You know me. I love book tours and I love dystopian novels. When TLC Book Tours offered me the chance to combine those interests, I couldn't resist...even though we're right in the midst of a major move. I just can't say no to books that intrigue me!
Lighthouse Island definitely did that. It's been marketed as a literary dystopian novel. I think that's a very apt way to describe it.
It doesn't follow the standard formulaic approach of most dystopian novels. You know the one...unique teenager in a love triangle faces off against and evil totalitarian government and, after some moments of self-doubt, conquers all and realizes true love.
Don't get me wrong. Some of those elements are in Lighthouse Island, but they are presented in a much more unique, thoughtful way.
Paulette Jiles gives us the story of our heroine, Nadia, from the moment she was abandoned by her parents at age four. The majority of the story, though, has her as an adult, searching for a place called Lighthouse Island. The world is one massive city with serious fresh water shortages and she is a fugitive on the run.
I particularly liked this line: "They had devoured the world and let nothing but a dry husk for Nadia Stepan." Jiles does a wonderful job of showing how the world has deteriorated and left nothing for these future generations. But, she doesn't get preachy about it, which is nice.
Along the way, Nadia meets her match, James Oratov. He's a paralyzed demolition expert whose position in life has afforded him much more opportunity than Nadia. Together, they aim to escape the dangerous world in which they live and start over together on Lighthouse Island.
I don't want to give much away, but I will say that I loved the ending. Because of Jiles's unique approach, I genuinely did not know how the story would turn out. She kept me guessing and I loved that. I was extremely happy with the ending - I'll leave it at that.
The book does not read like other dystopian novels. It reads like literary fiction. That's the whole thing that sets it apart and I loved that. It's so nice to see good writing mixed with this popular fiction genre. I would love to see more books like Lighthouse Island on the market. It's the perfect fix for those of us who love dystopian stories, but are disappointed by the writing quality in the young adult market.
Date Completed: August 17, 2014
*To read what others are saying about Lighthouse Island, check out the full tour schedule.*