Blurb from Goodreads
Two sisters. An unputdownable story.
Cee woke up on the shores of an abandoned island three years ago with no idea how she got there. Now eighteen, she lives in a shack with an ageing android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and she has to escape to find her.
From the safety of the eco-city floating above Earth, now decimated by natural disasters, sixteen-year-old Kasey mourns Cee whom she’s sure is dead. She too wants to escape: the eco-city is meant to be a sanctuary for people who want to save the planet, but its inhabitants are willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Is Kasey ready to use technology to help Earth, even though it failed her sister?
Cee and Kasey think that what they know about each other and their world is true. Both are wrong.
I am in awe of this book.
The writing is delicious. The narrative unfurls delicately. It’s a book that only a truly gifted storyteller could write.
For much of this novel I didn’t know what was going on. The plot, and to a lesser extent the character motivations, always just seemed to be beyond my touch; it was as if the author was teasing the reader, and every now and then the truth of the story was a mere fingertip away before it was quickly shrouded in even more mystery. This made it incredibly compelling. Sometimes a little bit head wrecking sure… but because Joan He is a truly talented writer my interest never waned. It was a story that revealed itself slowly and assuredly.
Honestly I’ve never read anything like it before. Absolutely every single strand of plot and character detail had a purpose; I often didn’t know what that purpose was during the early parts of the novel but a little after half way through…. HELLO PAYOFF with a whole tonne of little lightbulb moments flashing together to create the most breathtakingly emotional climax and conclusion; such true brilliance this story showed itself to be by the end.
I wish to keep my review as vague as possible because this is a book that is best savoured without knowing anything about where the story will take you. At its most reductive the book is based in a futuristic, climate ravaged world that is becoming uninhabitable, and at the novel’s core is the story of two sisters. Cee and Kasey. Both lost, one metaphorically and the other a little more literally. And both are searching for the other.
It’s a story about family. About what bonds us together. About what drives us to endure. About the essence of who we are and what makes us who we are. It’s about the ones we’re meant to find, the ones who for us are home, and what sacrifices we will make to find them and ultimately find ourselves.
Read this if want to read something slow burning with a carefully deliberate plot all mixed up with mysterious characters and what feels like an eerily prescient setting.
*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*
Publishing 4th May 2021, Text Publishing
Some Time Later…
I had to buy a hardback copy of this for myself because I fell so in love with the book so I preordered it just before the book’s release and got some bookish merch from Joan He because of this.
I was also extremely lucky to win a twitter competition for people who had pre-ordered the book and I won the most beautiful bookmark that you can see in the photo below.
And Joan kindly personalised a bookplate to go along with my prize!