Wednesday, June 15, 2011

America Pacifica by Anna North

Title: America Pacifica
Author: Anna North
Publisher: Reagan Arthur (Little, Brown, and Company)
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "Eighteen-year-old Darcy lives on the island of America Pacifica—one of the last places on earth that is still habitable, after North America has succumbed to a second ice age. Education, food, and basic means of survival are the province of a chosen few, while the majority of the island residents must struggle to stay alive. The rich live in "Manhattanville" mansions made from the last pieces of wood and stone, while the poor cower in the shantytown slums of "Hell City" and "Little Los Angeles," places built out of heaped up trash that is slowly crumbling into the sea. The island is ruled by a mysterious dictator named Tyson, whose regime is plagued by charges of corruption and conspiracy.

But to Darcy, America Pacifica is simply home—the only one she's ever known. In spite of their poverty she lives contentedly with her mother, who works as a pearl diver. It's only when her mother doesn't come home one night that Darcy begins to learn about her past as a former "Mainlander," and her mother's role in the flight from frozen California to America Pacifica. Darcy embarks on a quest to find her mother, navigating the dark underbelly of the island, learning along the way the disturbing truth of Pacifica's early history, the far-reaching influence of its egomaniacal leader, and the possible plot to murder some of the island's first inhabitants—including her mother."

My Two Cents:

Oh boy, where to start? I had originally picked up this book because it seemed like a really interesting premise. Darcy, a young woman, is faced with the mystery of her mother's disappearance on an island that many from America flee too after a sort of Ice Age takes over the mainland making it uninhabitable. And the premise was but it wasn't particularly well executed. This book is gritty, very gritty. Some parts of the book are almost stomach turning, which I don't usually have an issue with when a story calls for something gritty or hard to read but at some parts, the book seemed to be gritty and icky for the sake of being gritty and icky without any higher purpose.

Also, I had seen this book advertised in several places as a Young Adult book. I have a feeling that whoever gave it that grouping did not read the book. This is most definitely not a Young Adult book. While Darcy is an 18 year old, some scenes in the book definitely push this book into the Adult threshold.

Good thing: The world building in the book is wonderful. America Pacifica is an interesting place. Many of the neighborhoods on the island are throwbacks to the cities of the United States, something that I could realistically see happening if we were ever forced to colonize a new place.

The end of the book is what really pushed me to give this book such a low rating. The ending was not satisfying at all. It was also terribly abrupt and really made me wonder why I had put up with the rest of the book. This book was not for me.

My Review:
2 out of 5 stars

Has anyone else read this book? I'd love to chat about it with someone!


  1. Don't you hate it when you spend so much time reading a book only to be disappointed in the ending? Thanks for the review, I am going to keep away from this one.

  2. Interesting. I have seen the title a couple of times and the premise seemed interesting, but this is the first review I have seen. I may try it, I would definitely like to know what others think. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

  3. I read the blurb on Goodreads and saw a few reviewsa bout the gritty-ness of the book.

    Thanks for the honest review.

  4. That's a shame. It sounded like it was going to be a good one too.

  5. Definitely share your thoughts on this one! I appreciated North's prose and ability to transport me to the island, which was gritty and scary, but had a hard time picking up the book simply because it was too depressing!

  6. @Anne It makes me a little grumbly. I liked the world-building in this book a lot but I could have been reading a book I really liked instead!

  7. @booksNyarn The premise is incredibly interesting; it was just way too icky for me!

  8. @Karen Maybe others will like it but the gritty-ness was too much for me!

  9. @Meg Yes! It took me a long time to get through the book because I just didn't really want to pick it up!


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