Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 10, 2016)
Kindle: 1338 KB
Complimentary Review Copy
Available on Amazon
I read this in one day, walking around with my nose in my tablet while I did laundry and cooking.I just had to know right away what happens next - it's that kind of a book.
Chasing Freedom is set in the near future of America where things are at the logical progression of where they are heading now. Businesses have long been shuttered by government and environmental regulations. Almost everyone has been relocated to the Cities for environmental reasons, so that the suburbs can revert to nature. Most non-college jobs are in sanitation. College is something you get tracked into only if the guidance counselor doesn't think you have any "incidents" of disobedience or other traits that render you unfit for higher education. Healthcare is universal - no birth defects allowed, lots of pain pills for terminal diseases, rationed inhalers for increased number of asthmatics due to the forced urban crowding.
We see this all from the points of view of a motley cast of characters, although the story mainly follows the rebellious teens Randy and Julie over the course of two decades of struggle. It feels a lot like The Hunger Games, minus the games part. I thought the author was excellent at conveying the feeling of living in the grey, oppressive burden of totalitarian government. I like the way she focuses on the way most characters first comes into conflict with the government - not because of high ideals, but because it directly punches them in the face, metaphorically speaking.
I normally find it hard to read dystopian novels lately because current events are pretty dystopic already. However, Chasing Freedom has a basically upbeat mood which makes it fun to read, and despite it spanning two decades the pace is fast. It felt like a good Young Adult novel to me; it's written at a level that teens can enjoy but it definitely has enough stuff for adults to chew on. If I have a complaint it's that the good guys are too idealistic, and maybe too good. That's probably another reason it feels YA to me, on the other hand, that helps give it an overall positive feel despite the setting.
I would classify Chasing Freedom as a clean read. There is some romance, off-screen, some very horrible things happen to people but they are never explicitly described. It's a good read.
Reviewed by VM on February 21, 2016