Last night I finished reading my first book of 2014. Woohoo! This year I want to be better at keeping track of what I read. I am a voracious reader, to say the least. I love books. I love my kindle. Reading makes me so so so so so happy! The downfall to reading so much (if there can be such a thing) is that I often forget what the books I have read were about. My goal is to write a short review/response/summary for each book that I read, so that if someone asks me for a recommendation I can give them a more detailed answer, not just “Well, I read this book and I don’t remember what it was about, but I remember LOVING it.” Because really, that’s not very helpful.
I was drawn to Tent City by Kelly Van Hull as soon as I read the synopsis from bookbub (an excellent website for all you e-book fans). The book takes place in future-America where thousands of people have died due to hunger and starvation after a plague of locusts descended upon our farms and destroyed our crops. Children ages 5-18 are being required by martial law to relocate to “safety camps.” The main character of the story, Dani, escapes her home with her best friend and little brother to hide out in a deserted cabin in the woods to avoid being sent to camp, which she likens to a prison. When they arrive there, however, they find out that it is not so deserted anymore, but a group of young adults have constructed a “tent city” and are a self-sufficient commune of sorts.
As much as I say that I hate dystopian, futuristic novels, I tend to read a lot of them. This book sounded really good to me, but I was let down slightly due to the writing style. I felt like the author did a little too much telling and not enough showing, and some of the things that happened just weren’t believable enough for me. Also, at times it seemed that there was a little bit of supernatural/magic going on, but it appears in the book so close to the end it felt like it was just thrown in there as a last resort.
Tent City does not even finish the story – apparently it is a series, or at least has a sequel (Red River). I hate reading sequels of books in general, and tend to avoid reading them except in special cases (Game of Thrones, anyone?). Although I would like to find out what happens to the characters in this story, I don’t want to read the next one. In short, I loved the idea of the book, but I was disappointed with the execution of the story.
One of my personal pet projects is to read across the USA with young adult fiction. I’ve already read about 15 books taking place in different states in the country. One of the reasons I stuck with this book is because it takes place in South Dakota… and that’s a trickier state to get. So, on the bright side, at least I can check that state off of my list now!