Publication: April 8th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Format: eARC, 384 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science-Fiction
Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.
Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.
Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.
The dying should grieve the living.
Plus One is set in an alternative universe wherein society is divided based on the time of the day. We have the Smudges who wander the streets during nighttime, and the Rays who are working around during the day. There’s a great political tension happening in this government although we don’t really delve much into the bigger picture.
Instead we set our sights on a particular Smudge. Meet Soliel Le Coeur. Rude, reckless, and ambitious. Later in the novel these seemingly bad traits pay off. What I admire most about Sol is her passionate love for her sickly grandfather, Poppu. She goes to great lengths just to grant her Poppu’s final wish: to cradle his newborn granddaughter. Since she pretty much lost connection with her brother years ago, she resorts to kidnapping his child instead. She fakes an accident and ends up being questioned in the hospital. Here we meet D’Arcy Benoit.
Let me just say how grand and fancy these names are. I tip my hat to Miss Elizabeth Fama for that wondrous detail.
D’Arcy Benoit is the complete and total opposite of Sol. He’s composed, graceful, and philosophical. He’s a medical apprentice at the hospital Sol was admitted to, and there they meet and exchange quite a few hostile remarks. D’Arcy or Day Boy, as Sol commonly calls him, may just be one of my favourite characters. He has a way with words – which is a great advantage later in the novel – and he acts immediately and appropriately in a given scenario.
The main focus of the novel is really all about Sol trying to save her Poppu’s life, and the many circumstances that come her way. I was a bit lost during the first few chapters because I still wasn’t accustomed to the alternate world. There were some technical terms like blister pack or plus one that still confuses the heck out of me – even after reading the book. But I gradually got used to it anyway.
Don’t forget you want me.
As for the romance, I really liked it! Most young-adult novels – especially in the dystopian genre – tend to rush the relationship process without offering any sort of build-up. Maybe it’s because of the environment they live in and that they feel like they have to act fast and kiss kiss kiss. Jokes aside, I loved how Sol and D’Arcy’s relationship progressed from I-Can’t-Tolerate-Your-Presence-Here-Get-Lost to I-Can’t-Keep-My-Hands-Off-Of-You. It was very lovely and endearingly sweet. I actually cried in one particular scene.
I’m not going to state what that is, but if you’ve read the book then you probably know what I’m talking about. Teaser: It involves bear-hugs and desks.
On to the secondary characters. I thought they were okay. Nothing dynamic whatsoever with the exception of Gigi. Her character was so interesting and I just wanted to know what lies beyond that thick make-up face and foul-mouthed facade. Thankfully, Elizabeth Fama has got us covered! I got to talk with her on Twitter about this particular character and she actually wrote a short story about her. Just click here if you want to check it out.
As for Sol’s brother, Ciel, I’m still a bit uneasy with his character. I would’ve liked to read more about him during those years he got separated from Sol. How he handled the situation and how he met his wife Kizzie. Maybe then I’ll learn to identify with him more. Same goes for D’Arcy’s parents. They are an interesting “couple” and we only read about them for a few chapters before they are out of the spotlight. Again, I need more backstory from their part.
Another thing, there was a Filipino reference in the novel and it just touched my heart aha. Being a Filipino myself, it really brings a smile to my face. I really love it when authors include racial diversity in their stories.
Overall, Plus One blew my expectations. I still have some faults with the Day/Night system, but for the most part I found myself fascinated with it and its citizens. It ended nicely and satisfyingly; a huge feat for a stand-alone dystopian novel. I highly recommend this book if you’re a fan of dystopia or young-adult in general; this is one story you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.