Giving up her dreams in order to care for her family after her brother abandons them, Stella must now face her realizations that she will likely never pursue her passion for engineering. Born into a commune in Kansas, Galliard lives what he believes to be the best place for humanity, moreso as a person with Tourette’s; a life-altering decision makes his world seem to crumble around him as his desires go unanswered and he finds himself doubting the leaders of his home.
I found this novel to be extremely well balanced, incorporating so many plot points that could have easily been a messy web had the writer not kept a tight grip on them. There is adventure, mystery, romance, and as this is all happening, natural disasters plague Kansas, addinng to the tension of these characters. Our two protagonists, Stella and Galliard, both begin in their separate lives that seem to have no link to one another, but when it is revealed that Stella’s brother is actually a friend of Galliard’s, things become shaky, especially when friendships are broken and secrets are brought out.
Stella has a dream to attend college and study engineering, but she is far too committed to her family to consider leaving them even to pursue her dreams. Galliard is a muscician that finds himself in a position that prevents him from pursuing his goals of sharing his music. The two are raised in different worlds but ultimately face the same the dilemma of incapable of pursuing their dreams for the sake of others or their futures. I initially began the novel more interested in the natural disasters, but almost immediately after became invested in the characters and didn’t even mind that there was no real explanation to the strange events that occurred in the end.
I do remain curious as to why the Ormsbee chose the plot to take place in the year 1977; I easily found myself forgetting that this wasn’t taking place in current time until moments such as Elvis’s death is mentioned near the end. It isn’t necessarily good or bad that I forgot the setting’s time, but did make me wonder if anything else could have made it much more solid. Throughout the novel there is also this exchange of letters between Stella and her brother Craig, but by the end of the novel, there had been so few letters that when they did appear, they did not seem as important or interesting to me. I believe the letters are essential to the plot but I would have liked to have seen a lot of these letters between the chapters.
If you are looking for a well-paced young adult novel, then this is a complete recommendation!
A copy was provided to me by NetGalley. All opinions and ratings mentioned are my own.