Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Today's read... Standing Water by Wendy Day

by Wendy Day
Open Sky Publishing
YA Dystopia
308 pages

America has fallen. The fight for water has begun.

Sixteen year old Jamie dreams of adventure far from the small town where her family took refuge during the war of 2027. Ten years later, the country is beginning to rebuild.

But when her dad is suddenly dragged out of their farmhouse by government officials, Jamie's world is rocked once again. Her mom is in denial and her little brother is looking to her for answers.

Can she rescue her dad and protect the town she is so eager to escape? Or will this adventure cost her everything?



The fight for water and survival faces governmental goals as a family tried to find their way through it all.

Jamie can't wait to leave the small town, where her family has settled since the war changed the country and their lives ten years before. Her father runs a repair business and does his best to help others in his own way, while her mother is a senator in the government. Their lives are fine, and most of that is thanks to the farm and the well, which provides a rarity, fresh water. When her father is arrested without clear reason, and her mother can't seem to figure out what is happening, Jamie decides to take things into her own hands...especially since she has reason to believe that the reasons behind his arrest are woven into a deeper intrigue.

Not only did the cover caught my attention with the meld of forest into water with the overplay of the girl (very eye-catching), but the idea of an adventure where water is a scarce resource and the land is rebuilding sounded interesting. And it does go in an original direction with a world, which borders between familiar and, yet, new.

Most of this is written from Jamie's point of view with chapters scattered in, which are written in her mother's perspective. Jamie and her family live in a small town with a bit of land. Thanks to her mother's role in the government, there's a bit of tension between her and the father. But life is pretty calm and ordinary...for the most part. Water is scarce in the cities, but Jamie's family has a well, so this isn't an issue for them. Much of the beginning chapters center around getting a feel on Jamie's life and that of her family. There are hints  of the issues to come as well as flashbacks, which let a tiny bit of the history dribble in here and there. But most of this is about character depth, and Jamie as well as those around her come across as kind, hard-working, and sympathetic. 

While character depth drives this tale forward, the intrigue, action, and world-building take a backseat. The tension and danger drip in slowly and only in bursts, which did make it a bit slower than I prefer. Even the intrigue wasn't overly strong most of the time, allowing the family and friend relationships to shine instead. The romance side does come across nicely as well.

While this isn't quite the read for me (I'm an action girl), it is well done for those who love to dive deep into the characters and does hold some original twists, which build by the end and promise more to come.

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