I hope everyone is having a great holiday and I hope everyone will have plenty of amazing YA books to read with the New Year! 2012 looks like it will be a good year for YA. I have had a very long year, and I am so glad I’ve had all of these amazing books to read to help me get through it all. Thanks for reading my blog! I have come a long way since April. This will be my last post for 2011. I’m about to fly to the east coast to see some of my favorite people in the whole world (my Hartwick/college family). When I get back, I will post my favorite books of 2011 (I feel like I can’t really do this till the year is fully over), and hopefully I will also post a couple of reviews for all the reading I plan on doing on my little vacation.
I ended up really loving this last one. And I’m glad I’m finishing the year with this review. For starters, it’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which was my favorite Disney movie as a little girl. And second, it’s a science fiction, futuristic, dystopia. How could I not like this story? It did have some elements that reminded me a lot of Beth Revis’ Across the Universe (both books involve a girl waking up after being in a chemical-induced sleep). It also had a lot of the feel that The Adoration of Jenna Fox did. And there were parts of it as well that will really appeal to Star Wars fans. But, what it really does is make the reader question what exactly it would be like to wake up after a 62 yearlong nap? How much of the world would change? And how much would you want to go back to sleep?
It’s about Rose. She’s found in the basement of an old housing unit. Bren wakes her up from her chemical, drug-like slumber with a kiss. And soon Rose realizes her parents are dead, her first love is dead, and everything about the world has changed. Rose is also the daughter of two CEOS of a giant interplanetary corporation, and awakes in the hospital to company shareholders already arguing what her role will be in the company. She’s famous for being frozen in time (at 17) for 62 years, but the fact that she is the daughter of her parents makes her even more of a spectacle with the press.
Rose is given new guardians to take care of her. And she’s actually allowed to live in her old housing unit. She attends school with Bren, and also goes through some major physical therapy. Apparently, even in the future it’s hard to recover from being in bed so long. There’s a lot of mention of her being skinny as a skeleton because for a while she can’t keep any food in her system.
She starts school and immediately has to learn the new politics of the world that has survived something called the dark times. And all her peers are using a slang she knows nothing about. She’s an artist, and being asleep so long has done nothing for her academics, which were never all too good before because her parents made her switch schools a lot; however, her painting improved since her waking up because she paints a lot of what she calls dreamscapes or what she remembers of her long sleep.
There’s a computerized, robotic, assassin that is out to get her from the beginning. There’s a lot of trying to let go of first love and start a new love. There’s crazy otherworld politics, futuristic chase scenes, floating cars, alien friendships, school clicks, histories of disaster, amazing technology, terrifying nightmares, confusing lingo, therapy scenes, artwork, and growing up.
And I know I’m kind of going into detail a little to describe this world that Rose lives in. I’m doing this because the world is just so interesting! And Sheehan is able to write just enough detail to cover what you need to know and make everything seem so unique, but not too much that it becomes too description oriented. I guess I wouldn’t have minded more descriptions of the world, but I could see how the way she did it can appeal to anybody.
Also, this book had me crying. I haven’t cried in a YA book in a while. And all of the memories Rose has of Xavier, her past boyfriend, are just so intense, and so true. Her memories are so vivid and realistic. So even though 62 years ago for Rose is still way, way in the future for me, the romance between her and Xavier is just so real that it almost transcends time. And when I finally got to see the romantic memories of Xavier and all that Rose had truly lost, I had to get Kleenex. And the other thing that both Rose and the reader come to realize around the same time is just how awful Rose’s parents were. Rose didn’t get that what her parents did to her was so ethically wrong because it was all she knew. And I never questioned the harshness of her parents or her constant stasis/sleeping times because I assumed by the way it was written or talked about by Rose that it was normal. Sheehan did a good job of writing Rose’s perspective, and not allowing the reader perspective to get in the way of the story, if that makes sense. I never questioned what happened to Rose, till she questioned it, because I didn’t know I should.
I’m not going to give it all away. But, essentially her parents stole her childhood. They ruined her chance at scholarships, love, happiness, individuality, and growth. And this made me cry too. In The Adoration of Jenna Fox, I found myself hating how whiny and egocentric the main character was. Here, I loved Rose. I felt like she had all the reason in the world to be angry and egocentric, yet she wasn’t. She was ignorant of a lot of things, and had a lot of unwarranted self-loathing, yet I always wanted her to overcome everything. I wanted her to escape the scary assassin robot, and learn who had sent it. I really wanted her to learn about what happened to Xavier. And I needed to know why her parents did what they did. These things all added to the overall reason for why I did not go to sleep till after 3 am yesterday. I had to finish this book and find all this out!
And the ending was not disappointing. I kind of wanted some more resolution for her in the romance department. Maybe there will be a sequel? There isn’t one in the works that I’m aware of. But, I would love to read more! I love the world. I love the story. I love the artwork (that we don’t get to see). And I just overall, loved the book. I give it a 10/10.