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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem by Jennifer Arntson – AND a Free Preview Excerpt AND How to Get Your Free Kindle Copy on Release Day!

I am SO pleased to be able to introduce the absolutely delightful Jennifer Arntson and her new series via a review of the first installment: Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem. I met Jennifer months ago, when she emailed with a request to review her dystopian novel. Her email was delightful and the link she provided to her website immediately drew me in – both were full of clever, creative bits that caught my eye and curiosity. However, the blurb – and that word, dystopian – were, frankly, not very appealing because I’d found myself a bit burned out on post-apocalyptic, futuristic death knell books, where everyone has to fight for survival every minute, and it seemed like the book was going to offer more of the same. As a result, I responded with a somewhat formulaic message, commenting on and complimenting her originality in web design and communication, but with a tepid (at best) response about my woefully over-committed review schedule and inability to agree to a review without a chance to at least read an excerpt – and I only offered that, frankly, because I was so impressed by the personality that came across in her message, rather than because of some innate sense I had about the book. I was *really* hung up on that word, dystopian…

My response was received as a challenge, and thereafter things swiftly began rolling downhill, where I now firmly believe they belonged all along. Jennifer and I clicked – particularly over the challenges of “genre-fication”, the tendency of publishers, publicists, and retailers to require that books be slotted into genre categories, especially those that are considered au courant. After reading a sample excerpt and talking with Jennifer about her book, I came to realize that Scavenger Girl was a book that didn’t fall easily into a category, and that while Una’s tale may be dark (and believe me, it is!), it was also a tale worth telling – and reading. With that renewed perspective, I dove in – and was hooked!

The book is really truly very good – and not just because I happen to find its author charming… Una’s tale is a rough one, but very well crafted and I did enjoy it (even the dark bits). It was a heavy read, and it took me longer than usual to finish. That is, in part, due to the severity of the world of Scavengers and Citizens. But it’s also a credit to the author, and the depth and breadth of the world she has so artfully created and the plots she has delicately intertwined within it. There were loads of things I never saw coming, which is not something that happens often. Perhaps it shouldn’t be that surprising – so much happens in this story, that encapsulating it is nearly impossible without either a twenty page precis or spoilers (hence the difficulty in putting genre parameters around it). The characterization is fantastic. There are incredibly delicate emotions at play, and secrets are thick on the ground for nearly everyone. Una’s family is startlingly resourceful for a group that is supposed to be literally on the fringes of everything. Their dance to try and keep Una out of harm’s way is a tap-dance among land-mines, especially since she has rather more than a knack for trouble). This is clearly book one – there are so many future angles to tap into and directions to go, but they are open-ended without at all leaving the reader feeling lost or engaging in eye-rolling at the obvious cliff-hanger ploys to ensure purchase of the follow-up book…

As for that word – dystopia. It IS dystopian, in the sense that the word should mean – a future that is the opposite of utopian. Unfortunately, the term has become loaded and now seems to encompass anything that isn’t all sunshine and roses, that requires kids to fight and die even more than the current reality does, and that hates/debases women (again, more than…). It has elements of those things, but is so much more than that – that’s what I really like about it AND what makes it a difficult read at times. The book is dense – not in the thick sense, but rich and heavy, like cream sauces. I found it very enjoyable reading, but Una’s world was also a bit wearying – nothing ever goes her way for more than five pages and when things are bad they’re B-A-D bad. Honestly, I occasionally had to put it down for something a little lighter/more upbeat – the writing was so immersive that I occasionally found myself emotionally exhausted from Una’s life. That is not at all intended as criticism – it’s a credit to an author to pull the reader in so thoroughly that the world of the book begins to affect the *real* world, I think.

Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem releases October 21, 2017. For more information about Jennifer – and to view her fantastic website for yourself – click here.

And Now for the Free Bits…
As a surprise treat I’m pleased to share a free preview excerpt – just in case you need a teaser to get you into the story… Click here to sample Una’s world for yourself – it’s a journey you won’t soon forget. And once you’re hooked, check out Amazon on release day (again, October 21) when you can download the Kindle version for FREE!

Meet Jennifer Arntson
Author, dreamer, and sworn enemy of Caillou

Jennifer Arntson has a long history of crafting tales that people find unbelievable, but often true. As an observer of human and social development through the ages, a curiosity of faith, and dedication to the underprivileged of the developing world, Jennifer finds her creative outlet in stories and fables. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children, and a mini-farm of otherwise useless animals where the family eagerly caters to their every need.

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5 comments to Book Review: Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem by Jennifer Arntson – AND a Free Preview Excerpt AND How to Get Your Free Kindle Copy on Release Day!

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