Title: Love in the Time of Global Warming
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: Henry Holt (Macmillan)
Time taken to read: 3 days
Goodreads synopsis: Her life by the sea in ruins, Pen has lost everything in the Earth Shaker that all but destroyed the city of Los Angeles. She sets out into the wasteland to search for her family, her journey guided by a tattered copy of Homer’s Odyssey. Soon she begins to realize her own abilities and strength as she faces false promises of safety, the cloned giants who feast on humans, and a madman who wishes her dead. On her voyage, Pen learns to tell stories that reflect her strange visions, while she and her fellow survivors navigate the dangers that lie in wait. In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.
This books wins the Kate Likes Books Award for Best Title Ever. I hated everything else about it.
First, there is zero character development. There is zero character, period. I feel absolutely nothing for these kids. All I know about Pen is that she loves her brother. And I guess I also know that she has magical powers, but that’s a whole other issue. I know that Hex is transgender. That’s pretty cool. Good job for representation. But like, there’s no development of the romance. Why do they fall for each other? What do they even know about each other? Pen meets him and all of a sudden she’s obsessed. It all seems too convenient.
Then there’s the magic. What???? And the Giants???? Okay, I should have been ready for the Giants. That was kind of in the flap copy, which I kind of didn’t bother to read. I really thought this was going to be a commentary on issues such as global warming and even a warning as to what life could be like if we don’t start recycling and whatnot. My point is, I honestly thought the Giants were, like, a metaphor or a figment of her imagination for the first half of the book. And I thought that was pretty interesting and was disappointed when it turned out that they’re actually real. Back to her magic. Like I said, what??? Where did that come from? Why do these people have powers? Where did they come from? How do they work? Just like with the characterization, none of this is developed.
The plot…doesn’t exist. This random Kronen guy wants revenge on Pen because she stabbed a Giant (while later in the book she talks about being so weak she can’t imagine doing any harm to the creatures or anyone for that matter). And apparently it’s supposed to be a retelling of The Odyssey…. How about authors come up with their own stories? Sounds good.
I’m so over this book, I can’t even write about it anymore. Just, don’t read this one, you guys. I guarantee everyone reading this review could write a better apocalypse story.