An unexpected treasure. A treacherous journey. A thrilling adventure that will shape her future.
Jane lives on an island of trash. And even though she has to scavenge garbage and deal with sinister robots, she still loves her home. It’s all she’s ever experienced, from her most cherished memories to her foggy past that she can’t quite remember.
But when a doll shows up in the latest batch of garbage, everything changes. Unlike the rest of the junk, the doll is in excellent condition, including its tag which reads, “Please return to Gloria Thatcher.”
Convinced it arrived by accident, Jane vows to return the doll to its rightful owner. There’s just one problem—nobody has left the island before, thanks to the tyrannical robots guarding the Docks, a dangerous place with a mysterious history.
Will Jane find safe passage to the Lands of Luxury? Will she uncover the secrets of her past? (from Goodreads)
My Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The second I found out this indie book was both dystopian and middle-grade, I knew I had to give it a shot. After all, those are all my favorite genres. 😉
The world building was a perfect mix of dystopian and realism, bringing to mind some of my favorite sci-fi tropes while still being its own original thing. I really loved Jane and her determination to deliver the doll, and when it became clear why it was so personal to her, well, it tugged at my heartstrings. Her friends were great supporting characters, and I liked how both boys had their own character arcs.
About midway through, the story took a more serious turn than I was expecting or prepared to handle at the time. I actually set the book down for a few days, determined to forget it and my disappointment, but after a while, I got up the courage to give it another shot, and I’m so glad I did.
The storyline I feared ended up being the most nuanced and beautiful thing ever, and I had actually stopped reading right before it got really good. I’m so glad I kept reading, and I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere. 😉 It ended up tackling some pretty serious issues with grace, heart, and nuance, and there were some really sweet moments mixed in. (I can neither confirm nor deny that I cried.)
Favorite quote: Home still ruled her thoughts—both the good and the bad.
This is a fabulous debut novel, and I look forward to seeing what the author does next.
CW: disregard for human life, scary robots, amnesia, foster care themes, traumatic flashbacks, and fires.