About the Book
Published by BookBooks Publishing on May 19, 2018
I received an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
** Nothing is ever what it seems. ** The year is 2150, and bullied nineteen-year-old Flora can no longer ignore the burning curiosity to learn what’s behind the towering Wall surrounding her home state of Apollo. Citizens still read books, discuss philosophy, and send text messages, but questioning The Other Side is forbidden.
When Flora’s naïveté accidentally reveals a dark secret about Apollo, she’s forced into an isolated web of truth, lies, and survival. Fearing for her life, she leaves behind a clue for her childhood friend, Andrew, placing her last hope in their special bond.
THE APOLLO ILLUSION is a story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world.
* Audience: young adults and millennials
* Genres: dystopian suspense, science fiction, speculative fiction, YA
* Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality and occasional language
Normally, I think dystopian novels are OK. I think they have an interesting premise, but I find that most authors overdo the concept. This makes it excessively difficult for me to buy into the world that they're selling. Then comes Shari Lopatin with one of the best books I've been asked to review in my last two years of blogging. I'm so flipping in love with this book that I was begging it not to end. When it did end, as all good things must sadly do, I stared at my Kindle with an absolutely blank face hoping that my Kindle had simply put the About the Author page in the document too early as some kind of sick joke. Unfortunately, I was only kidding myself.
I talk about characters in all of my reviews, so let's start there. Lopatin has dominated the world of character creation. These kids may be teenagers, but they are so stinking realistic that I forgot that I was reading fiction for a little while. I could definitely see any of the students that I teach doing all of the things that Andrew, Flora, Don, and even Sophie do. This was awesome from a general reader's point of view, but to a teacher that's a dang magic trick. If I can see my kids in those parts so easily, they would see themselves in those roles. If they do that, they would be more likely to give Lopatin's message some real thought.
My favorite character of the bunch was definitely Don. I LOVED HIM. Lopatin, if you're reading this I'm mad and you know why. *Insert angry tears of rage and pain here* He was an absolute enigma at the beginning and once he makes more sense to the readers, there will be an absolute soft spot in your heart for this little guy. Andrew, however, was a close second. He's your everyday, run-of-the-mill, doofy teenaged dude but he grows and becomes SO MUCH MORE! It is beautiful to watch the romance unfold between him and Flora. It is very organic and feels as obvious as the romance between Ron and Hermione. Please for the love of all things wonderful, allow me to live in my fantasy world where these two grow up, get married, and have a child. I hope they name their son Jaron after their friend from The Other Side.
Lopatin has a very important message in this novel. In fact, it was so terrifyingly real that I almost couldn't finish the book because I was spooked. Lopatin introduces a world in which people have become so dependent upon electronics that they can't think for themselves. YIKES! That sounds a little too real. I am terrified of this message because I see so many of my kids who need calculators or other electronic assistance for things that we were forced to use our brains for (I'm 25 and I teach high school. It's not like I'm ancient!). The teacher in me loves it. I want to give a copy of this book to every single one of my students so that we can have the important discussion that would result from the theme of this novel. Students need this to be pointed out to them. Some of them couldn't care less. Others might be as spooked as I was.
If you like The 100, George Orwell, or any sci-fi and dystopian novels, please read this book. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. And, if you don't like it. I'll read it again and enjoy it in your place.