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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

THEN: The formation of the UNA, the high threat of eco-terrorism, the mammoth rates of unemployment and subsequent escape into a world of virtual reality are things any student can read about in their 21st century textbooks and part of the normal background noise to Freya Kallas's life. Until that world starts to crumble. NOW: It's 1985. Freya Kallas has just moved across the world and into a n…


by C. K. Kelly Martin

Overall Book Review:

Freya’s life is pretty much anything but normal. Sadly, her less-than-standard life feels so disconnected for her that she can’t find happiness. When she happens to see a stranger who feels beyond familiar, her adventure to find answers begins. The story switches between the future (which feels very dystopian) and the present (which is the 1980s). Martin clearly lived during and loved the ’80s. Her nostalgia translates incredibly well with her serious attention to detail that will make many who experienced the same things remember fondly and those who didn’t, wish they had those memories. The plot is really clever with some great surprises, especially toward the end. If you enjoy teen romance or sci-fi, you’ll love this novel.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Random House

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  4 religious exclamations; 7 mild obscenities; 2 derogatory names; 16 scatological words; 3 anatomical terms; 21 f-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Many (32) brief incidents including character joking about getting cut into pieces; accusing someone of murder; character insinuated will get killed if caught doing something wrong; pointing gun at character; character remembers seeing dead cat; son taken from family and quarantined because of sickness; second hand report that two characters’ fathers die; character recalls death and a hostage situation; AIDS mentioned; war referenced; thinking about dinosaurs becoming extinct; second hand report that terrorists killed people with a virus; second hand report that government executes terrorists; characters trampled mentioned; second hand report of character biting and scratching another character causing bleeding; reference to characters are infected by something that will kill them; character’s fingertips bleeding from clawing at a door; character receives bruises from being held so tightly; shot given to erase memory; character scratches and kicks fantasy characters; character beats someone up in dream; imagining getting tortured; character imagining will get killed in dream; dissecting a grasshopper; character throws coffee table at someone; character recalls getting hands slapped by mother when a young child; characters fighting and one gets shot (only injured); characters break into a house; characters chased and two characters get shot and killed.

Sex/Nudity: Many (34) brief incidents including kissing; arm around another character; touched leg and knee; characters see books about sex; during a movie a character puts lipstick in cleavage and puts lipstick on lips; reference to characters having virtual reality sex; character has two moms (no sexuality references between them); character thinking about her mother possibly having sex; characters joke about a half-naked guy possibly chasing after someone in the street; characters briefly mention contraception; characters joke about being like a couple having an affair; Playboy magazine mentioned; touching areas normally covered by bathing suit implied then characters sleep in the same bed; girl is topless in dream; characters are naked and touching (no further details included).   

Mature Subject Matter:

Death; Hostage Situation; Unemployment; Death of Family Members; Theft; Terrorists; Cancer; Alzheimer’s; Illegal Activities; Infidelity; Cloning; Addictions; Mental Issues.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Character given shot to wipe memory; teenager characters drunk and smoking at a party; adult smoking cigarette; mention of lung cancer from smoking; characters doing drugs during a dream; insinuation that character is on drugs; teenager has a fake ID for drinking purposes; comparison between virtual reality and narcotic; second hand report that character does illegal drugs.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I love being able to help busy parents who just don’t have the time to pre-screen all their children’s books and know how much I appreciate it as my sons have gotten older. I feel very blessed that my amazing husband makes it possible for me to be a stay-at-home mother to four amazing boys. When not reading or enjoying time with my family, I like baking, especially trying new recipes, and the occasional sewing project.