Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Ballad of Ami Miles

The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley
Feiwel & Friends: 12/1/20
eBook review copy; 272 pages

The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley is a recommended young adult novel that follows a teen girl on a quest to find her long-lost mother in a post-apocalyptic future.

In this changed world, many women of child bearing years are unable to have children. Ami Miles mother met a traveler and was miraculously able to conceive her, but then her mother had to leave her after her birth to keep Ami safe. She has been raised by her grandparents at the family compound, Heavenly Shepherd. When Ami is sixteen she returns from the woods to see an older stranger at the compound and it becomes clear that her grandparents expect her to submit to his affection and breed with her so she can carry on the family line. Luckily, her aunts and uncles know what is going on and have a plan in place to set her off on a journey to find her mother. They disagree with her grandfather's patriarchal control over everyone and want to save her. Ami follows a clue left by her mother. She was told to give it to Ami when she was ready to leave the compound and find her. This is the story of Ami's quest to find her mother and discover who she really is.

This is a well written novel that is definitely YA and has a very simplistic plot that is in many ways allegorical. The bad guys are definitely bad and caricatures of a type and the good guys clearly good. The focus is on Ami's internal thoughts as she deals with a world that is not at all as her grandfather described. She learns about herself and others while being introduced to other points-of-view that challenge several controversial topics from her upbringing. She is introduced to the ideas of women's rights, sexual identity, racism, and self-determination. The story does leave you with several unanswered questions and unresolved issues, but likely the target audience won't notice this absence.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Macmillan.

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