on October 29, 2019
Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.
At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean's surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.
Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father's been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he's innocent, and all she's interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.
When she's picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.
Now, she'll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.
First and foremost: this was such a fun ARC review, and I can’t thank everyone who was part of this one enough! It was organized, as always, by the amazing FFBC, but this time instead of the standard digital galley or mailed copy from the publisher (all of which I adore), the FFBC partnered up with Disney Publishing and the author, London Shah, to do a traveling ARC! I was second on the train so I didn’t get to see as much cool stuff as I am sure the later bloggers got to, but I still had so much fun seeing what Michele over at the FFBC doodled and wrote, and I loved adding my own spin to it! Go check out the other tour stops here!
How I’d Describe This Book to a Friend
This one really has it all, friends – dystopian future that is also startlingly realistic? Check. Oscar Wilde? Check. Cute fluffy dog? Check. Sexy yet unobtainable love interest? Check. Underwater drag racing, corrupt governments, badass feminist teenagers? You guessed it – check.
The Light at the Bottom of the World takes place in a not too terribly distant future where – through catastrophic events I won’t spoiler – 90% of the population died, and the remaining 10% had to rebuild underwater. Our protagonist, Leyla McQueen, has only known this life – she’s heard of living on the surface, sure, but it’s sort of a glossy, historical magazine take on it and it doesn’t seem quite real. She spends her time with her best friends, and her dog Jojo, waiting for the day the police return her beloved father to her. Why was her papa taken, you might ask? Well, that’s the central crux and mystery of this story, so unfortunately I won’t be telling you. Suffice it to say that it’s quite a mystery, and I sure didn’t see it coming.
When Leyla’s name is drawn for what is basically a Hunger Games underwater automobile race through the streets of London, her life changes forever – if she wins, she can request anything she wants. Anything. And for Leyla, you know that means one thing – her papa’s release. And Leyla will stop at nothing to bring him home again. Unfortunately, nothing is as it seems, and while this is a dystopian YA romance it runs so much deeper than that – you think you know, but you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised!
The Bottom Line
You learn a lot from The Light at the Bottom of the World. I love a good owned voices novel that seamlessly incorporates a different viewpoint, and Ms. Shah does this seamlessly. The book also deals gracefully with accepting others, or how you might have preconceived notions about a group that you will need to change in order to make it – banding together is the only thing to keep us afloat sometimes, after all. Leyla is a bright, vivacious teenager with a mind like a steel trap and she doesn’t take shit from anyone – she’s so refreshing and I adored being in her head! Her little Maltese puppy, Jojo, didn’t hurt either – I’d protect that dog with my life. Is Leyla immature? Sure, but look at how old she is! What teenager wouldn’t act similarly in this situation? I can’t fault her for being erratic and stubborn, not when faced with a situation such as this.
This was such a fun book, with a ridiculous (in the best way possible) cliffhanger ending that I want resolved immediately! I can’t wait for book two to come out, and will be stalking Goodreads for further information as soon as I can!
“Fear has immobilized us. And it might be turning us into monsters.