Book Review: America Pacifica – Anna North

Title: America Pacifica
Author: Anna North
ISBN: 9780316105125
Pages: 304
Release Date: May 18, 2011
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Genre: Dystopian
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary:

Darcy is an eighteen year old living in America Pacifica, all that is left after North America was enveloped by an ice age caused by climate change.  When her mother doesn’t come home one evening, Darcy ventures out to look for her, and in the process uncovers some startling information both about her mother as well as the founding of America Pacifica itself.

Review:

The island society portrayed in America Pacifica is a bleak, unforgiving place.  While the rich enjoy a lifestyle with such luxuries as fresh vegetables and real meat, the poor are forced to consume jellyfish, the only source of food found in abundance in the ocean.  They work difficult, backbreaking jobs – Darcy was forced to drop out of school and work so her mother and she wouldn’t starve.  It’s a miserable, hard life, and Anna North describes it in gritty detail.  The world she has created is unique and full of interesting tidbits.

Darcy can be a very difficult character at times. It’s understandable because she’s led such a rough life, but she’s hard to like.  She is rude and is perfectly willing to let others take the fall for her own actions.  She uses people, but to caveat, she also allows herself to be used when it suits her – it’s a fact of the world she lives in.  Darcy is incredibly resourceful and determined, but she doesn’t always make the smartest decisions.

North’s worldbuilding is both realistic and shocking in America Pacifica.  She does a great job with the initial details, ensuring that the reader understands what life is really like.  However, as the book progresses, loose ends crop up that hampered my enjoyment of the novel.  I would have loved a little more explanation and revelation, as I had many questions, the answers to some of which were unclear at the end of the book.

The premise of America Pacifica is unique, and the mysteries behind both Darcy’s mother’s disappearance as well as the island community kept me hooked from beginning to end.  At times, it was an uncomfortable read, but an honest one.  Though there were aspects of the novel I didn’t love, North stays true to both the theme of the novel, as well as the unique setting she has created.  If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, whether young adult or adult, this is a book that is worth reading.

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Comments

  1. I have come to really appreciate a good dystopian, and this one sounds excellent. I think the fact that so many of the population has to eat jellyfish is rather interesting, and can’t imagine living in a place where food is so scarce. Though the main character sounds like somewhat of a pill, I think it would be interesting to see how she has to maneuver to get around in this crazy place. This was a great review that really piqued my interest. I am adding this one to my list right away!

  2. I have come to really appreciate a good dystopian, and this one sounds excellent. I think the fact that so many of the population has to eat jellyfish is rather interesting, and can’t imagine living in a place where food is so scarce. Though the main character sounds like somewhat of a pill, I think it would be interesting to see how she has to maneuver to get around in this crazy place. This was a great review that really piqued my interest. I am adding this one to my list right away!

  3. I’m not entirely sure that this one is for me, but I should give it a try. For the challenge, if nothing else.

  4. I’m not entirely sure that this one is for me, but I should give it a try. For the challenge, if nothing else.

  5. I have this one on my shelf to read. I love dystopia but I tried reading it a short while back and only got a couple pages into it and decided it was going to be put off until another day.

  6. I have this one on my shelf to read. I love dystopia but I tried reading it a short while back and only got a couple pages into it and decided it was going to be put off until another day.

  7. I would read this just because I like dystopian fiction and good world building. A few loose ends don’t bother me, but it depends on the rest of the plot.

  8. I would read this just because I like dystopian fiction and good world building. A few loose ends don’t bother me, but it depends on the rest of the plot.

  9. “At times, it was an uncomfortable read, but an honest one.”
    It’s things like that that make a really good dystopian though, when the world is hard to read about but seems to say things that need to be said. I can’t wait to pick this up!

  10. “At times, it was an uncomfortable read, but an honest one.”
    It’s things like that that make a really good dystopian though, when the world is hard to read about but seems to say things that need to be said. I can’t wait to pick this up!

  11. This is the second review I’ve read of this book and it still sounds intriguing.

  12. This is the second review I’ve read of this book and it still sounds intriguing.

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