Odessa by Jonathan Hill | Book Review

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Eight years ago an earthquake—the Big One—hit along the west coast of the United States. Life as we know it changed forever. But for Vietnamese-American Virginia Crane, life changed shortly after the earthquake, when her mother left and never came back. She has since gotten used to a life without her mother, helping her father take care of her two younger brothers, Wes and Harry. But when a mysterious package arrives for her eighteenth birthday, her life is shaken up yet again. For the first time, Ginny wants something more than to survive. And it might be a selfish desire, but she's determined to find out what happened to her mother—even if it means leaving her family behind.

I received this as an advanced reading copy from Net Galley and the publisher for an honest review. I saved posting this until Odessa actually came out. The fact that it was free did not affect my review.



So this is a post-apocalyptic drama/adventure with hints of Sci-Fi elements that follows a group of kids as they travel. You have Ginny, a naïve girl who's a terrible caregiver, you have the middle child Wes who somehow has more common sense than his older sister, and finally you have Harry who's sole job is to be a moron and get in trouble. 

If you sensed a hint of bitterness with that last line, you're not wrong. I found a lot of the character's actions to be unbelievable. Harry was born around the time of the earthquake (that's not a spoiler) so we can assume they've lived in this new post apocalyptic world for a few years now. I refuse to believe that Ginny and Wes (and most of the good adults too) can have lived in this world since the beginning and still be so stupid. Ginny holds on so tight to her old pre-earthquake moral compass that if it were coal, she'd get a diamond. Her annoying innocence gets them into trouble and even has repercussions for the end of volume one.. 

Also, for a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the kids seem to stumble across every nice adult that exists and they just always happen to find what they need. I never once feared for their lives. Even when they were in danger I never ever thought that anything could ever happen to them because their plot armor was so thick that it could withstand a nuclear blast.

The only two characters worth a damn in this were Four Dollar (a guy they stumble upon in a time of need) and Wes because he's not a gigantic moron. Four Dollar was actually an interesting character and I would rather read about him. Wes stood out because he was the smartest both in terms of "street smarts" and emotional intelligence. I believe Ginny was supposed to serve as some sort of moral compass, but she just came across as an idiot.

There was a very very small love story which had to potential to be really cute, but it was greatly ignored in volume one. 

Odessa has promise but volume one was a gargantuan let down.

Odessa gets a 4 out of 11

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