Books

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A. S. King

A. S. King is the literature equivalent of a mad scientist.  She puts together plots and themes that should never be mixed, but…VOILA.  A masterpiece!  Did I just mix metaphors and make her an artist?  Whatever!  She is a scientist, artist, author–everything and nothing.  Just like Glory.

It takes a special book to deal with the general doubts and fears of a teenager, plus the specific doubts and fears of a teenager who’s mother committed suicide, within the context of visions brought about by petrified bat-beer.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It’s super weird, but somehow it all works together brilliantly.  It almost doesn’t matter whether the bat-visions are true; the pictures Glory sees of the past and the future give her the courage to live in the present.

Can I say, though, how much I love that Glory’s visions of a hellish future of civil wars and nuclear explosions are the result of anti-feminists?  I might have gleefully clapped my hands when I realized King had written a post-apocalyptic novel to inspire readers to give women equal rights.  The visions were all-around spectacular; I was amazed at the detail and scope of people’s ancestors and descendents.

All this sounds strange, and it is.  But within this bizarre plot are some really poignant messages of grief, of learning to communicate and maybe move on.  There’s a wonderful depiction of a dying friendship, with all the frustrations and promises and confusion such a relationship entails.  And at the heart of it all, there’s Glory, a girl scared she’s doomed to die.  Ironically, it’s by seeing her death that she learns how to live.

Book Jacket 81b37cd4781fd48e525165ce7bd85f6f

Graduation is usually a time of limitless possibilities, but not for Glory.  She’s never stopped wondering whether her mother’s suicide will lead her to end her own life someday, as statistics would predict.  But everything changes after a transformative night when she gains the power to see anyone’s infinite past and future.  And what she sees ahead for humanity is terrifying.

Glory makes it her mission to record everything that’s coming, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference.  She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do anything to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

With astonishing insight and arresting vision, Printz Honor author A. S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last–a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

Release Date:  October 2014

Want another opinion?  Check out reviews by The New York Times and The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh!

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