Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Teen Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


Teen reviewer Johanna is back with a look at one of her new favorites:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Who needs adult books when we have such a huge selection of awesome YA books?! I hardly ever wander into the adult section, but this summer a book that my mom read caught my attention. You can find Station Eleven in the upstairs science fiction section at Central (don’t get lost!), but it could easily fit into the teen section.

Sometimes in YA, authors attempt to employ cool devices like jumping between distant settings, but they end up jarring, forced, or just plain weird. Mandel, however, employs multiple interesting devices effectively, creating an engaging story that spans our modern civilization and beyond – one that might make you more thankful of the miracle and craziness that civilization is. (Seriously guys, be thankful for oranges.)

The premise: a virus outbreak becomes a global pandemic, killing more than 99% of the people it comes in contact with. People abandon cities, and without the human organization and labor to continue basic operations, modern technology fails. What remains is the web of human relationships. Station Eleven is classified as science fiction, but it is hardly different than most fiction with its attention to character development, emotions, relationships, etc.
If you are like me, dystopians get extra scrutiny because I worry that the writing will be subpar or it will sound like a remix of The Hunger Games, but Station Eleven more than exceeded my expectations. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the science fiction genre’s simultaneous capacity for thoughtful commentary on our lives and engrossing storytelling of strange worlds.

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