The White Lilac by Christina J. Adams
Release Date: February 20, 2012
Reading level: Young Adult
Fifteen year old Caryn Tobin is willing to sacrifice her life to save the world, and to atone for her part in the death of a friend. Kai Garrett will risk everything to discover his past and why he was abandon. When their paths join, they form an unlikely friendship that could change everything. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.
-- from Goodreads.com
The White Lilac starts off with hints of the Hunger Games, though in a very different setting. Which is what initially intrigued me about the book when the author contacted me with the request to read & review it. I pulled the file up on my Nook & spent the next few hours entirely engrossed in the story of Caryn, Beta Earth's one & only hope for a cure to a condition already affecting small children, and Kai, an orphan on the street who only steals what he needs to survive but has been dragged in by the local crime syndicate to do something he never wanted to do in order to find out about his past.
Caryn's story is told from a first person point of view in the present so we see the events unfold through her eyes as they happen. She has a very soft, yet strong feminine voice & details seem very important to her as she takes in all of the things happening to her once she is chosen as the White Lilac, an honor she takes very seriously even though she knows what it means for her future. Because everyone who has touched the anemone she must swim through to gather the cure has died.
Kai's story is told from a third person point of view in the past. His voice is somewhat careless & he isn't very curious about the world around him. He thinks he already has it figured out & it's not something he really cares about. It's not until he's forced into service of a crime boss & ends up Caryn's unlikely companion as she visits his city before the Gathering, that he really comes alive.
Both characters are as vibrantly painted as the world around them. They are well-developed & go through plenty of changes through the novel. Changes that I found really fascinating to watch progress through their interactions with each other & with people both in high places & those in the city being affected the most by the condition. I was touched by the little details about some of the minor characters & that we were priveleged to see them in very human, dirty, vulnerable places.
The conspiracy at the heart of this novel was well thought out & brilliantly plotted. I could figure out some things here & there but there were still some surprises along the way which I loved. Questions cropped up toward the beginning that I was worried would not be answered but eventually they were & I could see why it was done that way. The story is very much based in the way the characters view the world around them & what their personal priorities are. So they question when it finally occurs to them, not when the reader would question. I felt that technique was pretty ingenious.
The reason I can't give this book a full 5 stars is because there were quite a few places where the editing needed to be more attentive. Grammar & spelling errors cropped up every few pages, sometimes more than once on a page. At least once the past tense switched to present tense & back again within the same paragraph. There were a couple minor consistency errors as well that didn't affect the main plot but stood out to me as I read. The story is so well-designed that it was kind of disappointing to see that it wasn't editted enough to get out those kinks.
Overall, I really really enjoyed this book & recommend it to anyone who loves dystopian stories. Seriously, go buy it. It's only $2.99 at Amazon! It's an epic story worth being published by Random House or Simon & Schuster! I am honored to have been able to read it. Kudos, Ms. Adams.
About the Author: Christina J. Adams finds inspiration in the green rolling hills and farmland surrounding her home in Maryland. She loves hanging out with children and teens and gets more excited about a new book coming out, from one of many favorite authors, that it’s probably not good for her health. She didn’t think being a writer was a serious profession until after high school, but has since decided it is the best career ever. The White Lilac is her first novel.