In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents’ Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long—so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of “pharma.” Nat’s family is spending their pharma-guided last week at a luxury resort complex called the Twilight Island Acropolis.
Deeply conflicted about her parents’ decision, Nat spends her time keeping a record of everything her family does in the company-supplied diary that came in the hotel’s care package. While Nat attempts to come to terms with her impending parentless future, Sam begins to discover cracks in the corporates’ agenda and eventually rebels against the company his parents have hired to handle their last days. Nat has to choose a side. Does she let her parents go gently into that good night, or does she turn against the system and try to break them out?
But the deck is stacked against Nat and Sam: in this oppressive environment, water and food are scarce, mass human migrations are constant, and new babies are illegal. As the week nears its end, Nat rushes to protect herself and her younger brother from the corporates while also forging a path toward a future that offers the hope of redemption for humanity. This page-turning first YA novel by critically acclaimed author Lydia Millet is stylish and dark and yet deeply hopeful, bringing Millet’s characteristic humor and style to a new generation of young readers.
This was an extremely thought provoking story. The end of almost all thing biological and beautiful on Earth and big sponsored corporations running everything from the news to providing end of life contracts. Instead of living to to old age and dying naturally you pick when and how you want to go. There are vaccines for everything and the population is segregated based on those vaccines and your wealth. Pharmaceuticals are used to keep the population happy and subservient. This book is written with a lot of depth and emotion from the narrator Nat. Her story is intriguing, sad and exciting at the same time. Almost all social interaction is done by computer and not face to face. This story will give you chills and make you think twice about the choices you make in your life and maybe not take things quite so for granted. I was up late nights reading to see what would happen and what the outcome would be for Nat and her brother Sam. This is a fantastic futuristic dystopian novel that every teen and adult should read! A 5/5!
About the Author
LYDIA MILLET is the author of seven novels for adults as well as a story collection called Love in Infant Monkeys (2009), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her first book for middle-grade readers, The Fires Beneath the Sea, was one of Kirkus’ Best Children’s Books of 2011, as well as a Junior Library Guild selection. Millet works as an editor and writer at a nonprofit in Tucson, Arizona, where she lives with her two young children. Pills and Starships is her latest novel.