Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Crossing

The Crossing by Jason Mott
Park Row Books: 5/15/18
eBook review copy; 336 pages
ISBN-13: 9780778330738

The Crossing by Jason Mott is a highly recommended tale about twins struggling to survive in a dying world.

When the Disease first started, it hit only the elderly. Once they got it, they just fell asleep and never woke up. Then the age of those who caught the Disease began to go lower and the recrimination over how or who started the Disease began, turning into a world-wide war. Now the world is in the 10th year of the Disease. Those who lead the war efforts are dying from it, while those who are actually drafted, fighting, and dying in the war are the young.

Tommy and Virginia are seventeen-year-old twins who only have each other. Their parents died when they were five and they have been in the foster system ever since. The twins are opposites. Virginia remembers everything, every word, every detail, in complete clarity - calling it the Memory Gospel - while Tommy doesn't recall much at all. Now Tommy has received a draft letter and the two are making a final desperate trip from Oklahoma to Florida to see the shuttle launch to Jupiter’s moon Europa. Their father was obsessed with Europa and Virginia is sure that the shuttle may be humankind’s last chance for survival. Their foster father, a police officer, is following them, determined to bring Tommy back to go to the military.

This is more a story of sibling relationships and  rivalry than a dystopian tale. It is set in a dying world, but the important part of the story is the interaction between Tommy and Virginia and how they relate to each other and the world. Virginia's disaffection for people and the Memory Gospel is an oddly creepy combination. She may remember everything and be the intelligent one, but she's also a bit off putting. She recounts in perfect recall the series of letters their father wrote to them, which, among other things, encouraged them to take care of each other.

The Crossing is an interesting viewpoint for a dystopian story, but perhaps not the best choice. I will readily admit to wanting to hear more about the Disease, more about the world wide war, more about the political ramifications and explanations for the plague that strikes the elderly and slowly works its way down the generations. Virginia is not really a likeable character and while it is compelling to see the struggles in the journey to Florida, her flashbacks and recollection of their father's letters takes away from the edginess and desperation of the odyssey.

The quality of the writing is excellent, as I expected. There was the potential for an even greater story here, but, still, I rather liked some of the revealing disclosures at the end which made the story much better for this reader.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Park Row Books via Netgalley.

No comments: