Genre: YA, Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Author: G.P. Ching
Source: Promotional Book Tours
Reviewer: Rae Z. Ryans
Synopsis of Grounded
In the year 2050, a secret government study nicknamed Operation Source Code injects eight volunteers with a retrovirus. The goal? To abate the energy crisis by reprogramming human DNA to power personal electronic devices. The experiment works but with disastrous consequences.
Seventeen years later, Lydia Troyer is far from concerned with the energy crisis. Growing up in the isolated community of Hemlock Hollow, life hasn’t changed much since 1698 when her Amish ancestors came to America. She milks her cow by hand, bakes fresh bread every morning, and hopes to be courted by Jeremiah, the boy who’s been her best friend since she could walk.
But when Lydia’s father has a stroke and is taken to the outside world for medical treatment, Lydia and Jeremiah leave home to visit him. An ordinary light switch thrusts Lydia into a new world where energy is a coveted commodity and her own personal history makes her the most sought-after weapon on the planet.
Rae’s Review of Grounded
The story unfolds rather quickly, and tosses you into a dystopian future. I think the scariest part in this world is that it is not impossible. As a human race, we are already half way there. That right there hooks me before we even get to really understand or meet Lydia, the main character.
Lydia is coming of age in her Amish village. Much like they do now, they live on the outskirts, and tend to keep to themselves. The difference is that they are not allowed, read barred by a giant erected wall from stepping foot into the futuristic world of the Green Congress.
Years of war killed many; it scorched the dying earth, and made food scarce. Then the nuclear reactor blew. The humans rebuilt, electricity becoming scarce. The people fed into the bureaucratic @#$, believed the lies, and paid the outrageous sums to survive. If you could not afford it, you began or found a scamper to steal it.
Underneath in the dark shadows the government sanctioned a program. They needed more power, and they needed it now. Thus Operation Source Code birthed into fruition with the help of eight military volunteers.
They Split them into four teams, each husband and wife. They were injected with a retrovirus, giving them power at their fingertips. It was not perfect, and there were many problems with the alpha teams. One of them was inevitable: pregnancy. The child would come to be known as a spark.
Lydia, even with her spark power would not manifest until much later. Not until she celebrated a rite of passage in the Amish world. Hemlock Hollow doesn’t have electricity. Anything that requires power uses methane from the animals raised. So when the light switch is flipped for the first time, Lydia’s spark comes to life and thus really begins the adventure.
SN: I will try to give as much info as possible, but I tend to never give away more than you’ll find in the blurb. I mean what’s the point of reading if I tell you all the good stuff
I love dystopian reads. They are up there in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, but they are their own breed of reading. They typically span both genres equally. With Grounded, we see the dystopian everywhere with the exception of Hemlock Hollow, which essentially is like a taboo place for those who have never been, but heaven on earth for those that live there.
People who have never been there are grilled that it is a place of filth. To summarize it, “They eat real meat, don’t vaccinate, and they don’t use electricity or cars.” Their life is simple and devoted to their religion as much as it is to God.
Now sticking with the Amish culture, I enjoyed how it was presented throughout the whole story. Both Lydia and Jeremiah embark on this adventure together. They are best friends, and without really knowing love, they both feel they are deep in it. The whole community believes it too, and expects them to court after they return.
During the story, we see Lydia struggle between being English and being Amish. It pulls and tugs at her heart as she compares the ways of life. The internal battles she has over her feelings, and those of the newcomers in her life make her ask the tough questions. She realizes that there are no easy answers. You can’t make everyone happy if you want to be happy is really the bottom line that I grasped.
Koran…Where to begin with him, eh? Essentially, he is just like Lydia, but they do not share parentage (I was waiting for that to be the reason, so kudos for fooling me). Up until he meets Lydia, he thought he was the only one. Both of them feel this magnetic pull to each other. Resisting is physically and emotionally painful, but when they kiss the world around them goes to @#$%.
Then there is action. It is descriptive, edgy, and not your average boring stuff. It captivates and grips you. It’s like you’re a third wheel and along for the ride. It pushed me to stay awake until 3 am to finish the story. Only great books can accomplish that.
Ok I am going to stop here because If I go any further I know I’ll just ruin it for everyone. This is a perfect; clean YA dystopian read that adults and teens will love. It begins with the perfect bang, and lights up your mind in ways you may not have thought. As much as it is dystopian it is speculative, and I am all for challenging the minds of the human race. I loved the story, but I would hate for this to be our future.