Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed Release Date: July 25, 2017 Publisher: Little Brown and Company Stand Alone Number of pages: 352 Kindle Edition Source: ARC from Net Galley Adult Fiction/Dystopia Rating: R Read 7/23/17 to 8/5/17
Do you remember this post from a couple of weeks ago. At the time I wanted to tell you about a book I was reading that was celebrating its publication day. I hate not finishing an ARC before publication day, but (I know you’re sick of hearing about it) the wedding kept me hopping. I said I hoped I didn’t regret recommending the book before finishing it since that’s not something I would normally do. I do NOT regret the early recommendation. I loved this book!
Really, the story starts off quite subtly to me. There are a few characters that get their own POV (don’t worry, the chapters are marked so you know whose POV you’re getting each time) so it takes a few chapters to get with the flow and get to know each voice. Since this is a dystopian story those first few chapters are also used to get the reader familiar with the island this society lives on…their customs, rules, idiosyncrasies, etc. This is not a dystopian novel in the way of The Stand or V for Vendetta or The Hunger Games, where you know almost immediately what the conflict is and that there will be a battle or fight of some kind at some point. No, this is much more under the radar…like The Handmaid’s Tale (the book, I haven’t had a chance to check out the show on HULU yet). You know there’s something off, then you know what it is that is off but don’t know what anyone will do about it, then you start to see the whole picture.
I can’t say much about specific characters or how I feel about said characters without spoiling some things. But I want to say that in the end I felt that all the women (including the girls…they truly are women though because of the issues they must deal with) are strong in their own ways. I can very easily look at Janey and say she’s the strongest, I can even say Vanessa is a pretty strong person. Once I really begin to see the whole picture I realize that even Caitlyn’s mom is strong. I may not agree with her choices, I may not understand her choices, I may be angry about her choices…but she was surviving and making sure her daughter did, too.
Which brings the question: When is it worth surviving and when is what we have to sacrifice to survive not worth it? Each of the women in this story have different answers to that question, which is evident with the way they each live their lives. The same can be said for some of the men, also. Especially those that think they know how their society is being run but learn that they are maybe not as in the know as they think they are.
I truly cannot say much more, I want you to discover the many layers of this story for yourself. I can tell you that this would make an excellent book club selection. There are so many theories running through my mind that it would be great to talk to my book club about what their thoughts are. Also, I saw some people questioning if this would be good for a teen. It depends on the teen and I would strongly suggest you read it before giving it to any of your underage readers. I give this one an R rating for a reason. And it’s definitely not for younger teens, I think some of the things would be over their heads.
I believe this is Jennie Melamed’s debut novel. She looks to have a great future in writing if I were to judge by this book.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**