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I received a free eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Selena and her brother have to escape tyrannical New Canaan. They have to make sure that the information on data stick that got her parents killed makes it to the Republic of California, the only place left that stands for peace and freedom. The two siblings are the last hope for their mostly ruined continent before it's entirely too late. They've got thousands of miles on the road ahead of them through the Middle Wastes and they'll have to deal with everything from murderers and thieves to a poisonous grass called yellow locust which has made growing food next to impossible. Fallowfield is practically an oasis in the midst of the wasteland - everything seems far too good to be true. As Selena begins to uncover the secrets of the town and its leaders, she'll have to use the fighting skills that she was forced to hone back in New Canaan if she and her brother are going to make it. Whatever she does, it'll have to be soon because all-out war is imminent and New Canaan is never all that far away.
I'm so glad the publisher, Month9Books, approached me to try Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko. This novel doesn't release until May 8th, but it's a pretty great upcoming YA dystopian sci-fi story that definitely deserves attention. I've read quite a few dystopias, but it's been a little while since I've tried a new one that really stood out (the last being Want by Cindy Pon). Joschko's novel can also be considered cli-fi (climate fiction), a genre that I haven't read all that much of. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's a genre that explores environmental degradation and it's effects on human civilization due to climate change. It doesn't necessarily have be be speculative, but it is in this particular case.
Joschko's novel firmly held my attention throughout from beginning to end, particularly developing his world, which is almost beyond hope, and the journey his characters take across what was once America - as well as the mystery surrounding Fallowfield. As for our cast of characters, I could appreciate really appreciate Selena's attitude and drive in regards to her family and duties. Plus, I could certainly relate to Simon's sensitive, fair skin - been there, done that. I should also mention that the author is good at crafting action scenes. There are plenty of great showcases of Selena's formidable talents. My only real issue is that Selena doesn't feel all that unique in comparison to other YA dystopian leading ladies, in fact she reminds me of a combination of Saba from Blood Red Road and Katniss from The Hunger Games.
Overall, Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko is a great upcoming piece of YA sci-fi dystopian cli-fi. It's intense, fast-paced, and has an intriguing sibling bond at the heart of the story. I have a feeling you'd enjoy this novel as well if you like Blood Red Road by Moira Young and Want by Cindy Pon. I'm looking forward to trying future projects by this author.
I read this eARC from January 27 - February 2, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads. Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko will be released on May 8, 2018.