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young adult book reviews & more

Shift by Charlotte Agell

ShiftAdrian Havoc used to think he had the best of both worlds, but that was before his father never came back from the moon and his mother started stressing over work. His parents are people of science and math, employed, strangely, but the religious government called Homestate. Homestate controls everything in Adrian’s home of Atro City, from simple things like admission to the zoo to mandatory religious education under the state religion. Now that Shift is approaching, the end of the world or so the government says, everything is about to change, and Adrian knows he can’t be a part of it anymore. So he leaves, traveling north to search for a place of peace, but instead, he’ll find the truth.

Shift is a peek into a hypothetical future world, and a scary one at that. Though terrifying to me, a government with absolute power over even personal matters such as religion, as in this novel, is not too farfetched, and Agell refines this to make it disturbingly real. As in most novels with dystopias, the plot is fast moving, suspenseful, and very original. The characters, on the other hand, were sometimes uninteresting and one-dimensional, although I enjoyed some of the quirkier characters such as Shriek and the penguin Mr. Baby Guy. Everything about this dysfunctional future is plausible; Agell even has it down to a science. The only issue with this is that most readers will not be able to understand the short or incomplete scientific explanations for various phenomena and may be confused, as I was at times. Nevertheless, Shift makes a profound statement about the relationship between religion, government, and the individual that will get the reader thinking.

Readers who enjoy futuristic or utopian novels, particularly Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn, and The Giver by Lois Lowry, will enjoy this thought provoking novel. I hope there will be a sequel or companion novel to Shift so I can get the rest of the incredible story I’m sure is there.

Rating: 4.0

Review copy from author Charlotte Agell

6 munch(es) :

Steph Su said...

Wow, this sounds like my kind of book. Sounds like a cross between The Hunger Games, Life As We Knew It, and Armageddon Summer. Nice. And the cover looks very similar to the covers used on Ellen Hopkins' books; I wonder if they were designed by the same person...? Thanks for the great review!

Anonymous said...

I just finished the book also, and wanted to see what others thought of it.
I live in Maine (like the author) and loved the portrayal, of the locals. Right smart lobstermen and gardeners, who find a way to survive in the harsh post nuclear world north of the dead zone. I wonder, in the new Obama era will patriotism out of fear, and the christian right continue to be a factor that provides fodder for sci fi? I would like to see a sequel. I want to find out about the utopian communities they will find! I want to find them too!

Liviania said...

This sounds really cool. I bet Lenore would like it.

Charlotte Agell said...

Is it appropriate for the author to comment or is that bad manners? I hope not. I really enjoyed this review and the questions that came out of it. While I am currently working on a very jolly series about a 4th grader, the landscape and characters of Shift continue to stay with me - specifically: Daniel's story, which is delivering itself to me in fits and starts.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Charlotte

Anonymous said...

This book was extremely intriguing from the first sentence and being able to attend the book talk was a privilage. Many questions I had about the book were answered. Having the past being brought into the future opened my eyes to what could happen and maybe the 'polar shift' really will happen.

Anonymous said...

yall are all gay and so are books

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