It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts.
Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliberately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D'Arcy Benoît, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities—and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love.
Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights—and a compelling, rapid-fire romantic adventure story.
Publishes in US: April 8th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: YA dystopia
Series? I don't think so
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Author stalk away: Website | Twitter | Tumblr
I was first drawn to Plus One because of the gorgeous cover, but then with the synopsis of the alternate reality along with the segregation of people into people who are allowed to be out during the day and those only at night cemented my interest.
Plus One was addicting for me. I read half of it in one sitting and wanted to read more, but had to go to bed. Sol's family loyalty and her bravery to get things done made me admire her. She was smart, but also she was a rule breaker, so she has been in a factory doing mindless work. She doesn't seem to mind too much because she is taking care of her grandpa, Poppu. Her parents passed when she was little and it had been them and her brother Ciel since. Ciel got into trouble and now he was recruited by the Rays (Day people) in order to hack, which is what he was locked up for. So Sol doesn't get to see him anymore and she's hurt by that because she'd always felt so close.
She goes through great lengths to get her brother's new baby to Poppu so he could hold her. He was gravely ill and wouldn't make it to the next Unity night, where Rays and Smudges could be out during their opposite hour. The world building for this was pretty good, I liked learning about how the Day/Night system was set up and it was harrowing how strict it was. There are what they call Hour Guards who checks ids and makes sure that each perspective group is where they should be.
When she is in the hospital she meets D'Arcy, who she refers to as Day Boy in her head, which made me smirk. He is the doctor's apprentice, but the way he gets wrapped up in Sol's life kept my attention. What made him stick around and continue to help her was admirable even if he did certain things following procedure that got her in more trouble at first. Also, his family brings another element of depth to the story. He is the apprentice of his mom, and his dad has such a story as to their differences and lives.
I like though that the relationship between Sol and D'Arcy was slow. They had the banter that I enjoyed from the start, as well as D'Arcy's motives. It made me a little nervous not knowing why he kept helping her, but then meeting his dad, and realizing what a heart he has, it become more clear. I was so cheering for them especially with the desk situation and its resolution.
So. Normally I am all about a stand alone but I seriously hope that this one is not. The ending was sweet in ways, but it just didn't sit right with me. Maybe its brave to end that way and it shows just the depth of the loyalty of Sol to those who manage to weave their way into her heart. But still. It was sad to me, and I know it should be hopeful and giving that open end where you can argue with yourself about exactly how it will play out.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Are you an early bird or night owl?