This week, I am highlighting new releases from some of the fabulous authors I
stalk follow faithfully ever since last summer’s UtopYA conference. Pretty soon I will explain just how UtopYA has ruined me for all other author/reader conventions… but first: let’s talk BOOKS!!
If you enjoy YA Dystopian fiction, you need to read Reap by Casey L. Bond.
The remnants of the United States of America have been divided. From five enormous, technologically-advanced cities, the Greaters rule over the Lessers.
In the Lesser village of Orchard, things are not as perfect as Abby Kelley thinks they are. When the apple harvest draws near and the Greater’s engineered fruits become too much for one village to handle alone, reinforcements from neighboring villages are called upon.
Having to choose between her best friend, whom she has no romantic feelings for, and mysterious newcomer Crew, Abby finds herself in the middle of a harvest that she had no intention of becoming a part of. She becomes involved in a situation that threatens the strict rule of the Greaters, and just might give the Lessers hope for a better tomorrow. But, can she help the Lessers without losing Crew? And if she chooses Crew, will she lose her best friend?
For the residents of Orchard, life is centered around a successful apple harvest. Abby and her community work tirelessly to meet quotas demanded by the Council and achieved by the enforcer, Norris. Under threat of punishment, workers focus on bountiful crops that are to be sent to the greater city of Olympus for distribution. It is a type of serfdom that keeps lessers and greaters in separate spheres; interaction between the groups is illegal.
Citizens of Orchard look forward to the harvest festival, the annual celebration of a prosperous crop and opportunity to preform weddings. Abby’s best friend, Ky, is engaged to another, but he only has eyes for Abby. The feelings are not mutual, however, so Ky braces for marriage while longing for his friend. When extra workers are brought to Orchard, Abby meets Crew. This time the feelings ARE mutual, but Crew must leave after the harvest. Abby begins to dream of a different life, one where she has choices and control of her future. As she begins to fight against the system, she learns just how out of control she really is.
I really enjoyed this book – it is original, well constructed, fast paced and gripping. From the prologue to the last page, the story flows beautifully between characters with a long history and new faces that change everything. Abby is a remarkable character: fiercely loyal to her friends & family with a compassionate heart and strong work ethic. She navigates between the attentions of her best friend Ky, the privileged jerk Preston, and the mysterious newcomer Crew to understand what she wants – and does not want – for her future.
You may think a book about apple farmers would be uneventful, but this is NOT the case. Nothing is really as it seems in Orchard, and this year’s harvest is yielding more than just apples. Reap is a story with twists and turns – lots of them. It is compelling and very well written. Abby endures many hardships, so it is a joy to cheer her on when things go well…until they don’t. I am eager to get my hands on Book 2 (cough, cough soon, please! cough), but until then, it is my pleasure to highly recommend this book to teens and up who enjoy a good Dystopian tale. -kris