World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.
At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.
When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.
Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with this book! I liked Amy Plum’s previous series – Revenants – but I didn’t love it, it was just okay. This one, I really enjoyed and can’t wait for the next in the series!! It does start off a little slow, and there are some lulls here and there, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I found it very intriguing and a refreshing change from other YA that I’ve read.
The main character Juneau lives in a very small community in Alaska. All her life, she’s been told that her parents and other elders of the community escaped to there in the very last hours before World War III. They keep to themselves, living off the land and with whatever they brought with them – making a new life. They never venture outside their boundaries because they don’t know who or what survived the war.
Then one day Juneau goes hunting alone (like normal, she is one the best hunters even at 17) with her dogs. She senses something is wrong (their community has some magical/supernatural capabilities) and sees a helicopter. She is able to hide within the forest while making her way back home and finds everyone gone. This begins her mission – to find her family, community, and mentor. Also, she needs to find out what is going on because on her journey, she finds a town. Apparently, there was no World War III.
“I have no idea what is truth and what is fiction. I’m all I’ve got now. I can’t trust anyone.”
So, she’s been lied to all her life – why? She is more determined to find her people and especially her mentor. During her journey, she realizes that she’s being hunted, but by who? The same people who took her family or someone else? She has to find answers and find her family while navigating in this new modern world. She meets Miles, a boy with his own agenda for helping her. They decide to help each other and travel together – although neither is very trusting of the other. Miles is the typical spoiled little rich bad boy and doesn’t believe in the supernatural/magic – he basically thinks she’s crazy.
I really liked Juneau and Miles together mostly because they weren’t “together.” There is a hint of romance in this book and they have some chemistry, but they also have serious trust issues with each other and they’re total opposites – so no “insta-love” with this one, and I’m glad because I don’t think it would have worked in this story. Sometimes romance take time. They were cute though, and I enjoyed their bantering from time to time.
“I get it that foraging is the hip new thing for you back-to-nature types, but you do realize there is a McDonald’s about a half hour down the road?”
For a moment it looks like she doesn’t recognize me. Then she nonchalantly cuts a sliver of cooked leg off something that was cute and fluffy and hopping around about an hour ago. She holds it grimly up on the end of the knife, like a dare. I shudder, but pick the meat off the knife-point and pop it in my mouth. Oh my god, it’s really good.
She sees my expression and smiles. “Saw the McDonald’s sign on the way. But I tried it in Seattle, and frankly, that stuff’s nasty.”
This book has a little bit of everything, although not much romance for romance lovers, at least, not yet. I think the rest of the book made up for it, though. I’m not going to try to explain the supernatural aspect in the book because I don’t think I could do it justice, but it is very interesting and different from what I’ve read lately.
I did have a few issues with the book, mostly because it ended with a lot questions and unsolved mysteries – hopefully to be revealed in the next book. Also, I know the main character Juneau is supposed to be pretty intelligent and a kind of survivalist; however she seemed to adapt a little too well (a little too quickly) to the modern world. For instance, she had never seen a car, let alone driven one. All she knew about them was from what she had read (and all her community’s books were from before “The War”). Yet, she learned to drive a car just by observing Miles a few times. So, a few little things like that bugged me, but for the most part, the book was very captivating and enjoyable. Very hard to put down. Really looking forward to the next one in the series!!