- Age Range: 12 and up
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (August 5, 2014)
- ISBN: 9780385744027
- Source: Publisher
Sixteen-year-old Leilani and her father travel from their small island town to the Big Island of Hawaii to Oahu to seek medical treatment for her epilepsy. When the President of the United States goes missing for several hours, they think nothing of it, assuming the media is rushing to assumptions. Once they arrive on the Big Island, however, a series of meteor strikes causes all electronics to fail, preventing them from communicating with their family back home. The meteor storms also bring on the appearance of a celestial being, dubbed the Green Orchid due to its flower-like appearance.
Unable to complete her medical tests, Leilani and her father are desperate to return home. Commercial flights are cancelled and a return by sea is far too dangerous. The added stress causes an increase in Leilani’s seizures, during which she experiences otherworldly connections to the past. As a food shortage becomes eminent, citizens begin to loot, forcing the military to become involved. Leilani and her father, attempting to find their own means of returning home, become just two of the many citizens forced into military camps. As their hopes of returning home dwindle, Leilani begins to wonder if somehow she is connected to the entity that looms over them. A terrifying and devastating future is before them. Will they be able to return home before it’s too late?
I was thrilled to accept this book for review because I felt it was a book that my teen son and I could read and discuss together. He’s currently quite fond of dystopian fiction and it seemed to be the kind of book he’d adore. Initially, it was. Unfortunately it took an unexpected turn…and not necessarily for the good. Here are his thoughts. Warning: there are some spoilers below. Typically, we don’t include spoilers in our review but they were necessary in order for John to fully explain his feelings about the book.
I’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii. My parents went when I was two and since then I’ve been begging my parents to take me. So when my Mom gave this book to me, I was really excited. It blended together survival fiction (I’m a big fan!) and a beautiful setting. Sure to be a success, right? Unfortunately no. It’s actually very difficult for me to write this review because I’m still rather upset at the shift the book made. It started out like any other dystopian fiction. Something happens to cause the world as we know it to go haywire. Yep, I’m sold. Initially, they claimed it was due to this meteor storm. Ok, that’s plausible. Then, in a complete shift, this thing in the sky is an alien being and Leilani is connected to it somehow. Ok, where the heck did that come from? This dramatic shift really irritated me. I felt tricked, somehow. I was really enjoying the book, I was going to recommend it to all my friends. And then this. Making things worse is the “to be continued….” at the end. So this is going to be a series now? I’m all about cliffhanger endings but this one left me mad. My mom says I should not rush to judgement and wait until the next book comes out, but I don’t know if I have the patience to do so.
I’m trying to be a responsible and respectful reader and finding the benefits to this book. I do agree that it is an excellent survival story. I like how Leilani and her father were brought together due to the challenges they were faced, rather than giving up and fighting all the time. But that shift in the storyline. I don’t know if I can get over it.
So, I’ll do what my Mom suggests and I’ll read the next book. I’ll be more guarded about my feelings and trust, however.
I guess I can recommend this novel to fans of survivalist fiction and if you read this review you know about the thing that changed my feelings about this book. Looking at other reviews, people seemed to love it. Perhaps I am alone in my feelings, perhaps I’m the only one who chose to state them. So, I’m not going to tell you not to read this book. I’ll just warn you in advance. That’s the best I can do!
There you have it. Now that John and I have discussed the book, he somewhat understands the author’s motives and is a little more forgiving of what transpired. I understand his feelings; this is probably the first time he’s felt so strongly about a book in a not so positive way. Take John’s experiences as you may; I’ll be interested to read others reviews of this title!