Review: Plus One

Title: Plus One 17934493

Author: Elizabeth Fama

Rating: ★★

Provided Synopsis: Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

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 fast-paced romantic adventure story.

Review: As a Smudge, Sol is a member of half of the world’s population who work at Night (while the other half occupy the daylight hours). It is considered a criminal offense for her to be out of her home during the day, thus she creates a plan to send her to the hospital so she might have an excuse to avoid curfew. Once she reaches the hospital she has a goal: she is to sneak into the maternity ward to bring (also effectively known as briefly kidnapping) her reassigned-to-Day brother’s newborn daughter to see her dying grandfather. The death of her grandfather and loss of her brother to Day two years prior mean that Sol will soon have nothing, and she is willing to risk it all to bring peace to the one she loves most.

A Day medical apprentice, however, throws a wrench into Sol’s plan when he reports her for a self-inflicted injury. Eventually, he will come to assist her, but Sol’s timing along with the existence of other factors she does not understand mean she will set into motion a series of events that soon spiral out of control. D’Arcy and Sol soon find themselves on the run from the authorities, with the resulting story being one that I would never go as far as to call a thriller as the synopsis does, but instead a discovery of some truths about the Day/Night divide and the meaning of loyalty.

There were many things I liked about this book. For one, I really liked the characters of Sol and D’Arcy. The banter between these two was wonderful to read, and I almost found myself wishing that the plot twist (which any reader can see from a mile away) was never discovered by the two of them since it led to the rapid evolution of emotion that I think could have been better had they developed over time. But time is not on the side of these teenagers, which brings me to one of my problems with this book: the meandering of Sol and D’Arcy towards the middle of the story. You would think fugitives of the law would have more of a sense of urgency, yet these two wandered around a state park to observe nature. In the end I am not even sure the stakes of some of the sub-plots were high enough to have them be included in the storyline at all. It is weird — this story had a lot going for it and I think I would have enjoyed it more had the discovery of secrets been more about the politics of the Day/Night divide.

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