Young Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
October 14th, 2014
My local library
In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last–a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.
Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities–but not for Glory, who has no plan for what’s next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way…until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions–and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do anything to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.
The premise makes this sound like the story of Glory O’Brien: kickass revolutionary leader. And that’s not at all what this book is about. So ignore the last two sentences in the synopsis. This is the story of a teenaged girl, finding herself. And because it’s an A.S. King novel, the teenage girl is self-possessed, observant, intelligent, and grounded. Also, wry. Not at all realistic to teens, in my experience BUT thoroughly enjoyable to experience as a narrative voice.
If you know A.S. King’s style, you’ll recognize the themes in this novel, and likely really enjoy it. It’s heavy with issues, especially feminism, what’s a healthy vs. unhealthy friendship, grief, finding self, etc. But this heft doesn’t bog down the pace, which remains consistent. And really, if you think about the title and what the history of the future means, as a word, you’ll have the crux of this book.
It’s definitely worth a read, with Glory’s unique, loner perspective and approachable snark. It’s also nice to see suicide and the loss of a parent dealt with in a way that isn’t ‘after school special’. I did want a little more punch, as with Reality Boy, but it was a good listen despite that. And props to the narrator, who did an excellent job!