Title: Love in the Time of Global Warming
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Book #: Standalone
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Publish Date: August 27th 2013
Date Read: September 17th 2013
Rating: ★★ / out of 5
My steady hands frighten me in a distant way, as if I'm watching a movie and feel concern for the main character; her hands show not that she is brave but that she is not afraid to die, that she has already given up that much.
Seventeen-year-old Penelope (Pen) has lost everything—her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother. Like a female Odysseus in search of home, she navigates a dark world full of strange creatures, gathers companions and loses them, finds love and loses it, and faces her mortal enemy.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
I honestly was not sure what to expect with this book, which made going through it very exciting. However, it just didn't live up to my expectations from the blurb.
Love in the Time of Global Warming has a lot of very likeabe aspects: A destroyed world, a classic quest, LGBT romance, and a protaganist who does live up to the synopsis as being "a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated."
However, all summed up, I just wasn't very pleased with the characters, the story, or the unnecessary profanity.
While it is likeable that the MC, Pen, is strong and determined, I did not find her to be a very likable person. Granted, she's not perfect (no one is), but still. I found it very hard to connect with her: She smokes and does drugs. She makes repeatedly poor decisions. She is very impulsive. She reads dictionaries and encyclopedias for fun (this is not a bad thing, it's just another reason why I didn't find myself relating to her). I also didn't like the way she treated people sometimes, and her tendency to lash out unexpectedly for no reason:
"I'm late," I screamed again.Maybe I am being too harsh on judging her character, but I'm not going to lie. I personally found her to be very childish.
"It's not my fault. You're late because you ate too much sugar last last night and didn't get up when I told you..."
"You're such a bitch!"
I did like that she was grappling with some very tough inner demons: Is her family alive? How will she find them? How will she survive in this world? As well as the question of her sexuality. I enjoyed the flashbacks she gives us in which we see how she see her best friend, Moira. It is very boy/girl-next-door-ish and just extremely sincere and heart-warming. Unfortunately for her, the feelings were not mutual. As she faces this scary world, she finds out whether or not it is still even possible to find and experience love.
Speaking of love, we come to the romance. While there are some very tender moments later on in the book, there is no denying that it was insta-love in the beginning. Because of this, the heart-warming moments were sadly lost on me. I need to see beginning development in a budding romance for me to like it at all. If it lacks that, I don't see the appeal in any of it. Even if it was more developed, I didn't really find the love-interest very appealing with his smoking habit. That, to me, is very gross.
I was surprised, though, by one of the revelations we learn about for this relationship. I do not want to spoil it at all, but I definitely did not see it coming. It was good, though, except it could have been improved upon a little: (view spoiler).
The side characters were all pretty good, too, except that there is insta-love in their relationships, as well. Really? If the book had been just a bit longer, this all could have been completely avoided.
My largest concern with this book was that the plot was too predictable. Literally every move the characters make is foreshadowed by a "random passage" they read from The Odyssey. Except none of them ever think, "Hey, guys, maybe we shouldn't eat the flowers because we just read that they make us forget and.. aren't we forgetting?" Instead, they are more like, "Ooh, cool passage. I bet it's just a coincidence. FLOWERS."
This is basically how the entire plot progresses. It was very annoying and, for the most part, I had to skip over many sections because I couldn't handle their stupidity and blatant ignorance. The evidence is literally right under their noses and yet they look the other way. On multiple ocassions Pen drags the group along to visit a place from her childhood memories, but none of them ever stop her and say "Didn't the last million times we went inside a building you wanted to see, there was a differnt Greek god/goddess waiting to trap us for and eternity of slavery...?" Nope.
Another thing I found to be annoying, there are these orange butterflies that "appear" whenever Pen is on the right path. Just another way to add to the predictability.
There is also the unanswered question as to why these 4 characters suddenly have powers. No explanation, at all, is given.
Lastly, I just have to say that I think the title of this book is very unfitting. Didn't we learn, by the end, that everything that happened wasn't due to global warming? (view spoiler).
Overall, while I would still recommend this book because there are reasons I think some people will enjoy it, it was just not the book for me.
Why are we here- just us and no one else? Is this salvation or the worst of punishments?
If I once thought I knew heartbreak, now I realize I had. Now I realize where the expression comes from. That area of my chest filled with fissures and erupted fault lines.
I wonder if any love is out there or if what snuggles within the confines of the lime green van is all we will ever know,
"It's funny how you meet people," Ash says.
"But I want to, now."
I can't look at him; I can tell our gaze might light something on fire.
Non sum qualis eram. I am not what I once was. Written boldly on his body.
I say to the air, all I have of my father's ghost, "I'm sorry."
On My Goodreads: