I had a hard time getting myself into the story. I kept putting it down because I felt so sluggish reading the early chapters. It took me so long to pickup with the actual pace. However, when I finally clicked with the characters, I excitedly rushed through the book. Another reservation of mine, which may or may not explain why the book started out so slowly for me, was that I felt thrown into the middle of things. I didn’t read the synopsis (I admit that I was swayed by the beautiful cover,) so I had no clue what Plus One was going to be about. I felt blindsided by terminologies like “Smudge” and “Ray”, which turned out to be a kind of categorical system where in the former are only allowed to be outside at night and the latter during the day. The author does give a brief background to how this interesting community of day-dwellers and night-dwellers came to be, but I feel like it could’ve been made more vivid and detailed. I really wished I was able to comprehend much more from this alternate reality because it sounded incredibly interesting.
Four hundred billion suns spiralling through space together. Our solar system just one grain on that galactic carousel. The carousel itself a speck in the cosmos. And here I am in this small clearing, on the surface of the earth, as transient and unnoticed to the universe.. It’s too much to comprehend up there, too enormous, and I’ so small when it’s on top of me. It frightens me, like I’m being crushed.
The characters were a strong point in Plus One which is probably why I still highly liked the book despite my previously-stated misgivings. The heroine of the story, Sol Le Couer, had so much feist in her! She is extremely candid, more than just a bit rude, considerably impulsive and hotheaded, and never holds back. Sol is a Smudge and her kind are considered the lower class compared to Rays who are the elite of the society. She feels the discrimination that Smudges are supposedly ‘morons’ who are stuck as manual laborers, completely insubordinate to Rays, who are mostly made of professionals living comfortable lifestyles. However, she uses this fact to her advantage, to appear as if she doesn’t know any better, when in fact she does. Sol is incredibly smart, actually, and you could see that by the way she schemes plans to kidnap her niece. Even if it makes her a criminal, she’d do it so she could bring her brother’s daughter to her dying grandfather. I loved the way Sol cared so much for her Poppu. There is a lot of focus on family and parental figures were very much present in Plus One which is another reason why I thought it was a great read.
D’Arcy was like a planet to my meteor. The gravitational pull was similar to a hurtling sensation. My body needed to collide with his. And, the universe be praised, this planet welcomed the impact
In the grand scheme of Sol’s niece-kidnapping plans, a fake injury leads her to meet D’Arcy Benoit, a medical apprentice at the hospital. I was surprised by how D’Arcy, or Day Boy, as Sol likes to call him, made me swoon so very much. Book boyfriend alert!!!!! Anyway, D’Arcy is a Ray, leading Sol to be quite hostile towards him, but he turns out to be not so typical after all. The two are very different but their unlikely partnership was projected well! I like how the romance remained in the background at first- there was that subtlety that made things build-up. When I think about the time frame of the book though, things did develop pretty quickly between Sol and D’Arcy, but given their shared experiences, I felt there was enough foundation in their relationship. Aside from Sol and D’Arcy, the rest of the characters were notable and I feel that they made the story such a complex one. It’s the way these characters were intertwined and connected, as if they’re stars crashing against each other in a big galaxy-all significant and crucial to how the story works out, and that made the plot and the story work as a whole.
I knew you were the most remarkable person I’d ever met.
I probably didn’t do justice with just exactly how much I liked this book so just to make it clear: I was really fond of Plus One. I had some issues but I think the book turned out to be quite better than I expected. I have a penchant for books that are refreshing and original, especially when they’re also character-driven. This was my first time reading Elizabeth Fama and I can say with a certainty that I’ll be looking forward to reading more from her.
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