Saturday, February 11, 2012

Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey (2009)

Ahh, I had almost forgotten what it's like to read a really good book.

Santa Olivia is the story of Loup Garron, a girl born in what used to be a Texas town, but is now a military outpost in a cordon separating the United States from Mexico.  She and her neighbors have been stripped of their citizenship and cannot escape to the United States—unless they or someone who loves them wins a boxing match against a military champion.  Loup may have a fighting chance: like her father, she is super-fast, super-strong, and feels no fear.  But revealing her gifts will invariably bring the army down on her.

The narrative took several chapters to really hook me, but once I was hooked, I couldn't put the book down and in fact stayed up past my bedtime to finish it.  While a coming of age story, Santa Olivia isn't aimed at younger readers (at least, I wouldn't gift the novel to anyone younger than sixteen).  Carey's writing is sparse but powerful, as befits the setting.  Oh, and the reason you're all here: part of Loup's growing up involves falling in love with a girl.  Aww, my heart.  (Plus, in addition to the f/f romance, there's a background m/f/f triad.)  Best of all, there is a sequel (!!!), which I have in my hot little hands and will be reading shortly.

4.5 out of 5 fearless young women.

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