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Friday, May 9, 2014

My Thoughts: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

**Review copy received from publisher**

I have been seeing a lot of buzz regarding Plus One for a few months now. Loads of people are talking about it. So, naturally, I was curious about it. I even requested it from Netgalley (I was denied). So, I was very excited when I was sent an ebook copy to review from Raincoast books.

One of my new years resolutions, regarding my reading habits, had been to come out of my comfort zone and read more fantasy/dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. Plus One fits right into that resolution, and I was excited to see what the story brought me. However, I am not sure what I would categorize Elizabeth Fama's most recent novel... maybe alternate reality.

In the Plus One version of the world, society is split into two, there are day dwellers (Rays) and night dwellers (Smudges), they are completely separated, the two groups do not really interact with one another and there are enforced curfews. The story follows Sol, and Sol lives in the night. She however gets caught up in this grand conspiracy that takes her on a crazy adventure with D'Arcy (who is a Ray).

I am going to jump in and say that I loved this book. It was so good. I really really liked the characters. Every single one of them. I loved Sol. She was feisty and sarcastic, but incredibly intelligent. She's a headstrong girl and is guided by her emotions. This really resonated with me, it's how I am 90% of the time. Sol's reactions are direct responses to how she is feeling. Which makes her a bit of a time bomb, you never know what she's going to say or do. And then we have D'Arcy. Who is basically the complete opposite of Sol. He's completely logical, and analyses everything. He doesn't let his emotions get in the way of things. That's not to say he isn't emotional. He is. D'Arcy is sweet, so sweet. And as the novel develops, we get to see him become a bit more vulnerable.

A secondary character in Plus One that I liked was, Jean, D'Arcy's dad. He was very accepting. His son brought him a whooper of a mess and he just went with it, tried to problem solve like he saw that sort of thing all the time. He thought outside the box, I liked that. I also liked that he, as a parent, had a role in the story. A lot of YA novels these days are missing parental figures. As in, parents have no idea what their kid is up to. Not in this story.

I also really liked how the relationship between Sol and D'Arcy matured. It was slow and easy. Sol didn't really like him in the beginning, I wasn't sure I liked him. So much so, that I wasn't sure if he was the second protagonist. I thought for sure she was going to meet someone else. But things started to make sense once you got to know him a bit more, once his motives were flushed out a bit more. Fama did a good job of that. She was able to develop Sol and D'Arcy's story without revealing to much, and without making it seem hokey.

Really, I can say the same thing for the whole story. You really have to let go of your sense of reality to read Plus One, but that's what makes it fun. The plot moves along at a fantastic pace, I never felt bored or annoyed with the story, and I never felt like it wasn't going anywhere. Things were revealed when they needed to be, Fama never kept you guessing for long- that was nice.

The only thing that bugged me about this book, and it might be a biggie for some: The ending. Plus One is a stand alone novel. WHAT?!??! No way. There are so many things left hanging. Okay, everything is sort of wrapped up, but more in a- let's prepare you for a second book, but let's not leave it at a cliff hanger- kind of way. I was grumpy when I found out that there was no sequel in mind. It's funny, because some books are series/trilogies when they really don't need to be, while this one could be, and would be a great series/trilogy, but it's not. I was not impressed.

Overall, I loved Plus One, I loved the characters and they way they grew throughout the story, I loved the plot, I found it unique and interesting, I just really did not like the ending. I thought it was a cop out, and it really made me wonder whether I want to read more by Elizabeth Fama, no matter how much I enjoyed the rest of the book. I do not like, nor appreciate bittersweet, ambiguous endings.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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  1. Oh, it's good to find out that the ending is open-ended as that's something that would bug me too. Otherwise, I love the sound of this one and look forward to reading it, especially because I loved Monstrous Beauty. My one question would be why society has been divided into Rays and Smudges. I hope that's explained.

  2. I just picked this up today, and I'm so glad I did. I, too, would be a big fan of such a character in Sol, and I'm looking forward to finding out how this would end, however nerve-wracking it seems to be.

    Great review, Sara.

  3. I guess I'm late to the party on this because I'm only just now becoming aware of the buzz for this one. And wow, does it ever sound unique! That's a major plus for me because books these days tend to run together. I'm so very curious so I can't wait to check this one out - especially since it made such a good impression on you. Okay, the ending: pretty sure I would feel the same as you if it was left too open-ended with no expectation of a sequel. Don't know how to feel about that.

  4. I am reading now and loving it as well.


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