Sunday, May 18, 2014

GUEST REVIEW: PLUS ONE by Elizabeth Fama

Title: Plus One
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Genres: YA, Romance, Sci-fi
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 4/5


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.


Imagining an alternate reality with a distinct dystopian feel to it is rather frightening. In Plus One half the population live at night and the other half during the day. Curfews are set up to keep these two groups thoroughly separate. If curfew is broken, even by an underage person, the transgression is punishable. Add to this government control of your phone - tracking software included, controlled shopping, and numerous other highly inhibiting rules, and we have a very scary picture.

Now imagine having a night person, or Smudge, and a day person, or Ray, in love with one another. This is the fate of Soleil and D'arcy. After reporting Sol, the main character, for a self-induced injury, D'arcy decides to aid her in her efforts to steal her niece and to protect her from the authorities. Together these two get involved in much more than the kidnapping of an infant; think dangerous medical procedures and government corruption.

Sol is a realistic, well fleshed out character. Her impulsive nature combined with an ever present sense of hopelessness and negativity creates an interesting contrast, making her a particularly memorable character. These slightly offbeat, negative attributes are balanced by her open, loving nature towards her grandfather and D'arcy, and her willingness to make enormous sacrifices to see her loved ones safe and happy. 

For a large part of this book D'arcy is in two minds. Should he protect Sol and let the romantic side win out, or should he think of his future. The other characters in Plus One are vibrant and imaginatively crafted. From Sol's selfish brother, Ciel and the colorful, emotional Gigi to D'arcy's drama-queen mother, Hélène; all these characters enrich the story and made an impression on me.

Filled with suspense as well as romance, Plus One is a tale of courage, sacrifice, betrayal and, ultimately, hope. This book should appeal to both YA readers as well as adults.



I am vastly over-educated. I attended the University of Chicago, where I received a BA in Biology with honors, an MBA, and a PhD in Economics and Finance. I should probably have majored in Literature instead.

My husband is John H. Cochrane, a talented economist whose books sell better than mine. We have four young-adult children, all artist-scholars, and boisterous family dinners with lots of vegetables and swearing. For fun I jog every day, swim in Lake Michigan (when it's not ice), and play tennis a few times a week. You run faster than I do, but I can beat you on the court.

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