Friday, March 28, 2014

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Plus One 
by Elizabeth Fama
Read: November 26 - 27, 2013
April 8, 2014 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (Macmillan) **UPCOMING**
Source: ARC from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Category: Alternate Reality, YA

Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.


Since the flu pandemic of 1918, society has been split into Day and Night, with rules and strict curfews separating the groups. Sol is a Smudge who goes to school and work at night. She doesn't care for school, and resents the drudgery of her job. But she doesn't spend a lot of time dwelling on that, because all of her energy is focused on caring for her sick grandfather Poppu. Sol's brother Ciel was switched to a Day schedule two years ago, and despite how close they were growing up, she has not seen him since. Her brother has now married and has just become a father, though Sol and Poppu have only heard the news through Ciel's state sanctioned texts. 

Determined that Poppu should get to hold his granddaughter before he dies, Sol hatches a gutsy plan to make that happen. Unfortunately, Sol's planning derails almost immediately after she meets 
D'Arcy Benoit, a Day boy and Medical Apprentice. He's too perceptive for his own good. But Sol is determined, and she's not giving up that easily. Somehow they both become embroiled in a power struggle much bigger than the one they're fighting against each other. 

Although Sol is ridiculously impulsive and has no concern for her own well being, she's fiercely loyal to her family and those she loves, and is determined to bring her grandfather peace before he dies. She's also not at all naive about the insanity and probable consequences of her plan. I love how clear Sol is about what she wants, and the way that she attacks it so completely, whether it's caring for her grandfather or a new and very unexpected romance. 

My perception of D'Arcy was not favorable at first, but my view of him changed right along with Sol's perspective of him. D'Arcy is a careful, dedicated, Ray Medical Apprentice, who has seemingly nothing in common with Sol a Smudge factory worker. But slowly, along with Sol, I realized that I had completely misjudged him. He easily matches her wits, and I had a lot of fun watching them constantly try to outsmart each other (or rather, Sol trying to outsmart D'Arcy and him getting in her way every time) until they eventually realize that they work even better with their powers combined. This boy completely stole my heart. 

Both slow burn, taking time to percolate, and fast paced rush. It is multi-layered, smart, sweet and made me swoon. It features two people who seem diametrically opposed, but are actually incredibly well matched, which is one of my favorite kinds of love stories. 

Science and Place
Even though Plus One is alternate reality, Fama grounds her book in both science and physical location. One of my favorite aspects of Fama's writing is the way she makes her story seem real and possible. 
This includes the characters' travel thru Chicago and its surrounding areas, visiting national parks and places in around and under the city that really exist. But also, the day/night divide and the social and medical problems associated with it are also well thought out. I could fully imagine this divide being created as a way to solve a dangerous problem, and then developing its own issues the longer it was in place. (Isn't that the case of most every policy?) Another aspect of this story I enjoyed was the characteristics that are unique to this society, like the way they use technology and the gangs that have cropped up. Every aspect of this story has been carefully crafted. 

Not your regular dystopian 
I've gotten tired of the typical alternate society/dystopian book that follows the same plot. You know, when the 17 year old MC somehow ends up at the forefront of it. Mainly, because it seems to be the same plot over and over again, and a completely unrealistic one. What I like about Fama's story is that it is a book about one girl in her world, and the way her life changes based on a decision that seems small at first. There are larger implications, but they are not the main focus of the story. This is also a standalone, which is rare for this genre. Though I wouldn't mind a sequel(!), the end also felt right for this story. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


  1. Yeah, so many of the dystopians/alt societies are similar, they all kind of swirl and blend together. This one, while it seems a bit implausible to me (maybe it's explained well in the story), definitely sounds different enough to stand out. Plus, stellar cover. Seriously.

  2. Like you, Lauren, I absolutely loved this one, particularly the fact that this dystopian world didn't focus on a revolution as its center. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that more dystopias choose this path instead as I feel as though they have an immense amount of potential. I'd also LOVE a sequel, though I'd prefer a companion novel also set in this world but with a definite cameo featuring D'Arcy and Sol. (I want that for The Scorpio Races too, actually!) Fantastic review, Lauren, and I hope to pick up Monstrous Beauty soon. I will, hopefully, enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed this installment.

  3. I didn't love this one as much as you did, Lauren, but I did think it was a refreshing story. I didn't like how Sol was so impulsive and I couldn't wrap my head around the kidnapping. I did really like D'Arcy though. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Lauren. Lovely review.

  4. Glad to see you enjoyed this one Lauren! It's gotten some very mixed reviews so I've been trying to figure out if it will be a book for me. I struggled, STRUGGLED, with her Monstrous Beauty, so I might pick your brain a little on this one via email:) I am super excited that it's a standalone though, I can't even remember the last book I read that wasn't a part of a series!

  5. So glad you enjoyed this one, it sounds so good! And it's a stand-alone! I like the fact that the author grounds the book in both science and physical location. Slow burn romance that made you swoon...sounds great to me. Great review! ~Pam

  6. YAY! I am so happy that you loved this book as well. I loved it so so much. Sniffs. It was just perfect. And lol. So happy that you ended up loving D'Arcy :) I loved him so much as well. Sigh. I need to re-read this beautiful book soon :) It was just so good. I loved the plot as well. And just everything. Sigh. Though.. the ending. Yes. I do agree that it was good. But I also found it a bit evil. Agh. I really wish for a sequel. <3 thank you for sharing your awesome review :)

  7. This is exactly my type of read! And I agree with you, the romance sounds like the kind that I love the most. THE FEELS. I've seen mixed reviews and I haven't read this author before, but after reading yours, I'm even more convinced that I NEED to read this. Yay for awesome standalones!

  8. I love that this is not a trilogy! Lately, I want a story finished up in one book. This sounds like an unusual and interesting premise and I like that the romance is a slow burn. I read another book by Fama: Monstrous Beauty and it was a brutal read, but really good. I like that she's come out with something so completely different. Wonderful review, Lauren! :)

  9. It is pretty rare for a YA dystopian to be a standalone, but it's also so refreshing! I really like the sound of the romance, and of the way the characters grew on you. I also love how realistic it sounds, a book is so much better if you can believe it could actually take place

  10. I've had an eARC of this book for a few months now, and recently especially I keep telling myself this will be my next read...and then it doesn't happen. I think I'm experiencing a bit of a dystopian burnout right now, and phrases like "romantic thriller" also just aren't doing it for me. Your review did help pique my interest more, though, especially your statement that this isn't your typical dystopian. Thank goodness. Hoping I can get to this one soon, because I do think I'll like it once I give it a chance! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this one, Lauren!

  11. I love how this story stands out from all other YA dystopias currently on the market. The very idea that the heroine isn't out to save the world due to political turmoil is very bold and different. The depth of the characters and the swoony romance excites me to no end. I'm going to buy myself a copy so that Monstrous Beauty isn't sitting alone on my shelf, and then I'll have to crack them open. Yup, at the same time. Fama sounds like my kind of author!

  12. Oh man, you make this one sound really good! I saw a negative review for it earlier and wasn't sure, but now I'm so intrigued! It sounds like such an interesting setup and the slow burn romance and untypical quality make it sound like something I need to read!

  13. So glad you enjoyed it!! Ever since I found out about this book I've been excited. I absolutely loved Monstrous Beauty so I knew I'd be reading the next book that Elizabeth published. Standalones are some of my favorite to read, just because I don't need to wait for another book. So eager to finally get my hands on this one :)

  14. Plus One sounds amazing and so incredibly unique, and it's not easy to find a unique YA plot nowadays. I'm excited to see that it's a standalone too. I love my series and all, but sometimes I just want to have everything wrapped up nicely in one book. Anyway - the romance in Plus One sounds so sweet and I just can't wait to get my hands on this one!

  15. I loved your review and I can't wait to get my hands on this book!!

  16. Great review! I really enjoyed the way you broke things down under differnt subtitles. Makes for much easier understanding.

  17. I'm also tired of the typical dystopia books that have the same plots. I really need to read this. Nice review!

  18. Soooo excited for the book!!! GAH! The cover is amazing and its a standalone! I read too many series, so that's a blessing... Nice review by the way! But what was your rating?

  19. I've been so excited over Plus One, and have read several mixed reviews. Your review gives me some great insight that I had not read before. The moment I saw the cover and read the blurb about such two different people coming swoon-worthy sounding. Anyways, thanks for the wonderful review :)


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