Plot: This novel adapts the historical case of a town consumed by the plague to a modern tale of a township surviving under quarantine. The book follows a young woman, Emmott, who yearns to leave her village as she comes of age amidst extraordinary circumstances and discovers a love for her community. Emmott’s emotional growth is paced appropriately in parallel with the reaction to and fight against the mysterious disease plaguing the town.
Prose: Composed from a first-person perspective, the novel is well-written, though occasionally the descriptions seem to belie the character’s life experience. For the most part, the narrative voice feels organic, and it deftly balances interiority with action. The dialogue is similarly effective and authentic.
Originality: The characters and township are adapted from an actual historical event and updated to fit in the modern world. The overall concept is a clever idea and the book offers an original story, executed satisfyingly.
Character Development: Emmott’s characterization is well-crafted and her progression to maturity in the face of crisis is handled skillfully. The result is a character that is much more complex and multi-dimensional than many YA protagonists. Secondary characters, particularly love interest Aiden and Emmott's father, are well-rendered and what they represent to Emmott remains pertinent to the emotional and external conflicts and resolutions in the story.
Blurb: This book offers a thrilling modern adaption of a lesser-acknowledged but important historical tragedy.
Date Submitted: August 21, 2018